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Perth - Construction - Building Inspector

Discussion in 'Development' started by SaberX, 4th Apr, 2016.

  1. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    Hi all,

    Potential slab down this week - exciting - but just got back from holidays so taken aback and need to advise builder of my building inspector and stages.

    Just wondering if any perth residents can recommend inspectors who are very, very good and detailed at what they do, with reasonable pricing?

    A few i have emailed and waiting for sample building reports and quotes:

    Arrow Point Inspection
    Resicert
    Perth Home Building Inspections
    Master Building Inspectors
    Houspect
    Jim's inspections
    Best WEst Building (has the most reviews on google - 69, but unsure how many are 'family and friends' given no other builder tends to have more than 10 even on google?)
    Choice building inspections
    (plus a few others here and there found via google)

    Would appreciate any recommendations or 'experiences' - good and especialyl the bad, if anyone has used any? Given how important of an investment it is I'd definitely want someone good.

    Also - what would one recommend as to the stages to do inspections?

    I am getting conflicting advice from inspectors where some say a slab pour is not required as council inspects these, and this is the main thing the builders get right or the liability would be huge, while others recommend even a pre-slab stage pour for footings, mesh etc to be inspected?
    OTher stages:

    Bricks -plate height
    Roof on
    Lock up
    PCI /handover?

    Seems most say do a roof on, and another at PCI. I get the odd company that offer lock up stage, or brick height. Between say roof on and lock up do most plumbing and electricals go in - in which case is it best to do this stage too? Choice building inspections details probably all the stages possible, although what stages seem to vary from inspector to inspector (Home Inspection | Under Construction | Choice Building Inspections)

    One inspector has even emailed me back to say he only does PCI as he doesn't believe progress stages are necessary as everything can be inspected at PCI? I would argue that some (to an extent) stages are required, otherwise how can you leave structural issues till the end, as they cannot be physically corrected?

    Would appreciate any guidance.

    Thanks,
     
    Last edited: 4th Apr, 2016
  2. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    (ignore, post edited)
     
    Last edited: 4th Apr, 2016
  3. sanj

    sanj Well-Known Member

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    I've used Mark from bestwest for a while. he's very good, thorough and knows his stuff. Definitely not the cheapest but I'm happy I use him
     
  4. thydzik

    thydzik Well-Known Member

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    I've used Christian from SHS Building Consultants for plate height brickwork, seems okay, though pricey.

    Some inspectors recommend slab as it aligns with your progress payment.
    Some say to view prior to the pour for footing and rebar, others say after to measure level (though this can be included with the brickwork).
    Some say not necessary as even if it they find something prior to pour, it is difficult to tell the builder to fix it when they have the concrete lined up for the pour already.

    I did the slab pour with Ross from HouseCalls, as I left it a bit late to organise with SHS, I guess it gives you that piece of mind, and possibly shifts some of the liability.

    I might checkout bestwest as per Sanj recommendation.
     
  5. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    That's my worry too is i've left it too late for bestwest - emailed and sms'ed but no response, they may be too popular to get a prompt service, although good?

    I will keep it in mind too - but as you mentioned above there are a gazillion opinions on when to do the inspections that I find it puzzling ther eisn't an industry standard to policing this. Surely there should, by construction technique and common sense, be an acknowledged best practice.

    I was told slab pour would happen today this morning by my client rep but when i got to the site already before 9am no one was there and the concrete slab was already formed, so can't see any mesh etc unfortunately. Looks like I missed this stage. Common sense wise (as I have no building expertise) I assume slab down is necessary for height, diemnsions etc, but indeed I think pre-pour would be an important one as you can see what is actually going into the concrete slab, if any corners are being cut with materials. Also interesting to note as you hear some slab stories of slabs within the 'tolerance' but skimping on quality inclusions that would have made it alot better, bar costly for the builder. Fingers crossed mine isn't.

    One inspector has been banking that problems cann be picked up at PCI and we can rest assured at the 6 years builder warranty? Not sure what he's referring to, thought it was 25 years, life of building? But regardless I don't think leaving it to that fall back warranty is great peace of mind, I mean yes, sure they might have to fix it, but do you really want to deal with problems 5 years down the track if an inspector can thrash out in writing what's wrong now?

    THen again I'm no expert, just what the inspector tells me, and again as I mentioned every inspector seems to have a different opinion on when best to inspect.
     
