What is the Australian Standard for Building Inspections?

Building Inspector doing inspection complying to Australian Standard

Ever bought a property and later discovered some nasty surprises? Dry rot under the floorboards. Dodgy wiring behind the walls. We’ve all heard the horror stories. Well, you don’t have to risk it. Not if you get a professional building inspection. But what standards should you expect from an inspection? What exactly will they check?

That’s where the Australian Standard for building inspections comes in. This article gives you the lowdown on the standard, what certified inspectors must cover and why it matters when you’re buying property. Read on to learn what to look for so you can make an informed decision next time you purchase real estate.

Understanding the Australian Standard for Building Inspections

The Purpose and Scope

The Australian Standard AS 4349.1 sets out minimum requirements for property inspections to ensure they are carried out thoroughly and consistently. It applies to pre-purchase building inspections and specifies what should be included in an inspection as well as the format of the final inspection report.

Evolution of the Standard

First published in 1995, AS 4349.1 has been revised several times to keep up with changes in building practices and technology. The current 2019 version provides more comprehensive guidance on reporting defects and ensures environmental concerns like energy efficiency and accessibility are addressed.

Key Components: Agreement, Scope and Exclusions

Before an inspection, the inspector will review the agreement which outlines what will be inspected and any areas that will be inaccessible or excluded. The scope defines what building elements will be examined in detail. Exclusions list any areas that won’t be inspected for practical reasons.

With the Australian Standard as a guide, property buyers can have confidence that their building inspection will be thorough, consistent and identify any significant defects or problems. While not compulsory, following AS 4349.1 is considered best practice and in line with consumer expectations. Using an inspector who adheres to this standard is the smart choice when purchasing a property.

Who Has to Follow AS 4349.1

If you’re buying or selling a property in Australia, the Australian Standard for Building Inspections (AS 4349.1) applies to you. This standard ensures independent building inspectors thoroughly check the major structural and serviceability aspects of the property.


As a seller, following the standard means hiring a licenced building inspector to conduct an inspection before putting your property on the market. The resulting report details the current condition of the property so buyers know exactly what they’re getting into. This transparency builds trust and can help achieve the best sale price.


For buyers, the standard means you’ll receive an objective assessment of the property’s state of repair from a qualified professional. The inspection report identifies any major defects or safety issues so you can make an informed decision and factor any necessary repairs into your offer. It’s well worth the investment for peace of mind about your new home.

Building Inspectors

Licenced building inspectors must follow the standard to ensure consistent, high-quality inspections and reports. The standard outlines minimum requirements for inspecting and reporting on the condition of properties. Inspectors who don’t comply risk losing their licence or facing legal liability.

By requiring all parties to follow the same set of rules, the Australian Standard for Building Inspections protects buyers, sellers, and building inspectors alike. For the biggest purchase of your life, that protection and transparency can make all the difference.

What It Means For Property Buyers

As a property buyer, the AS 4349.1 is designed to protect your interests. The standard requires building inspectors to thoroughly evaluate the major accessible areas of a property according to a checklist of major building elements. This means you’ll get a comprehensive assessment of the condition of the building and grounds before you purchase, so you can make an informed decision and potentially negotiate repairs or a lower price.

The inspection report you receive should clearly lay out the scope of the inspection so you know exactly what was reviewed. It will also identify any major defects or safety hazards in need of repair, as well as minor faults that may need attention in the future. Some examples could include things like faulty wiring, plumbing leaks, pest damage or structural cracks.

The report may even estimate the cost to remedy certain issues so you have a realistic understanding of the expenses you may face. While building inspectors can’t guarantee perfection, adhering to the AS 4349.1 means you’re getting a professional, unbiased review of the property’s condition from an inspector meeting strict qualification requirements.

Overall, the Australian Standard for building inspections benefits both buyers and sellers. For buyers, it provides reassurance and transparency in the purchasing process. For sellers, it can highlight any problems upfront so they can be addressed, potentially making the property more attractive and saleable. When it comes time to buy or sell a home, look for an inspector accredited in the AS 4349.1—it could save you thousands of dollars and a lot of headaches down the road.

How To Tell If AS 4349.1 Was Followed

So you’ve decided to buy a property and want to make sure the building inspection was done properly. How can you tell if the inspector followed the Australian Standard AS 4349.1 for building inspections?

Check the Inspector’s Qualifications

The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure the inspector who completed the report is licenced and qualified. AS 4349.1 requires inspectors to have certain qualifications and experience. Ask to see their credentials to verify they meet the standard.

Review the Inspection Agreement

The building inspector should have provided you with a written inspection agreement before starting the inspection. This agreement should outline exactly what was included and excluded from the inspection, the inspection fee, and other terms and conditions. Check that this agreement aligns with the requirements of AS 4349.1. For example, it should specify that the inspection will assess the condition of the building elements like the roof exterior, garage, etc.

Examine the Inspection Report

The inspector’s report should be comprehensive while still being easy to understand. It should include an overall assessment of the major building elements, list any significant defects or safety hazards identified, and include photographic evidence. The report should also recommend further inspections by other professionals for any suspect areas outside the building inspector’s expertise, like electrical or plumbing systems.

Discuss the Findings With the Inspector

If there are any parts of the inspection report you don’t fully understand or want clarification on, discuss it with the building inspector directly. They should be able to explain their findings and recommendations in more detail to give you peace of mind that the inspection was performed properly according to the Australian Standard.

By verifying the inspector’s credentials, reviewing the terms of the inspection agreement, examining the inspection report thoroughly, and discussing any questions with the inspector, you can feel confident that AS 4349.1 was properly followed. This will give you greater assurance in the building you plan to purchase.


Overall, the Australian Standard for building inspections (AS 4349.1) provides home buyers with an independent evaluation of a property’s condition. By following this nationwide standard, building inspectors can thoroughly assess all areas of a house or unit for any signs of structural damage or repair needs.

For buyers, these mandatory reports offer peace of mind about what you’re really getting into with a potential purchase. While an inspector’s job is not to determine a property’s value or make a recommendation for or against buying it, their findings can influence your decision and potentially save you from expensive surprises down the road.

At the very least, an inspection report gives you a chance to renegotiate the sale price to account for any major issues. It may also prompt the seller to complete necessary repairs or treatments to address deficiencies before the final sale. For these reasons, building inspections are well worth the investment for both buyers and sellers involved in a property transaction.

In summary, Australia’s building inspection standard aims to make the home buying and selling process as transparent as possible. By mandating these professional assessments, it helps ensure that properties on the market are in reasonable condition and that purchasers go in with realistic expectations about a home’s state of repair. So if you’re in the market to buy or sell, be sure to take advantage of this important safeguard. An independent building report can provide insights and peace of mind that may be well worth its cost.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *