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Major Problem - not picked up by building inspection

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by Azazel, 26th Aug, 2015.

  1. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    I had a building and pest inspection done before buying a property.

    The building inspection picked up some issues.

    After settlement, I had a lady from the real estate agent go and do a rent appraisal.
    She picked up an issue that the building inspector didn't mention.

    Another builder came and confirmed the issues, and it's going to be quite costly to fix (needs to be done before re-tenanting).

    Has anyone had any experience with submitting complaints to the company that did the building inspection?

    Is there any sort of liability/insurance on their end?
     
  2. Brian84

    Brian84 Well-Known Member

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    Yes the building inspector will have professional indemnity insurance which will cover them for this. Depending what the problem is.

    An inspector can't see through walls, they can only comment on what can be seen to the eye.

    What is the problem?
     
  3. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply mate.

    Building inspection had picked up broken tiles in bathroom and water stain under bathroom, indicating previous leak. Recommended re-grouting.

    But there is no floor around the toilet, looks like maybe builders putty, and a really dodgy patch up job.
    Everything needs to be stripped, floor replaced etc.
    Pretty much need a full bathroom reno.

    Plus there was a support post (QLDer) that was not attached to the house, there was a good inch between the top of the post and the beam.
    Builder jacked the beam up for now.

    Obvious enough for the lady from the RE agent to pick, so pretty obvious.

    I'm thinking the B&P company will want to see it before work starts if they will be involved in any repairs?
     
  4. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    You should read the fine print of your building report and the contract with them.
     
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  5. DaveM

    DaveM Adelaide Buyers Agent & KFC Strategist Business Member

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    Did you buy this sight unseen?
     
  6. Brian84

    Brian84 Well-Known Member

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    Did you see that the floor was damaged once the tiles were pulled up or did you see it from under the house?

    If it was seen from under the house an inspector doesn't have to go under a house that is <600mm.

    The building inspector will want to see the job before any work is to be done if you are going to put a claim in against them.

    The post is an easy fix and will probably only cost $100-150.
     
  7. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    I bought it after having a B&P inspection done, and I visited the property to inspect issues picked up in the report (not a tradie myself).

    Had quotes done for issues picked up in the report.
     
  8. Brian84

    Brian84 Well-Known Member

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    Do you have any pics of the floor around the toilet.
     
  9. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    The house is a highset queenslander, above legal height underneath so no access issues.
    Building inspector noted broken tiles from inside, and water stain from underneath.

    Thanks, I've asked the new builder to hold off, and told the B&P company they need to send someone now if they need to see it.

    Was concerned that because the beam had dipped slightly, it might cause some more cracking inside, to the tiles at the least (least of the concerns now ;)). Builder recommended raising in increments over time.
     
  10. Brian84

    Brian84 Well-Known Member

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    Good luck, I hope you get it sorted. Do you have pics
     
  11. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    Using with phone at the moment, will post shortly.
     
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  12. vbplease

    vbplease Well-Known Member

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    Azazel, sounds to me the inspector did his job in picking up the leak. He noted staining to the soffit of the bath – are you sure the floor needs replacing? Is the floor to the toilet a separate issue or part of the bathroom?

    It is a dangerous assumption re-grouting will fix the problem. For a long term buy and hold – I would undertake a full bathroom reno anyway if there was a confirmed leak. Just re-grouting in my opinion is a short term patch job. You need a new waterproof membrane and possible repair to the timber substrate. The wet rot will most likely continue untreated and its best treated with the tiles out. No need to engage the b&p inspector anymore.. get a new bathroom renovator.
     
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  13. Perp

    Perp Well-Known Member

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    I'll try to give you some layperson's advice that I hope saves you heartache and wasted legal fees.

    Any action you have against the building and pest inspector is likely to be in tort law, specifically negligence.

    Say that you can prove negligence, then you get to the much harder part of proving damages.

    It is not assessed as the cost of fixing things they didn't detect - much as that might seem logical. (You might get restored to "what you bargained for" if the loss was covered by contract law, but it's not - it's covered by tort law.)

    It will be assessed as the difference between what you've got, and what you'd have gotten if they hadn't been negligent. This can be looked at two ways:

    1. The difference between the price you paid for the house, and the price you would have paid if the B&P had detected this issue.

    Proving the latter figure is difficult to nigh-on impossible. All the B&P - or their insurer - will say (if it ever gets into a court, which it won't) is: "there's no proof the vendor would have lowered their price even if this had been detected".

    So no joy for you there.

    2. The loss you made as a result of buying the property, when, if you'd known about this problem, you'd have cooled off and not purchased.

    Here you'll have to prove that a) this problem is significant enough that you would have pulled out from purchasing (unlikely), and b) that the property has gone down in value since you purchased it, so pulling out would have prevented you making this loss. (And a market valuation won't suffice to show you've made a loss - you'll have to actually sell the property, and demonstrate that selling was a reasonable response to take as a result of their negligence in not detecting this issue - again, unlikely.)

    If the property's gone up in value, you've made no loss by not pulling out of the sale, so no joy for you there, either.

    My best advice: move on.

    (Cost me around $20K to get this advice - $10K then another $10K because I didn't believe the law was such an ass the first time I got told. :D )
     
    Last edited: 26th Aug, 2015
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  14. Samten

    Samten Well-Known Member

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    Also what @Perp hasn't mentioned is the cost of the legal fees should you pursue it, they will be in the $10's of thousands and even if you "win" it will still cost you more than just fixing it. I know from personal experience sadly.
     
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  15. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    mms_20150824_152120.jpg mms_20150824_152128.jpg mms_20150824_152136.jpg IMG_7713_NEW.jpg
     
  16. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice @Perp , I appreciate it.

    Exactly my thoughts, it would probably be a long, costly and painful process, for a less than satisfactory outcome.

    At the least I would like them to feel really bad about it though ;)
     
  17. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    I can imagine, not good that you went through it, but thanks for your input as well.

    Ideally, I would at least like them to go and revisit the site, and try to come to an agreeable solution. Even if it's their munson fixing part of it at cost.
     
  18. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    From the photos, it seems the floor has bee replaced under the toilet with what looks like compressed AC sheet. Is that the case?

    You say it may be builders bog but it looks like a sheet of something.

    And with the photo from the room itself, what has happened to the sheet that is clearly seen from below, and seems to now be missing?
     
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  19. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    Hey @wylie , do you mean this:
    IMG_7715_NEW.jpg
     
  20. Samten

    Samten Well-Known Member

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    Or at the very least get the fee back that you paid for the inspection.