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Building Reports Part 1: Common property defects identified in building reports

By Ben Faulks

Since the introduction of the Civil Law (Sale of Residential Property) Act 2003, it has been compulsory for homeowners in the ACT to have a building and pest report conducted on their property, prior to marketing the home for sale.

The building inspection must be carried out by a licensed building inspector, and forms part of the contract for sale. The building report that is issued is typically comprised of 4 separate parts, with each part often completed during the one inspection:

  • Building Report

  • Compliance Report

  • EER Report

  • Pest Report

In Part 1 of this 4 part series, we have asked the team at ACT Property Inspections to put together a list of common defects identified in building reports.

For an obligation free walkthrough of your property with an experienced real estate agent to identify any potential issues prior to ordering your building report, click here.

What follows is a detailed account of what they look for inside the home when conducting their inspection, and for those that haven’t been through the process before, the list can often look a bit daunting:


  • Sagging ceiling sheets

  • Cracking in ceiling or cornice

  • Water staining from a leak from the roof

  • Mould

  • Flaking paint


  • Cracking and movement

  • Impact damage

  • Skirting and architraves defects


  • Door hardware operational

  • Door binding on door frame or floor

  • Impact damage

  • Weather damage on external doors

  • Cracked glass in side panels

  • Door runners smooth on sliding doors


  • Cracked or drummy tiles

  • Grout defects between the tiles

  • Torn carpet

  • Water damage


  • Binding windows

  • Window runner requiring replacement

  • Locks not installed or not operational

  • Cracked glass

  • Fly screen damaged

  • Timber decay and weathering

  • Flaking paint

  • Deteriorated window rubber flashings at bottom of window

Wet areas and kitchen

  • Cupboards operational

  • Water damage or water leaks from sinks

  • Leaking showers

  • Water damage to walls, skirting, or under floor from leaking showers

  • Poor silicon joints in shower corners

  • Poor silicon joints between the bench and the splash back

  • Cracked and drummy wall and floor tiles

  • Water damaged vanity caused by leaks

  • Exhaust fans operates when required

  • Leaking toilet

  • Flush buttons on toilet not operational

For obligation free advice on what needs fixing up at your property, before the building inspector arrives click here.

However ACT Property Inspections are also required to inspect the exterior of the property, and in that instance the following are considered:


  • Cracked tiles

  • Flaking and cracked roof pointing

  • Corrosion on metal roofs

  • Torn or weathered flashings

  • Gutter corrosion

  • Gutters blocked

  • Fascia weathering or decay

  • Eaves sheets require repair and re-fixing

  • Water staining on the underside of the eaves indicating a leak from the roof

  • Roof structure defects

  • Insulation installed over down lights

External Walls

  • Cracking and movement

  • Timber decay and weathering on timber cladding

  • Weep holes not installed if required

  • Termite barrier and damp proof course bridge by external landscaping


  • Timber decay and weathering

  • Termite damage

  • Pool fence/gate safety

  • Gate operational including latches

Decks and Pergolas

  • Posts in direct contact with ground

  • Timber decay and weathering

  • Termite damage

  • Approved handrails not installed on decks over 1m in height

  • Roof sheeting not fixed to rafters property

  • Gutters not installed on larger roofs

  • Gutter not connected to storm water drains


  • Water damage under wet areas caused by leaks

  • Damp subfloor soil

  • Poor ventilation

  • Subfloor access door in poor condition

  • Ant capping  not installed or not installed correctly

  • Sunken piers

  • Floor structure defects

It’s important to know that there’s no obligation on the homeowner to rectify any, or all of these defects (as long as the property is safe for buyers to inspect), the legislation requires that they are merely disclosed so that the buyers have full knowledge of the condition of the property prior to making any offers. In practice this is meant to facilitate a faster sale process from the time an offer is made, as there are not multiple buyers ordering building reports as can occur in other states.

For an obligation free walkthrough of your property with an agent prior to identify any issues prior to ordering your building report, click here.

Keep an eye out for Part 2 of the series:  Common termites found in the ACT

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