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The Building Inspection Checklist

building inspection checklist

Although a basic building inspection might help you pinpoint the most common concerns, a thorough examination is necessary to deal adequately with structural issues and maintenance requirements.

As much as you might not have the proficiency to single out inherent structural problems, knowledge of precisely what to be on the lookout for when inspecting a property should help you to notice the most prevalent issues, which leads to carefully contemplated choices.


The checklist

Although this building inspection checklist provides tips that will help you identify the potential trouble spots, it cannot stand in place of a professional building inspection. For a comprehensive building inspection, which enables well informed and logical decisions before making a purchase, you should consult a local professional building inspector.



Inspect each of the doors and confirm whether they all operate in a smooth manner, and do not either stick or rub on the door frame. Examine the doors and see if they are all of a square shape or shaped to fit either an irregular or non-standard door frame. The striker plate ought to be in its original position while the gaps between all four sides of the door and the frame should be evenly spaced.



Open and close every window while looking out for repair signs, which might be covering extensive damages. Some of the signs that indicate underlying issues include;

  • Cracked glass.
  • Painted or patched frames.
  • Condensation.


Ceilings and walls

Careful inspect the ceilings and walls, looking out for sagging, buckled, patched, or stained areas. Remember to check the brick walls for mould, dampness, and stains.

Patched and saggy ceilings are common indications of leaky or otherwise problematic roofs. While most professional building inspectors use thermal imaging cameras to assess walls extensively for signs of either repair or damage, you can also identify such sites by simply shining a flashlight along wall surfaces.



Inspect the kitchen area for stains and dampness around the sink, particularly along the backsplash. Gently jiggle the plumbing to determine whether the fittings are sound, and inspect the cabinetry beneath the kitchen sink, which should be dry and lacking either sour smells or water stains.

Remember to confirm whether or not the roof consists of a chimney. Some of the issues to inspect for around the cooktop are;

  • Oily upper cupboards.
  • Sufficient ventilation and exhaustion systems venting outdoors.



Inspect and confirm that the plumbing is efficient and leak-free in all the bathrooms by:

  • Looking out for grout and missing seals around the base of fixtures and tiles.
  • Turning every tap on and off.
  • Confirming the exhaust fan works.
  • Checking for active leaks by looking under every bathroom floor while the water is running.
  • Opening and closing the shower doors to confirm they operate correctly.
  • Checking how long it takes for the hot water to reach the showers, sinks, and bathtubs.
  • Inspecting for signs of active leaks or water stains under every sink.

Laundry room

Check for evidence of rust and stains both outside and inside the laundry room and whether there is a suitably secured trough with good seals around the trough and walls. The walls around the trough should be tiled, while the floor should feature an overflow drain pipe, more so for apartments.




For the inspection of toilets, visually assess the entire toilet area as well as the fixtures for any signs of broken seals or leaks.

  • Confirm that the water shuts off as soon as the cistern fills up.
  • Check for the overuse of caulking, which is commonly applied to cover active leaks and repairs.
  • Prod the toilet gently to confirm its stability. In case it gives, the base attachment screws are most likely loose, meaning the sewage flange might consequently spring a leak.
  • Be sure to flush the toilet while keeping an ear out for possible running water or any indications of potential leaks in the waste pipes.


Plumbing system

Inspecting the plumbing system might take a while mainly because such systems usually run through the entire building. Some of the steps to take include:

  • A carefully inspection of the waste pipes to determine whether they have leaking seals or cracks.
  • An inspection of the pipe at the water meter.
  • Replacement of the silver galvanised plumbing with either PVC or copper pipes since the galvanised pipes affect both the pressure and quality of water.
  • A determination of the type of pipe installed for the supply lines.

For your plumbing system, even a professional building inspector only provides a brief overview, whereas it is entirely possible for a licensed plumber to provide a comprehensive and detailed inspection of the plumbing system, particularly with the aid of sophisticated and technologically advanced testing techniques to identify issues related to leaks or water pressure.



