Would you trust a tiler, a plumber, a landscaper, a drywall installer, or even a truck driver or hairdresser to conduct a professional building inspection on your new property?  Many people unknowingly do – don’t be one of them!

DO NOT assume that because you see a BLD licence, your building inspector is in fact licensed and qualified.

Considering that the building inspection industry is currently unregulated in South Australia with no licensing requirements whatsoever, and there are unfortunately many unqualified “building inspectors” offering lower cost “building inspections”, buyers requiring pre-purchase-inspections prior to the expiry of the contractual cooling-off period or auction certainly run the gauntlet.

One way that building inspectors claim credibility is by advertising that they have a “builder’s licence” by displaying their BLD number on the homepage of their website, on their business cards or on their work vehicles.

A person must be licensed as a Building Contractor to perform any kind of building work for others in South Australia, thus there is a BLD number for almost every different building trade out there.

The ideal BLD license for building inspectors to hold is an unrestricted BUILDING WORK SUPERVISORS LICENSE which enables them to supervise an entire build and to sign off on the requisite compliances (Regulation 74 / Part A Statement of Compliance etc).

These licenses demonstrate a wide-ranging expertise of building practices and reflect a balanced knowledge requisite in any reputable, qualified building inspector’s repertoire.

Many Adelaide “building inspectors” who promote their BLD numbers, however, are purposefully misleading you, the buyer, by implying that they are licensed builders or building work supervisors when they are in fact nothing of the sort. Some are licensed tilers, plumbers, and even landscapers.

Sure, these licenses grant the holder the claim of expertise in their particular fields, but when viewed in the context of a comprehensive pre-purchase building inspection where every building element must be expertly analysed, do these hobbled licenses really lend any feasible trustworthiness?

Clearly the answer is NO!

Admittedly a BUILDING WORK SUPERVISORS LICENSE is not the be-all and end-all in regards to building inspector qualifications. A rich and diverse building industry experience through various disciplines along with a strong mentorship from other senior inspectors can certainly place an up-and-coming building inspector in very good stead. The purpose of this article is merely to highlight the deceptive nature of certain building inspectors who market their BLD licenses as a form of overarching accreditation even though their license may only be applicable to plumbing etc.

In any case, the unregulated nature of the building inspection industry certainly poses a pending liability for the unknowing consumer. Buying a home is often the most significant financial decision most people will make in their lives, thus it is of the upmost importance for buyers to thoroughly investigate the credentials of prospective building inspectors prior to engaging them.  Please click here to read my detailed blog “How do I select the correct building inspector?”.

Before you decide on a building inspector, first verify their BLD “Building License” number by visiting the Consumer and Business Services license check webpage – https://secure.cbs.sa.gov.au/OccLicPubReg/index.php

If you are looking for professional building inspectors please visit www.summertonbuildinginspections.com.au for more information. Also don’t forget to follow us on Google + : building inspectors in Adelaide

During the property acquisition process, astute buyers will generally organise a pre-purchase building inspection prior to the expiry of the cooling period.  These inspections are paramount when purchasing a property to ensure that there are no major defects that could result in an undesirable loss of utility or significant outgoing costs post-purchase. Pre-purchase building inspections are also of vital importance in identifying any potential safety hazards that may exist with the property.

But what of pest inspections?

Considering that Adelaide is geographically designated as a high risk area for white ant infestation generally, it is certainly in many cases critically important to organise a timber pest inspection prior to the expiry of the cooling off period. There are many great Adelaide pest inspection companies who hold the specific accreditations to be able to legally and effectually perform these types of inspections as per the AS4349.3 Australian Standard.

Are combined building and pest inspections legitimate?

A growing number of pest inspection companies are now also offering “combined” pre-purchase building and pest inspections. Though the pest inspection industry is regulated in South Australia with specific accreditation requirements, the building inspection industry is largely unregulated.  Unbelievably there are no licensing requirements for building inspectors – in fact there are no legal requirements for building inspectors to hold any formal building qualifications at all!

Therefore, these “combined” building and pest inspections should be treated with healthy skepticism and careful scrutiny. Be very dubious of a combined building and pest inspection offered by a single inspector. Admittedly there are a small number of qualified inspectors able to provide a credible combined building and pest inspection service who will take the additional time required to adequately perform both types of inspections. However, the building inspection industry is marred by a number of rogue, negligent, and dangerously underqualified “building / building and pest inspectors” who incompetently perform combined building and pest inspections. Some of these cowboys have even been reported completing “combined” inspections within a quarter of an hour! Sadly, they often manage to get away with it undetected due to the unregulated nature of the industry.

