Q. I am planning to buy a home but don’t know who the building inspectors are in my area. On the other hand, I have a good friend who is a licensed builder, and he has offered to do my building inspection for free. He is a very experienced builder with vast construction knowledge, and I would expect that he can do as thorough a job of inspecting a home as anyone in the inspection business. Is there any reason why I should not have him conduct my building inspection?
A. Hiring a general contractor to do a building inspection seems reasonable to anyone who does not know the scope and processes involved in building inspections, but a contractor inspection can be a costly mistake. A building inspection is not necessarily a walk-through evaluation by someone who knows how to build a house. That is something many real estate purchasers, especially first-time homebuyers, do not realise when they are faced with your choice.
Building inspections involves skills, practices and knowledge that are not essential to the process of construction, and this in no way minimises the respectability of qualified contractors.
Most building inspectors start out as contractors who enter the building inspection profession and gradually learn to conduct thorough inspections. That learning process can take several years and involves a very large number of inspections.
Building inspections are a process of investigation and discovery. Building is a process of mechanical skills and management. Although building knowledge is essential to the practice of a building inspection, construction itself has little or no relation to the practice of forensic analysis. A building inspector is an investigator — a property detective — someone who observes and evaluates defects. The skills essential to a thorough building inspection are unique, and are refined by years of practice.
Just as a regular policeman is not a crime detective; just as your family physician is not a medical pathologist; likewise, building inspectors are diagnostic specialists, distinct from professionals in the building trades.
What matters most when you choose a building inspection business is to find someone who has done many inspections and has a reputation for thoroughness. Houspect has been inspecting property for over 30 years and inspects over 4000 properties a year in WA
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