  6. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    I think I should do slab pour, PCI, but am unsure whether to do:

    brick plate height as well as a roof on stage
    lock up

    Any ideas if brick plate height and roof on stage would be too much of a double up? One inspector mentioned brick plate height to inspect cavities and other brick workmanship, but many roof on stages detail that they'd check brickwork, cavities etc in this stage anyway? So wouldn't it be better to kill two birds with one stone as they could check out the roof frame and roof in one? Or would the two inspections serve two different things?

    Is there a need to do a lock up progress inspection as well? The only diff to PCI would be before painting and plastering is up on the walls right, so different things can be inspected before being covered up for PCI? Someone who's built before can probably elaborate...
     
  7. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    P.S. Both posters above mentioned they weren't cheap, are you able to divulge roughly how much? PM is fine if uncomfortable publicly discussing?

    sanj - does Mark really get into the building and spends alot of time/detail going through things? Looking for a well written, detailed report than something thrashed out generically with a few 'observations'. Someone who treats it like their own house almost when going over with a toothcomb.
     
  8. sanj

    sanj Well-Known Member

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    I get every stage checked.

    with one project there were only minor issues. with another there were major issues at pretty much every stage and having an inspector there was vital. think of it not only as a subject matter expert but a bit of an insurance policy in a way

    yes Mark is extremely thorough and detailed in his reports. if you call his mobile it will go through to the office. usually after 2/3 is when he himself is available as he's back in the office after morning inspections

    from memory all his prices are on his website
     
  9. boeman

    boeman Well-Known Member

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    For a single storey mid-level build, I would do slab down, plate height, roof cover (prior to ceilings) and PCI.

    Lockup I wouldn't bother. Lockup can be achieved with glazing and a temp entry door. At this point all you could pick is plastering and ceilings which can be done at PCI (easier to pick once painted too). Waste of everyones time and and your money.

    Roof cover is crucial, as the house is tubed out for plumbing and electrical, can confirm gpo/plumbing positions, check roof plumbing details (flashings, clips on gutters, downpipe placements etc) and make notes for roof maintenance. Also one last look at ceiling and roof members for strutting and clearance of strutting members to ceiling members (causes ceiling sagging down the track). Also best to check wall plate is flush with top of brickwork (causes cornice cracking later on).
     
    sanj and Perthguy like this.
  10. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    Can you elaborate on what stages that would be?With bestwest having a quick chat it was recommended the slab down stage would be cost ineffective and not much of a point versus doing the first inspection at roof frame on - as the slab can be checked then. Rather than at plate height of brickwork they mentioned although this could be done as a stage, it was more cost effective for doing roof frame (roof not on).

    The next, second final stage is usually then done at PCI, with a potential third stage being waterproofing (before tiles are on).

    What are your thoughts on this? my only concern is when in the build would be best to check that the structure is up and all the relevant electricals, plumbing and internal wall/roof wires and pipes etc. are all in the right place, setup correctly etc? Would this be after roof is on - or do these only go in by lockup stage?

    Boeman do you have any thoughts on this, given you seem to have prescribed more stages of inspection than recommended by bestwest? Particularly you have the slab down stage in there whereas it hasn't been recommended by bestwest (i do note that it isn't cheap from what i can see cost wise, I could get a different inspector for just the slab down stage then perhaps??)

    Does the roof on necessarily mean that ceilings will be on and electricals/plumbings for the walls and roof are in place?
     
  11. boeman

    boeman Well-Known Member

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    I would do roof cover, after the frame. Roof plumbing will then be installed and keeping water out is priority 1 on any building. Tube out can be done after roof frame, either prior to roof cover or after. I prefer prior as it is easier for the guys to work in the roof space. Tube out includes services being chased into the walls to their final locations (elec, water, gas etc). Outside of special solenoids on your plumbed appliances, this is where you can see that they have pinned water tubes or are tight fitting to prevent water hammer.

    Slab down is a quick inspection but also crucial. Can pinpoint if any prelaid services were missed and fixed prior to brickwork beginning (eg if you have an island bench, should be power/water under slab). The slab edge should be waterproofed which would be hard to prove after brickwork is completed. Also in general there are houses that have had slabs poured 1m short in a dimension, or even on the wrong block. If the builder is charging you for dropped footings it will be a big cost and I would be damn sure to see they were required and done on site.

