When an inspector conducts a building handover inspection he/she is looking for any items that do not comply with or reach the appropriate Australian Standards and Tolerances and the requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA).  The defects and omissions noted are usually due to unfinished works, damage caused during construction by trades and workmanship that does not meet industry standards. There are strict guidelines to assess defects so that consistent standards are maintained throughout the building industry.

Here are just some of the defects you should be aware of:

Paint – checking for any inconsistencies and damage.  Please note that it must be inspected face on from a distance of 1500 mm for walls, floors & ceilings

Electrical – checking all appliances, lights & fans work, switched correctly and any power points are the correct distance from any water sources

Floor coverings – checking for chips, alignment & grouting in tiles, checking for stains, pulls or poor laying in carpet , checking for dents, scratches in timber flooring

Carpentry – checking for plumb of timber frames & posts, shrinkage & joinery

Cabinetry / Joinery – checking fixings and surfaces for any damage or poor fitting

Plaster – checking for any movement, cracks, leaks, nail popping, screw holes and correct installation of control joints

Brickwork / Render– checking for inferior materials or workmanship and correct installation of control joints and damp-proof courses. In brickwork a tolerance of 15mm variation in the horizontal line across 10 metres is permissible. Mortar joins have a tolerance of 3mm either side of the normal 10mm mortar join

Balustrade / Stairs – checking to ensure they meet height & safety standards. Balustrade height must be at least 1 metre. Stair variations of 15mm for first step and 5mm for ongoing treads is acceptable

Windows / Doors – checking to see they are not binding and are opening & closing correctly, weather tightness and door clearances

Wet areas – checking for any visible leaks from waterproofing membranes areas (internal) and plumbing fittings

Site Drainage – checking there is sufficient site drainage in place to cope with prolonged wet weather periods

Driveways / Paths – checking they are not too steep and have the correct fall for drainage

This list is certainly not exhaustive but does highlight some of the common problems that arise. After months of planning and decision making it is exciting to see your new property come to completion and so it is during this handover process that you need to be most diligent.

“This is your opportunity to go through any minor issues with the building work, and receive all the certificates and relevant documents. Making the effort to check all the details will pay off in the long run.”