This is clearly a serious consumer protections issue that the general public must be made aware of. Purchasing a home is generally one of the riskiest and substantial investments anyone will make in their lives, so being able to rely on the building inspector that you have engaged is absolutely requisite to the process.

How long should a typical building inspection take?

A thorough pre-purchase building inspection of a typical single-storey home situated on a standard-sized allotment should take at least one and a half (1.5) hours.

How long should a typical pest inspection take?

A thorough pest inspection for the same sized property generally takes a little less time at around one (1) hour.

“Combined” considerations to bear in mind

The bottom line is this: if your “combined” inspector is a licensed builder and/or building work supervisor with rich building industry experience who holds requisite pest inspection accreditations, professional indemnity and public liability insurance policies relevant to both types of inspections, and who is also ideally a member of the Association of Building Consultants (ABC), then odds are your inspector will be credible and will provide an effective “combined” inspection service. Just ensure that you communicate with the inspector prior to the inspection being conducted that you expect them to take the additional time required to adequately perform the “combined” inspection.

That being said, in my opinion as Managing Director and sole building inspector for Summerton Building and Inspection, though there are a small number of credible Adelaide inspection companies able to provide an effective combined inspection service, the two types of inspections should generally be conducted by two separate and specifically qualified inspectors who provide two separate reports. This way you can know as a consumer that you have got your money’s worth and can rest assured in the knowledge that both inspections have been carried out thoroughly and as per the AS4349 series of Australian Standards.

Following is a set of questions that should be asked of an inspection company that will help protect you and your precious property asset prior to their being engaged to perform a combined inspection service:

  1.  Will there be two inspectors – one for each type of inspection?
  2.  What will the duration of the individual inspections or combined inspection likely to be?
  3.  What building qualifications does the building inspector hold?
  4.  Does the building inspector/s hold current professional indemnity and public liability insurance policies?
  5.  Is the inspector a member of the Association of Building Consultants (ABC)
  6.  What is the inspector’s policy regarding adherence to Australian Standard AS4349.1 and AS4349.3?

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope that it will assist you in selecting the right building inspectors during your property acquisition process.

Please click this link for more information on SBI pre-purchase building inspections.

Kind regards, Travis Summerton

Managing Director; Summerton Building and Inspection Pty Ltd- www.summertonbuildinginspections.com.au

Don’t forget to follow us on Google + to find out more about our combined building and pest inspections service.


When building a home or investment property through a licensed builder, you are heavily reliant on the building supervisor in regards to build quality and compliance. It is the role of the building supervisor to ensure that your home or investment property is being constructed accurately as per your plans and specifications, as well as to monitor the standard of work being conducted by the labourers. The building supervisor must make certain that the correct materials are being used and building quality / compliance is being achieved throughout the construction process as per the relevant codes and Australian standards.

The construction process is a complicated one with many moving parts and there are many opportunities for mistakes to occur undetected, and unfortunately with many building companies the building supervisors are often unlicensed and are given too many homes to supervise adequately, thus quality is often compromised. Many of the larger building companies will not even assign a site supervisor to a home until it is at the framing stage, thus the entire footings construction is left in the hands of the footing contractors. Though engineering companies who design the footings state in their agreements with the builders that they must  first inspect the trenches and trench fit-out prior to the concrete pour, in my experience this often does not occur and many major defects can and do go undetected, leaving a jeopardised footing system that will potentially fail in the future.

By utilising SBI progress inspections at critical stages of the building process, you are not only gaining an objective expert opinion that will increase your chance of achieving quality, but you are also keeping the builder in check by ensuring that the home / investment property is being built accurately and compliantly according to the plans, specifications, engineering, council requirements, and the relevant Building Codes and Australian Standards.

Our expert inspector will conduct thorough staged progress inspections of your property to ensure that quality is being achieved and to make certain that the dwelling is being constructed in accordance with the NCC / BCA and the relevant Australian Standards / manufacturers specifications. SBI will provide you same-day with a comprehensive written report replete with coloured images via e-mail capturing all of the major and minor defects observed. Our expert inspector will also contact you by phone following the completion of the inspection to discuss the findings and provide you with specific advice, or if you would prefer, will meet you onsite for a face-to-face chat post-inspection.

Progress building inspections should take place at the following construction stages:

Don’t forget to check out our building inspections services at www.summertonbuildinginspections.com.au

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