Building Stage Inspections: What to look out for at each stage of the building process

Posted by Brad Porteus on 20 April 2015

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Depending on who you talk to, there are up to 13 stages for building a home. These stages represent a lot of work, and unfortunately, a lot of opportunities where things can go wrong.

Of course, all of these stages don’t carry the same risk, and some can be grouped together. For simplicity, these 13 stages can be combined into the following five stages:

  • Slab
  • Walls
  • Roof
  • Lock up stage
  • Pre-handover

Undertaking inspections during these stages can help you uncover issues while they can still be easily addressed.

To help keep your construction project on track, and to ensure your house turns into a safe and durable home, keep an eye out for these potential issues at each stage of the construction process.

under construction building inspection

Slab Stage (Foundations)

As an early stage, and one that the rest of the construction depends on, it’s essential to get the slab and foundations right.

When inspecting you need to check that:

  • The slab is the right grade slab as required to support the structure
  • That drainage and other infrastructure underneath the slab have all been constructed in accordance with the plan
  • The finish is acceptable and not susceptible to flooding.
  • The slab position on the site is correct.
  • The slab perimeter measurements are in accordance with the plans.

Inspecting the slab ensures there will be no underlying issues with the home, and there will be less risk of issues like flooding, subsidence and cracked walls.

The walls and roof

The walls of the building need to be measured to check they are constructed as per the plan, as these form structural support for the roof framing or second storey floor slab.

While the roof frames and trusses are generally a quick process in modern building, as they are usually semi-prepared off-site, you still need to make sure that they are installed correctly and materials are up to standard.

The roof, in particular carries significant risk. A builder will try and get the roof on as quickly as they can to protect the rest of the building. This fast work can result in construction issues and poor workmanship.

Key issues to look out for include:

  • Inferior workmanship:  If your roof is not installed or constructed correctly, then it greatly increases the chances of future problems such as leaks.  Make sure beams are even and level, and that tiles or roofing is securely in place
  • Roof leaks and water: Check to see if there are any areas that your roof may leak in, or pool water, the damage from slow water leaks can be significant over time
  • Framing:  Ensure that the framing is even before tiles or roofing material is put in place can help ensure your roof is even and functions as it should

Having an inspection at this stage can ensure that you roof is in perfect working order, or provides you with enough time to ensure the builder makes appropriate changes.

Lock up stage

While your house may be starting to look complete, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done and inspected.

Key areas to look at include:

  • Plastering: look for cracks in the plaster, and shoddy workmanship at joins
  • Wiring: make sure that all lights and electrical sockets work, and inspect wiring to make sure it is up to standard 
  • Plumbing: make sure everything works as it should and that there are no cracks or potential blockages
  • Installation: make sure no shortcuts have been undertaken and that everything has been installed correctly.

Additionally, make sure that all sockets and light fittings match the plan, and ask the builder to rectify if they don’t. It’s not uncommon for shortcuts to be taken.

Pre-Handover

This is the most important inspection stage as it’s the last chance you have to ensure that your building is up to standard and fit for human habitation.

Key risks to look for at this inspection stage include:

  • Finishes, materials and workmanship: You need to ensure these are consistent with plans and up to standard
  • Bathroom and kitchen fittings: Ensure that all are included and in accordance with the plan
  • The home is complete: All extras and finishes have been included.

A professional opinion

Some of these issues are easy to check yourself, while others require a trained eye and a professional touch – if you think there might be some issues or would like the peace of mind of a professional under construction building inspection (aka building stage inspection), don’t hesitate to get in touch with BSP for a discussion and free quote.

As independent experts in the building industry, we will be able to ascertain the issue, potential risks and most importantly outline the right path to rectify the problem. Your home is the biggest investment and financial cost in your life. Don’t leave it to chance, contact BSP today.