    Plate height, aka brick completion, is the main structure. If there are walls out of dimension, windows or doorframes in the wrong spot, they are going to be far more costly for the builder and more time consuming for everyone to fix later on. Also at this point the roof straps, holding down bolts and wall insulation that you have paid for and that are required as per Aus Stds and your 6 star energy efficiency (in most cases) are visible and can be ticked off. Not a deal breaker, but it is going to be a lot harder to crawl around in the roof space and check for these afterwards.

    PCI self explanatory. Can pickup on all finishes of fixtures, painting, tiling and can be fixed.
     
  12. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    Well I've got a pricing and it does seem quite abit i.e. 1,200 for pci, close to 600 for waterproofing inspection, and another 800 bucks at roof frame on (but no roof on).

    Now many of the others quoted me, say housespect for close to 2k, and jims inspections for typically 4 or 5 stages:

    slab down, brick plate height complete, roof on, lock up and PCI.

    Mark seems to be held in high regard online, so I am abit confused as to them recommending the 3 stages only (waterproofing more of a sub stage as it is only waterproofing) and not any of the other typical stages? but with positive reviews I am not sure whether to go with what appears to be the best or what apperas to be ok companies like housespect that offer more stage reviews? Perhaps each of their stages are detailed on paper, whereas Mark at Bestwest'ss are more detailed once he gets the job started, despite less stage inspections overall?

    Should I just go with say jim's inspections or say housespect for slab down which is cheaper, and then Mark's for the other stages? Or is mixing and matching inspectors a bad no no?

    My only worry is while they say you can inspect the slab at roof frame on, isn't it a little too late by then if positioning of slab, its height and other physical aspects are not correct? Sure not much may be able to be done as i missed pre-pour, but surely isn't it a risk to pickup a problem later on? Still can be picked up, but wouldn't it be a big headache to even try to rectify (if even possible)?
     
  13. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    Sorry you replied just while i was typing my last post.

    Interesting you mentioned that services (electricty, water plumbing and gas etc) are done during tube out, which is shortle before or after roof is on? I had some quotes on different inspection stages inferring that plumbing services and installation of electricty chasing and other items were to be inspected at lock up stage?

    Re: slab down - please see my comments above in my last reply. The hardest part is some inspectors quote a price for slab down stage but no details as to whether they will look at the items you mentioned: power/water locations on the concrete, same for waterproofing on edges. So seems abit hit and miss finding out if this will be done - i don't think any inspectors will spend the time to explain inspection items included? I will try asking... As mentiond though will i run into trouble using bestwest's recommended combine roof frame on (but no roof on) to inspect brickwork and slab at the same time? or is it that much harder to rectify then and worth using another inspection service?
    Same thoughts on your comments on plate height (brick completion) and whether it is a little too late using best west's recommended all in one inspection at roof frame on stage.

    Also is there a big time gap between roof frame on and roof cover, like my concrete slab pouring literalyl snuck in before I coudl get anyone out to see the pre-pouring footings and mesh.

    Will insulation be installed in brickwork completion stage already as you mentioned? I thought this would require roof cover on to protect insulation from weather/rain?
     
  14. thydzik

    thydzik Well-Known Member

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    for a multi-dwelling;
    SHS quoted me $687.5 for each stage.
    I did a quick quote with bestwest and got $695 for brickwork and $995 for PCI
    Housecalls I literally found on HiPages a few days before the pour and was $440

    I had a quote from masterbuildinginspectors that was;
    Slab- $400, Brick/roof - $500, Lockup- $400, Handover -$500
     
  15. boeman

    boeman Well-Known Member

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    The services are chased in prior to lockup well and truly, since they are plastered over. Sure, you can pick up an error or perhaps a missed service, but if it is on a single leaf wall they will then cut through your nice plaster and patch it, which will then most likely crack. Things should be inspected at a point where they can be best rectified if required IMO,

    Cavity wall insulation goes in with the brickwork. Not always required as there is a infinite number of building practices that can get your 6 star energy efficiency.

    Go with Bestwest if they come recommended. I am not a building inspector, rather a builder. I am looking at it as to what I suggest influences a good build.
     