Electrical system

In the same manner as plumbing, gaining a more than general idea regarding the condition of an electrical system after conducting your inspection, even with the assistance of a professional building inspector, is quite challenging. On the other hand, a licensed electrician has the ability to test the wiring and provide a comprehensive evaluation of its overall condition and safety. You could, however, take the following steps for your inspection:

  • Check the attic and crawl space for white wiring, which is an indication of modern wiring. In case all you can see is black cable or timber cable trays, the building probably needs a complete rewiring.
  • Inspect inside the fuse box to determine if it contains actual fuses or whether it has since been updated to the circuit breaker system.
  • Check for an earth-leakage circuit breaker and in case you do not find any, install it immediately after you purchase the building to ensure safety.


Roof structure

The overall structure of a sound roof should be free of either weakness or damage, and you can visually inspect the following by accessing the attic:

  • The wood used in the construction. Thanks to its optimal stability, pine wood is the most suitable option for roof construction. You may experience ceiling cracks and creaking sounds whenever the weather changes if hardwood is used for roofing.
  • The exterior roof for indications of either uneven surfaces or sagging.
  • The quality of craftsmanship when it comes to vents and skylights; compromised trusses indicate low-quality craftsmanship.


Roofing materials and gutters

Keeping moisture out of a house is among the most important roles played by the roof, which means it is essential to check carefully for signs of damage and leaks while performing your inspection. Be on the lookout for the following:

  • A faded concrete roof probably needs sealing, which should be applied immediately after the initial 25 years and about ten years after that.
  • Cracked or missing mortar, particularly along the valleys and peaks in the roof.
  • Signs of rust or damage on the downpipes, eaves, and gutters. The presence of rust stains usually indicates a leak.
  • Iron roofs should be rust free, and not painted to cover the rust.
  • Terracotta roofs more than 50 years old are generally very brittle and require either servicing or replacement.
  • The connection of downpipes to stormwater outlets which prevents the pooling of water around the building’s foundation.


Exterior siding

Watch for the following signs of potential dry rot, wear, and damage when you are assessing the exterior siding of a building:

  • Bowed or sagging areas in the boards, which usually indicates that a building or siding is moving.
  • Dry rot, which typically start at the corners or in a building’s joints. Carefully examine the corners and joints for signs of water stains, weakness, or damage.
  • Water stains or rotten wood on or around plumbing pipes, window sills, and ground surfaces.
    Protruding tree roots which can damage the walls and foundation of a building. Carefully inspect the areas around trees.
  • Large brick cracks that indicate shifting, especially in window and door openings, which is usually where the first warning cracks show.
  • Loose and dusty brick mortar which might need servicing or replacement. Use a metal tool to scrape the brick mortar to determine whether it is solid.


Crawl space and subfloor

It is important to inspect the foundation carefully, ensuring the stumps and footings are robust and secure. Examine wooden stumps to check for possible damages or soft areas using a metal tool to poke them. The wooden stumps that are more than 30 years old might require replacement.

There should be pathways underneath the building offering adequate drainage to ensure the soil is never wet. Water should never be allowed to pool underneath the structure and the garden soil ought to be below the flooring level if there is a concrete slab.



You can quickly identify most major issues and confirm whether a house fits your needs by carefully conducting a detailed inspection. Although performing a personal inspection helps you to evaluate potential buildings for purchase, remember to engage the services of a professional whenever you are ready to finalise the purchase.

Need a building inspection? Contact Adelaide’s best building inspection company BPI Adelaide today.

Stephen Sentschuk
Stephen Sentschuk
With over 30 years of experience in the building industry, Stephen brings an abundance of knowledge and industry expertise to BPI Adelaide. He is renown amongst his clients for his attention to detail and will always go the extra mile to ensure you are provided the best possible service. Stephen is a HIA award winning builder, mastering many facets of both domestic and commercial construction.