Thursday, August 18, 2011

Can we give "Not Leak" guarantee for houses we inspected?

Very Tough question.

To answer that question, I would like to refer to a particular CASE:  TRI-2009-101-000060
In this case a pre-purchase inspector is found to be liable for his report and ordered to pay more than $20000.

So, it has happened. We have to be careful about reports we issued. The key point here is not "guarantee". Focus of judgement here is whether the inspector is negligent.

Our opinions have to be "fair" and "independent" and based on "competency".

In other words, if my opinion is fair and independent, but I'm not competent enough to carry out house inspections, I may be found negligent.

Or, if my opinion is not fair and independent, even if I'm competent enough, I can still be found liable for negligence.

But, if my opinion is fair and independent, and I'm competent enough to carry out house inspections, then I may not be liable even my opinion is proved to be wrong.

So, when I say "Not leak", this is to be regarded as a conditional guarantee. Though I have to say, very hard to find me saying "Not leak".


  1. 检测人员需有适合的包括房屋检测在内的建筑行业相关经验
  2. 为相关行业协会会员,或者持有相关学历
  3. 熟练运用房屋检测专用工具
  • 国家没有硬性规定,检测人员必须是:master builder, certified builder, registered builder, qualified builder,但必须有足够相关经验. 
  • 国家没有相关针对房屋检测的行业协会,没有所谓的从业资格认证,没有所谓的资质
有意思的是,Certified Builders Association 以及 Master Builders Association都委婉的表述不希望他们的成员从事购房检测这种高风险行业:请参考NZ Herald的相关新闻

大家不约而同把这一行当拱手让给Institute of Builder Surveyors, 但有兴趣的人可以打电话给所有这个协会网站上所列的building surveyor,看看是否能够找到一个做购房检测的人-prepurchase inspector. 我很想搞清楚,目前是否有哪个行业协会站出来主动承担规范购房检测这一市场。

本人持有建筑监理文凭 - National Diploma in Construction Management
本人为房屋署注册二级监理和木匠 - DBH Licensed Building Practitioner Site 2 and Carpentry (LBP)

本人通过如下国家建筑检测师学院(NZIBS) 培训课程:

1. Property of moisture - 水的特性

2. Forensic techniques - 房产诉讼案件调查技巧

3. Identification of risk elements - 鉴别房屋风险点

4. Recording and reporting - 记录和报告

5. Decay, fungi & mould - 腐烂,霉菌和霉斑

6. Repair process based on site investigation - 基于现场调查的修复程序

7. Condition/compliance reporting - 房屋状况及规则符合报告

8. Asset management, maintenance planning - 房产管理及维护计划报告

How long a standard house inspection can take?

First need to understand what is a STANDARD house inspection. Check our website to find out what included in a standard inspection.

Unlike special inspection, such as flooding inspection, some time can only take a few minutes, a standard inspection for a average house (say 3 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms) should in general take 1.5-2 hours or even longer. According to NZS 4306, there are hundreds of items to be inspected to complete a standard inspection. No matter what kind of tools being used to assist with the inspection, we still need to go though the whole process, and we do not see any possibility to shorten the inspection time.

To limit the time spending on site and to be in cooperation with other related parties such as owners and real estate agents, we have two inspectors working at the same time, so that we can significantly shorten the time spent on site without compromise the quality of inspections.

Meanwhile we provide free verbal on site consultation to our clients, specially Chinese and other Asian clients who's building knowledge is very limited. This consultation can sometimes take a hour.

So overall, even we have two inspectors doing one inspection at the same time, it normally take us 1.5-2 hours to complete the site visit. As rule of thumb, see the following table for some ball park figures:

Type of house On site inspection time to be allowedOn site verbal consultation 
Single story brick & tile 3 bedroom house on flat section  30min 30min
Monolithic clad house 1990's 50min 40min
Architecturally designed multi story  60min 30min

Understanding maintenance of monolithic type cladding

Traditionally cladding maintenance was a typical DIY job, consisting surface cleaning, minor repair and recoating, which builders and some traditional families can easily handle.  

