What Is a Structural Inspection Report?

You’re thinking of buying a property but not sure what to look out for? A structural inspection report is your new best friend. Don’t buy a property without getting one. These detailed reports by engineers examine the structural integrity of a building. Read this article to find out what structural inspection reports cover, why you need one, and how they work in Australia. You’ll be an expert on structural reports in no time.

Whether you’re buying your forever home or an investment property, this guide has everything you need to know to make an informed decision and catch any major structural issues. Get the lowdown on cracking, moisture, termites, and more. Let’s dive in and demystify these reports once and for all.

Understanding Structural Inspections in Australia

A structural inspection is a comprehensive check of the integrity of a building’s foundations and frame. In Australia, these inspections are commonly required when buying or selling a property to identify any major structural defects. ###

The inspector will examine the footings, floors, walls, and roof to determine if there are any signs of movement, water damage or deterioration. They use tools like levels, moisture metres and endoscopes to thoroughly assess the property. Any problem areas will be noted in the final inspection report, along with recommendations for repair or further investigation.

  • Footings and foundations ensure the building is properly supported. Cracks or subsidence can indicate issues that require engineering advice.

  • Timber and steel frames provide the skeleton of the structure. They must be securely fixed and show no signs of damage, rot or rust.

  • Brickwork and cladding protect the frame and should have no major cracks, damp spots or areas where walls are bowing.

  • The roof is a vital part of the structure. It’s checked for any leaks, sagging, loose or missing tiles and adequate drainage.

A structural inspection is well worth the investment. It can identify problems early and avoid costly repairs down the track. The inspection report will give you peace of mind that the property is structurally sound or alert you to any areas that may require professional assessment. In Australia, these reports are commonly a condition of sale and the issues identified may be used to negotiate the best price.

For most home buyers, a structural inspection is money wisely spent. It provides an expert overview of the integral parts of the building so you know exactly what condition the property is in before you sign on the dotted line.

When Is a Structural Inspection Report Needed?

A structural inspection report provides a comprehensive assessment of a property’s structural integrity. You’ll want to consider ordering one of these reports in a few situations:

Major Renovations

If you’re planning major renovations, a structural inspection can identify any issues with the foundation, roof, or load-bearing walls before you begin construction. Addressing problems upfront will help ensure your reno goes smoothly and the finished product is built to last.

Buying an Existing Home

When purchasing an existing property, a structural inspection is non-negotiable. It will uncover any structural defects so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line. You can then determine if any problems found are deal-breakers or if you want to negotiate with the seller to have issues addressed or the price reduced.

Concerns About the Foundation or Roof

If you notice signs of foundation or roof damage like cracks in walls or ceilings, sloping or bouncing floors, or leaking, it’s best to get a structural inspection. These reports provide an expert assessment to determine if there are any major issues, how urgent they are to fix, and estimated repair or replacement costs so you can budget accordingly.

Peace of Mind

Even if there are no obvious signs of problems, periodic structural inspections on homes over 50 years old are a good idea. They can detect issues early before they become emergencies and provide peace of mind that your home’s structure remains in good working order.

Better safe than sorry—when in doubt, get a structural inspection report! The investment in an expert evaluation of your property’s structural integrity and health can save you from nasty surprises and high-cost repairs down the road.

What Does a Structural Inspection Involve?

A structural inspection aims to thoroughly assess the integrity of a building’s foundations and frame. The inspector will evaluate critical structural elements like beams, columns, slabs, and load-bearing walls that support the building.

Visual Examination

The inspector will first do a visual check of the property, inside and out. They’ll look for any obvious signs of damage, decay, or movement in the building’s structure. This includes things like cracks in walls or foundations, sloping or uneven floors, and doors or windows that don’t open or close properly. The inspector will also evaluate the condition of the roof since water damage can impact the building’s structure.


Precise measurements are taken to detect any subtle changes in the building’s structure. The inspector will use tools like crack monitors, level gauges, and laser levels to measure the position and level of walls, floors, ceilings and foundations. Even small deviations can indicate structural issues.