  16. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    @thydzik - that's a decent price. I don't know why but I've been quoted close to $1200 from bestwest, when you add in brickwork with roof frame complete at around $800, and another $600 for just waterproofing inspections - i am keen to try them out given all the recommendations, but they seem miles ahead of other inspection services in terms of cost, especially as these are only two or so inspections.

    On the other hand i have only managed to get responses back from housespect and jim's inspections - and most offer $400 per stage, so 5 inspections comes up at around $1600-2000 for most. Keep in mind this is slab, birckwork up, roof on, lockup, PCI in general whereas with bestwest it is a combined brick+roof frame, and just a final PCI.

    I don't doubt the thoroughness of them and detial/recommendations that have been dished out, but I am thinking as @boeman has pointed out - slab down stage is crucial, and picking up errors at brickwork complete stage, and after roof is on, and perhaps plastering is done (to see that all the chasing, services, and other internal structures are correct) would be crucial. I assume at lockup cabinetry and tiling to waterproof areas hasn't been done so PCI covers this (in terms of inspection)?

    In which case using bestwest's recommended 2 inspection approach (plus the third waterproofing only inspection) you'd be picking up (if any) errors post plastering, after cabinetry etc is all completed and the house is at PCI, as the inspection before this would be roof frame at which point many of the internal structure features would not be up, including the ceiling wouldn't it?

    @sanj - waiting to hear a response, but it appears uses bestwest for multiple stages above the 2 they recommend. but then that begs the question , do you get what you pay for? As adding in a few more stages would easily bump up an inspection past $3-3.5k, compared to a standard $1-2k most people spend for 4 or 5 inspection stages at $400-500 a pop. You get two of them looking over things, but where do you draw the line for overkill or pricing for reputation, versus paying for quality?

    Would I stuff myself over more by using bestwest for the two detailed inspections, and hiring say jim's to do the slab inspection, and perhaps one at lockup to get some of the internal stuff - ceilings, powerpoints, cabinetry if done by then ?Is having two diff inspectors a bad recipe? Seems others who have had rushed timelines have used one inspector for say slab and a diff one for brick height etc, without an issue?
     
  17. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    @boeman is there a reason (form a builder pov) bestwest couldn't do a roof on inspection - why would they prefer a roof frame complete + brickwork stage inspection? Couldn't I achieve more by doing it at roof on stage - that way the roof gets inspected, the roof frame does too, and so does all the brick cavities, insulation, internaal structures and walls? Or is it because it is alot more costly to rectify incorrect room dimensions, brickwork issues, roof frame issues once the roof has been installed (as I remember when I was enquiring about anticon, it was very expensive to rip off and reinstall a colorbond roof)?

    I think it's great that your a builder, you have a good grasp of when everything goes in and when best to inspect knowing what has been done, what can be more easily rectified at that stage etc. Whereas I am more at a loss. Does anyone have a good detailed australian construction process website, that outlines all of the detailed installations/processes throughout a typical perth build (given we build differently to eastern counterparts at times)? If not no biggie, as the descriptiosn from boeman give me a decent understanding of when certain things fall into place.

    @thydzik - given you've used housecalls and SHS - what would your preference be going forward, bestwest aside? I found Jim's inspections to be about $300 for slab poured inspection stage.. but I didn't want to sacrifice quality for being necessarily cheap.
     
  18. Aaron Sice

    Aaron Sice Well-Known Member

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    seems no matter which way you cut it, it's money well spent.

    some of the dramas I've seen recently could make for a very sticky situation come cert occ...
     
  19. boeman

    boeman Well-Known Member

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    The issue is if you havent inspected the brickwork prior to the roof frame, there may be a wall out that has a strutting or hanging beam bearing onto the brickwork. Sure, it can be fixed, but will be a bit more involved to do so.

    I can type up a start to finish process for a typical Perth single storey double brick build later on today.
     
  20. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    Could you elaborate please @Aaron Sice ?

    @boeman I would much appreciate that - i have a basic rough guideline from my builder but i feel some things are quite simple and it would be good from your pov to see not only the physical process/flow of things but when your recommendations to inspect are and the underlying reason (i.e. becuase at the brick only stage you can more easily rectify strutting or hanging beam bearing onto brickwork etc as you listed above). I have a basic process chart from my builder too if you wanted to see that/comment? BUt whatever is most convenient and less time consuming for you as appreciate the thought/effort.