Things come to monolithic cladding systems (including EIFS, texture coated fibre cement sheeting, stucco and the like), maintenance of them become very complicated due to the following factors:

  1. Cladding repair of this type of cladding is no longer the Builder’s job. In fact very hard to find out who is the right professional for its maintenance, could be either the carpenter, painter, exterior plasterer, waterproofer or combination of them. Depends on the condition of a particular cladding, it is not easy to work out who is the right person to refer. When you use a wrong person to do this type of cladding maintenance, the job can turn to be a disaster: The photo shows a subcontractor applied interior stopping compound onto the texture coated EIFS surface when trying to do repair for some surface scratches and minor damages.
  2. Once applied, coating and cladding material become one integrated system, therefore common re-coating process such as stripping-off the old paints for timber weatherboard becomes impossible. So the solution could be expensive if the application of the re-coating is wrong. Very common that a new coating system is not compatible with the old coating system, even though the new coating system itself is a very good product. But find out what is the original coating system sometimes can be a mission.
  3. Maintenance can be significant or minor depending on the condition of the cladding system. When the cladding system is systemically defective the maintenance can mean a total re-cladding. In other cases, when not much wrong with a cladding system, maintenance can be a simple washing-off. 
  4. There is no clear line when the re-coating is due. Due to the high possibility of defective recoating job, we do not recommend carry out any total re-coating work to any monolithic cladding without expert’s opinion. We have seen too much recoating disasters. Again who is the recoating expert? 
  5. How can you tell if your cladding is due for maintenance? No clear answer. But very common when somebody has realised that the cladding is due for maintenance, it is too late to realise that. So having your cladding checked every couple of years by an Expert is a wise way rather than decide yourself unless you is the Expert. 
Some clarifications useful when thinking about maintenance of monolithic type cladding:

  • Most of monolithic cladding coating systems are not “paints” normally applied on timber weatherboard, fence palings, garage doors and the like. 
  • Normally carpenters are not specialised on fixing a minor damage on monolithic cladding, nor painters. 
  • Interior plastering and exterior plastering are totally different trades. In fact from March 2012 exterior plasterer will need to be licensed. 
  • Based on the fact that most monolithically clad houses were built 10 years ago, today most of those houses’ wall claddings are due for total maintenance. There are very limited amount of companies are competent in doing that.
  • Significant amount of monolithic houses have wall cladding somehow integrated with roof parapet or even roof cladding and deck balustrade, which make maintenance more challenging. 
  • When there is no clear line between a leaky house and a non-leaker, further more the exterior wall cladding coating is regarded as a part of the whole weathertight system for this type of cladding, it will be hard to find any company specialised in maintenance of plaster system which can issue workmanship warranties.
  • When you see cracks on the monolithic cladding surface, simply squeeze a tube of silicon is not the solution and often can cause disaster. 

The following links may be useful for your further study regarding maintenance to monolithic cladding system. You may find some companies via those links which are experts in this type of cladding maintenance, but currently we do not have any particular name to recommend. We would like to hear from you, if you are competent in doing so and have some references to show.
--------------specialised in monolithic cladding maintenance. 批灰外墙面维护公司

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Notes regarding Terms & Conditions of a standard inspection report - 3

Estimating the cost of remedying defects is not included in a property report, although it may form part of a special purpose property report.

Notes regarding Terms & Conditions of a standard inspection report - 2

The property report is not a warranty against problems developing with the building after the date of the report.

Notes regarding Terms & Conditions of a standard inspection report - 1

A property report should not be seen as an all-encompassing report dealing with a building from every aspect. 
Our inspection is limited to around 1.5 hour on site and 4 hours of desktop work, so there is no way we can report absolutely every single detail regarding the subject property. Our focus is to report for aspects which regarded as significant.
Yes, often after moving in to the new house, you can always find something which is not reported. Think about that before calling us back: Is it a issue? concern? Is is significant enough to be shown in the report?
我们有时会接到电话提及“有个地方你们报告上没有写,你们能回来看看吗?”我们正在努力满足这样的要求,但can not promise

Monday, August 8, 2011


The purpose of the property inspection is to identify significant defects visible at the time of the inspection
当然也有人认为,有一块水泥瓦裂开了,这是一个很重要的问题 - significant defect,而且是现场必须看得出的。



Should inspector be Registered? Licensed? Qualified? Certified?

According to NZS 4306, an inspector is to:

  1. Have relevant practical experience in NZ building industry including building inspections and
  2. Be a member of a relevant professional or trade organization, or hold relevant technical qualifications and
  3. Be competent to operate any specialized equipment used in the property inspection

Saturday, August 6, 2011

house inspection report: Mould

house inspection report: Mould: "More and more inquiries regarding moulds growing on ceiling linings. Most owners regard moulds on ceiling as signs of roof leaks. In most c..."