How Long Does a Building Inspection Take?

Building inspector looking at a property

You’re moving into a new house. It’s an exciting time but there are still some things you need to sort out before you can really call it home. One of those things is getting a building inspection done. But how long does it actually take to get an inspection completed? Is it a quick one-hour visit from the inspector or does it take days? When you’re eager to move in and start decorating and making the space your own, you don’t want delays from the inspection. This article will cover everything you need to know about the building inspection timeline so you can plan accordingly. We’ll look at what factors affect the duration when you should schedule it and how long it takes to receive the final report. With the right information, you can make sure the building inspection doesn’t slow down your move.

What Is a Building Inspection?

Building inspector looking at a property

The Purpose

A building inspection is an evaluation of the structural and essential systems in a home. The inspector examines the property to identify any issues that may need repair or replacement. The goal is to uncover hidden defects so potential buyers or homeowners can make an informed decision about the property.

What Does It Cover?

A standard inspection will evaluate things like:

  • The condition of the roof, foundation, walls, and floors.
  • The inspector will test that lights, outlets, drains, furnaces, and AC units are functioning properly.
  • Doors, windows, insulation, and weatherproofing. They check that everything is sealed, secure, and energy efficient.
  • Safety hazards like exposed wiring, lead paint, asbestos, or structural damage.

How Long Will It Take?

The time required for a building inspection depends on the size and age of the property. You can expect:

  • A small apartment takes 2-3 hours. The inspector has less area to cover so they can be quite thorough.
  • A typical 3 bedroom house takes 3-4 hours. Enough time to examine all the major systems and components.
  • A large estate to take 6 hours or more. An extensive property means more ground for the inspector to cover, so additional time is needed to evaluate everything properly.

In the end, a building inspection is a smart investment. It can give you peace of mind about the condition of your property or help you negotiate the best price. So while it may take a few hours, it’s time well spent.

Length of a Combined Building and Pest Inspection

Building inspector looking at a property

If you’re buying a property, a building and pest inspection is well worth the investment. But how long will the entire process take? Expect a typical combined building and pest inspection to last 3 to 4 hours for an average-sized house.

The Building Inspection

The building inspector will thoroughly go through all areas of the home, checking that everything is structurally sound and functioning properly. They’ll look at the roof, gutters, walls, floors, windows, stairs, and foundations. They’ll test that all utilities and fixtures work correctly. For a standard 3-bedroom house, a building inspection usually takes 2 to 3 hours.

The Pest Inspection

The pest inspector will search for any signs of wood-destroying insects like termites, as well as rodents and other pests. They’ll tap walls to detect hollow sounds, check subfloor areas, basements, attics, and crawl spaces. They’ll also look outside at trees, patios, fences and decking that could provide access to the home. A pest inspection typically takes 1 to 2 hours for a regular-sized property.

Of course, the inspections may take longer for larger, older or more complex homes. It really depends on the size and condition of the specific property. The inspectors will want to be very thorough to identify any problems before you purchase the home.

While a few hours for the whole process may seem lengthy, a building and pest inspection is time well spent for the peace of mind and information it provides about the place you plan to call home. And any issues detected can be addressed to ensure you’ll be moving into a safe, secure and well-maintained property.

Length of a Standalone Building Inspection

A standard building inspection usually takes between 2 to 4 hours to complete, depending on the size and age of the property. For a typical 3-bedroom house, you can expect the inspection to last around 3 hours. The inspector will do a thorough check of all areas of the house, from the roof right down to the foundations.

The inspection starts with the inspector meeting you on-site to discuss the scope of the inspection and any areas of concern. They will then do an external check of the property, inspecting the roof, gutters, exterior walls, and foundations for any structural damage or major defects.

Heading inside, the inspector works room by room to check that all fixtures and fittings are in working order, and that the structure of the building is sound. They test things like power points, plumbing, heating/cooling, doors and windows. They will look for signs of water damage or leaks, pest infestations, and asbestos.

Once the inspection is complete, the inspector will provide you with a written report summarising their findings within 24 hours. The report will highlight any major structural or safety issues that need to be addressed, as well as minor defects and maintenance requirements. It will also provide an estimate of any repair or renovation costs so you have a better understanding of the property’s overall condition before proceeding with the purchase.

A building inspection gives you peace of mind that there are no nasty surprises lying in wait with the property. Even if issues are identified, it allows you to negotiate with the seller to have repairs done or lower the price. For the cost of an inspection, it can save you thousands by avoiding costly repairs down the track. So while a few hours and a few hundred dollars for an inspection may seem tedious, it’s time and money well spent for such an important investment.

How Long It Takes to Get The Report

Getting an official building inspection report typically takes around 3 to 5 business days in Australia, depending on the inspector and how busy they are. Once the on-site inspection is complete, the inspector will need time to review their notes, photos and any testing results to compile a detailed report of their findings.

Inspection Report Delivery

The final inspection report will either be emailed or mailed to you, depending on the inspector’s preference and what you agreed to. Email is obviously faster, usually arriving within 1 to 3 business days of the inspection. A mailed hard copy report may take 3 to 5 business days to reach you, depending on Australia Post.

Some inspectors provide a verbal summary of major issues at the end of the on-site inspection. However, the full written report is needed to make an informed decision about any property purchase or to properly address any repairs or maintenance required. It’s best not to rely only on a verbal report.

Requesting a Faster Turnaround

If you need the inspection report quicker for any reason, be sure to communicate that with the inspector before booking to ensure they can accommodate your timeline. They may be able to charge a small fee for putting a rush on the report turnaround. For most standard residential building inspections, a 3 to 5-day turnaround is typical and adequate for making important decisions about a property.

Of course, more complex inspections like those for large commercial buildings may require additional time to complete a comprehensive report. The inspector should always inform you upfront about any longer report turnaround times so you can plan accordingly.

In summary, while an on-site building inspection typically only takes 2 to 3 hours, you can expect to receive the full written inspection report within 3 to 5 business days. Allowing adequate time for the inspector to thoroughly evaluate the property and provide detailed feedback in the report will result in the most helpful information for you as the client. Rushing the process may result in an incomplete or less useful report.

Factors That Can Delay the Inspection or Report

Weather Conditions

The weather plays a significant role in building inspections. Inspectors can’t do their job properly in dangerous weather like storms, heavy rain or snow. They need good visibility and safe conditions to thoroughly check the entire building. If there are high winds, it may even be unsafe for the inspector to be on the roof or scaffolding. Bad weather often leads to delays in inspections and final reports.

Access Issues

The building inspectors need full access to the entire property in order to do their job. If certain areas are inaccessible for any reason, such as locked rooms or tenants not providing entry, the inspection can’t be completed. The report will note any areas the inspectors couldn’t access, which may require follow-up inspections once access is granted. It’s important that all stakeholders provide access to all areas of the building on the scheduled inspection date.

Additional Testing Needs

In some cases, building inspectors may require further testing like asbestos, lead, or mould testing before they can finalise their report. They need to ensure the property is safe and up to code. If additional testing is needed, it will add extra time to the full inspection process. The testing must be completed first before the inspectors can do a final walk-through and sign-off.

Paying attention to these potential delay factors and ensuring everything is in order before the inspection date will help speed up the process and avoid any unnecessary hold-ups. The more prepared you are, the faster you’ll get your building inspection report.


So there you have it, mates. Getting a building inspection done doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. For a standard property, you can expect the inspection itself to take 2-3 hours. Factoring in the inspector’s travel time to and from the site, allow about half a day or 4-5 hours for the full inspection appointment. Just make sure to book the inspection as far in advance as you can, provide any info the inspector needs beforehand, and be flexible on timing. With some savvy scheduling and a competent, experienced inspector, you’ll get the detailed property evaluation you need without too much hassle or delay. The result will give you peace of mind and inform one of the most important purchases of your life.



2 responses to “How Long Does a Building Inspection Take?”

  1. […] The duration of a building inspection can vary, typically lasting between 2 to 4 hours. The time depends on the property’s size, age, and condition. Following the inspection, the inspector will provide a detailed report outlining their findings. Read the full article here → […]

  2. […] How Long Does a Building Inspection Take? […]

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