Can Any Builder Do a Building Inspection?

Can Any Builder Do a Building Inspection

Can any builder perform a thorough building and pest inspection?

No, but it varies by state. In Queensland, they need to be registered with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). However, in other Australian states and territories, they don’t have to have specific licenses. They do have to have some level of qualifications, as described below.

Licenses in New South Wales (NSW)

In NSW, building inspectors do not require a license to perform pre-purchase or defect inspections. However, to enhance the integrity of building inspections and adhere to the Australian Standard, the state is contemplating introducing specific regulations. Potential buyers are advised to engage services from professionals with a solid reputation, ensuring they possess the necessary qualifications for a thorough inspection. These professionals should carry professional indemnity insurance to protect against any oversight or errors during the inspection.

Licenses in Victoria

Victoria suggests that potential home buyers engage a registered building inspector, building surveyor, or architect to conduct inspections. While the state does not mandate licensing for such roles, employing qualified professionals ensures a comprehensive evaluation, conforming to the Australian Standard and Building Code of Australia. These experts ensure that all stages of work are inspected and documented, facilitating good communication with the property owner and providing detailed building inspection reports.

Licenses in Queensland

In Queensland, pre-purchase building inspections must be conducted by licensed residential building inspectors as per relevant Queensland legislation. The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) regulates this requirement, ensuring inspectors meet the necessary qualifications. This licensing is vital for upholding standards in the building industry and ensures that inspection documents are thorough, including details on structural issues and compliance with approved plans.

Licenses in South Australia

Though South Australia does not require building inspectors to hold a specific license for pre-purchase inspections, inspectors must perform their duties diligently under the relevant Australian standards. Prospective buyers should ensure that their chosen inspector has a proven track record and carries professional indemnity insurance to cover any potential oversights.

Licenses in Western Australia

Western Australia has no licensing requirements for pre-purchase building inspectors. However, buyers should prioritize inspectors who are highly recommended and have the expertise necessary to identify potential issues, including structural problems and adherence to the Building Code of Australia. Inspectors should also provide comprehensive building inspection reports that detail their findings and recommendations.

Licenses in Tasmania

Like some other states, Tasmania does not mandate licensing for building inspectors. However, the government recommends that buyers obtain reports from qualified individuals such as building surveyors or builders. Ensuring the inspector has relevant experience and follows Australian standards is crucial for obtaining a reliable building report.

Licenses in Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

In the ACT, a building and pest inspection report must be made available to the buyer before a property sale. This regulation ensures that inspections are carried out competently, though it does not require inspectors to be licensed. The report should include a thorough inspection of the property, focusing on structural issues and pest concerns, providing peace of mind to the new homeowners.

Licenses in Northern Territory

The Northern Territory also does not impose specific licensing requirements for building inspectors. However, it is essential for buyers to engage reputable professionals who can provide a thorough building inspection report. These reports should detail all stages of the inspection, any issues found, and the implications for the property owner.

Building and Pest Inspector Qualifications

Educational Requirements

Building inspectors in Australia typically begin their careers with a strong foundation in construction or a related field. This often involves obtaining a Diploma of Building and Construction (Building), a Diploma of Building Surveying, or a similar qualification from an accredited technical college such as TAFE (Technical and Further Education). These programs cover a broad range of topics, including construction technology, building codes and standards, compliance assessment, and risk management.

Some building inspectors may also hold a degree in architecture, engineering, or construction management. These higher education qualifications can provide a deeper understanding of structural integrity, materials science, and project management, all of which are crucial in a competent building inspection.

Professional Training and Certifications

In addition to formal education, building inspectors must undergo specific training to perform their roles effectively. This training is geared towards ensuring they are well-versed in the Australian Standard AS 4349.1, which governs the inspection of residential buildings. Training courses offered by various professional bodies in Australia often focus on practical aspects of building inspection, such as identifying common defects, understanding legal and ethical obligations, and reporting findings accurately.

Continuing Professional Development

Building inspectors are expected to engage in continuous learning to keep their skills up-to-date and maintain their licenses. This ongoing education can include attending seminars, workshops, and courses related to new building technologies, changes in the Building Code of Australia, and updates to local legislation. Professional bodies such as the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) or the Housing Industry Association (HIA) provide opportunities for professional development.

Why Education and Training Matter

For prospective home buyers, the education and training of a building inspector are indicative of the quality of the inspection you can expect. Inspectors with extensive training and proper certifications are more likely to identify both major and minor issues with a property, from structural faults to potential pest infestations. This thorough understanding helps you make an informed decision about purchasing a property and can save you from costly repairs in the future.

Questions to Ask a Potential Building Inspector

When you’re in the process of hiring a building inspector, asking the right questions can help ensure you choose a professional who will provide a thorough and accurate assessment of the property you are considering. Here are some essential questions to ask before making your selection:

What are your qualifications and certifications?

Ensure the inspector has the necessary educational background, such as a diploma in building and construction or a degree in a relevant field, and any required certifications specific to your state or territory.

How much experience do you have in the industry?

Experience is crucial in building inspection, as a seasoned inspector is more likely to recognize subtle signs of problems that might be missed by someone newer to the field.

Are you a member of any professional associations?

Membership in organizations like the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) or the Housing Industry Association (HIA) can indicate a commitment to ongoing professional development and adherence to industry standards.

What does your inspection cover?

Clarify what the inspection entails. Does it include checking for structural issues, pest infestations, compliance with the Building Code of Australia, and examination of electrical and plumbing systems? Make sure the scope of the inspection meets your needs.

Can you provide a sample of your inspection report?

Asking for a sample report can help you understand how detailed and understandable the inspector’s reports are. Look for clarity, thoroughness, and whether the inspector includes photographs and recommendations.

How long will the inspection take?

The duration of the inspection can vary depending on the size and condition of the property. However, understanding how much time the inspector plans to spend can give you insight into the thoroughness of their work.

What kind of tools and equipment do you use?

High-quality inspectors often use advanced technology such as moisture meters, infrared cameras, or drones to identify hidden problems. Knowing what tools the inspector uses can help you gauge the thoroughness of the forthcoming inspection.

Are you insured with professional indemnity insurance?

Confirm that the inspector carries professional indemnity insurance, which protects you and them if any significant oversights or errors are made during the inspection.

What is your policy on follow-up questions or concerns?

Understand how the inspector handles follow-up questions after the inspection report is delivered. A good inspector should be willing to discuss their findings and provide further clarification if needed.

How much do you charge for an inspection?

While cost should not be the only factor in choosing an inspector, it is essential to know upfront what the inspection will cost and what services are included in that price.

Asking these questions will help you find a building inspector who is thorough, reliable, and well-qualified, ensuring you get the most out of your investment in their services and gain peace of mind about your potential new home.


Across all these regions, regardless of local licensing requirements, engaging experienced and reputable professionals for building inspections is critical. This ensures that all potential issues are identified, which can affect the long-term value and safety of the property. Buyers should seek inspectors who adhere to the Australian Standard, understand the Building Code of Australia, and carry professional indemnity insurance to safeguard against any errors in the process. Good communication between the inspector and the property owner is essential to ensure that all findings are understood and adequately addressed.



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