Home » Blogs » 15 Top Building Defects Found During Building Inspection

According to research done by choice.com.au, the following are the 15 most common building defects found in properties during the building inspection.  The first 3 defects (Internal water leaks, Cracking to internal or external structure, and Water penetration from outside) are found almost in every 2nd inspected property. The purpose is this information is not to scare the buyers but give them the knowledge to make an educated and informed decision.

1. Internal Water Leaks

This is the highest found problem during the building inspection in Australia. 46% of properties have internal water leaks.  A water leak could be from leaking taps, baths, shower, or other causes. The water leaks lead to other problems like carpet damage, furniture damage, ceiling warping, floor warping, mold, tile lifting, and paint damage.

Fixing internal water leaks is quite an expensive task as you can make out from the average claim size of $30,361.

2. Cracking to internal or external structures

During building inspection, 41% of properties have been found with internal and/or external cracks. Some of the cracks are just superficial or cosmetic while other cracks can be indicators of serious problems.

The small crack in the plaster are cosmetic and are caused by the seasonal contraction and expansion of the building elements. Other cracks could be due to poor design, movement of building elements, Sinking of a part of the building, or water damage.

The minor hairline cracks can be ignored or easily covered but serious cracks can cost a lot of money depending upon the cause.

Fixing internal water leaks is quite an expensive task as you can make out from the average claim size of $30,361.

3. Water penetration from outside

40% of properties in Australia are found to suffer from water penetration from the outside. With the Austrian mainland having significant rainfall and flood, this is natural. The main the indicator of water damage are peeling paint and wallpaper, stained ceiling and walls, musty odor and mold. The main reason for external water penetration is failed water proofing, erosion, and cracks.

4. Guttering faults

1/4 of the inspected properties in Australia have guttering faults.  The main guttering found are blocked gutter, broken gutters, and missing gutters.  These guttering faults lead to further problems like seepage, water penetration from the outside, and fire hazards.

5. Defective roof coverings

23% of houses have been found with defective roof covering when inspector by professionals. Broken tiles, missing tiles, problems with roof sheeting are some of the common defective roof coverings examples.  Any defective roof covering problems can directly lead to water penetration from outside, damage to the ceiling, insulation damage, and mold in the roof cavity.

6. Defective plumbing

Data shows that 22% of the properties have defective plumbing. Leakages are the most common issues under defective plumbing. It could be due to improper joints, cracked fitting, cracked pipes, or poor drainage.  Any ignored defective plumbing issue will lead to internal water damage in the house which can further lead to more problems like mold, termite issues, pest issues, warping of the ceiling, warping of floors, etc.

7. Tiling problems

1 out of every 5 properties has a tiling problem. The common tiling problems found during the inspection are grout problems, grout flaking off, grout missing, grout too thick, damaged tiles. Other problems are uneven tiles, tiles coming off, and tile lifting.  Falling tiles can cause serious damage to family members and missing tiles can lead to water penetration.  

8. Building movement

Building inspectors have reported building movement issues in 17% of properties in Australia. Building movement is a building defect where the building has moved from its place and it can cause serious damage to the house. Building movement happens due to 2 reasons – Soil reaction and movement of footings.  

9. Noise break-through

17% of the properties in Australia are reported to have noise break-through issues.  Noise break-through is a problem where noise from outside the building or other parts of the building is not contained. The main reason for noise break though is faulty design, improper installation of material, gaps, and cracks.

10. Defective balcony balustrades

A defective balcony balustrade can be really dangerous. 15% of the building have defective balcony balustrades in Australia. The main reason for these problems is the lack of strict guidelines with regard to balustrades.  As mentioned, defective balcony balustrades can be fatal for people in the balcony and people under the balustrades and hence must be fixed at priority.

11. Lack of or defective fire safety measures

A lack of or defective fire safety measures can be catastrophic for buildings and as well as families still 15%(almost 1 in every 6 ) of buildings have improper or defective fire safety measures installed. Some of the examples of lack of or defective fire safety measures are inappropriate fire escape, inferior fire safety equipment, and inadequate testing.

12. Electrical faults

14% of the inspected building are reported to have one or more electric faults. As electric short-circuits are the main cause of house fires, any electrical faults left unattended can be catastrophic. Besides, electrical faults can cause damage to your appliances or lead to electrical shock to the family members.

13. Inappropriate or incorrectly installed materials

More than 1 in every 10 (12%) houses have inappropriately or incorrectly installed materials in the properties.  A major consequence of inappropriately or incorrectly installed material is that after some time, it starts collapsing to itself or fails to serve its purpose. For example, improper waterproofing will fail eventually and lead to many other issues in the property.

14. Defective machinery

Similar to the last defect, 12% of the building has defective machinery. This means the direct loss in form of repair cost or replacement of the cost of that machinery.  A building inspection can help the potential buyer with a list of defective machinery. It is the buyer’s responsibility to consult the respective professional to further investigate the issues with machinery.

15. Other

5% of the inspected houses have other defects. These are unexpected problems which may be minor or major concerns.  

As claimed by the other study that all the houses have building defects and concerns are the severity, damage caused by the defects, and cost of the defects to the owner of the property. A building inspection is a final stop point to contemplate the pro and cons of the recorded defect in the report before making the biggest investment of your life.  

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