Moisture Testing

Excessive moisture is a common cause of structural damage. The inspector will test for high moisture levels in walls, floors, basements and crawl spaces using a moisture meter. They can also check for proper ventilation and water drainage around the building’s exterior.


Based on the findings, the structural inspection report will provide recommendations for any necessary repairs, reinforcement or professional assessments needed. It may also suggest improvements to help prevent future structural damage, such as installing foundation vents, waterproofing basements, or correcting drainage issues.

The goal of a structural inspection is to identify any existing or potential issues that could compromise the building’s stability and safety. Minor problems detected early and addressed properly can help avoid major structural damage down the road.

What to Expect in a Structural Inspection Report

A structural inspection report provides a comprehensive overview of the condition of the building’s critical structural elements. The report will note any structural defects or damage found during the inspection that could affect the stability and integrity of the building over time.


The report will evaluate the condition of the building’s footings and foundations, checking for any cracks, tilting or movement that could indicate foundation issues. The inspector will note the type of foundation, like concrete slabs, piers or footings, and whether it appears structurally sound.


The structural frames, including walls, floors and roofs are assessed to ensure they are secure and stable. The inspector will note any sagging, water damage or pest damage and check that essential structural elements like beams, trusses and lintels are still functioning properly.

Load-bearing walls

Load-bearing walls support much of the building’s weight, so the inspector will thoroughly evaluate their condition. They will check for any cracks, water damage or signs the wall is no longer plumb or square which could indicate structural problems.

In summary, a professional structural inspection report provides peace of mind about the safety and stability of the building. While the inspection may uncover issues that need to be addressed, you will have a clear picture of any structural defects so you can plan necessary repairs or further investigation. The detailed report, complete with photos, helps ensure there are no nasty surprises when it comes to the structural integrity of your building.

Frequently Asked Questions About Structural Inspection Reports

What exactly is included in a structural inspection report?

A structural inspection report provides a comprehensive assessment of the structural integrity of a building. It will evaluate the condition of critical elements like the foundation, flooring, walls, and roof to determine if there are any major defects or cause for concern. The report should identify any areas that need repair or further investigation. It will also often provide recommendations for any necessary remediation work to ensure the building remains structurally sound.

How long does a structural inspection take?

The time required for a structural inspection can vary depending on the size and complexity of the building. For a typical residential property, you can expect the inspection to take between 1 to 3 hours. Larger commercial buildings will require significantly more time to thoroughly evaluate, often 1-2 days. The inspector will need access to all areas of the building, including the roof, basement, attic, and crawl spaces. They will be conducting both visual evaluations as well as using specialised tools to detect potential structural issues.

Should I be present for the structural inspection?

It is a good idea for you, as the building owner or prospective buyer, to be present for at least part of the structural inspection. This allows you to see firsthand any problems that are identified and have an opportunity to discuss them with the inspector. However, the inspector also needs adequate time to conduct their evaluation without interruption or distraction. It is best to be available for any questions they may have but also provide periods where you leave them alone to do their work. You will, of course, have a chance to ask any follow-up questions you may have once the full written report has been provided.

How much does a structural inspection cost?

The cost of a structural inspection can range from $300 up to $2000 or more, depending on the size and type of building. Residential homes typically start around $500-$800. Commercial buildings will be on the higher end of the range due to their added complexity. The final report and any recommendations or cost estimates for necessary repairs will be included with the initial inspection fee. Structural inspections provide valuable information and peace of mind, so they are worth the investment.


So there you have it, a rundown of structural inspection reports and what they entail. Getting one done before buying a property or undertaking renovations is a smart move. It provides peace of mind that the structural integrity is sound or gives you a heads-up on any issues that need addressing. Don’t take shortcuts, make sure you get a qualified professional and take time to understand what they recommend. Your future self will thank you for taking this important step, as will anyone else who lives in or visits the property down the track. Safe structures lead to safe and happy occupants.



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