Mentoring is the real role of the Building Inspector. It is not to instruct you whether to buy or not to buy.

Some time ago we wrote an article on this web site titled “What to expect from a Building Inspection Report”. In that article we noted that it should not be the role of the building inspector to determine if the house is suitable to purchase. In other words mentoring is the real role of the building inspector.

Why would we make that claim?

The choice of whether to buy the defect should always be with the purchaser. Some people will buy cracks and not salt damp. Others will buy salt damp and not cracks.  Inspectors too will differ in their assessment of the building and they will have their own personal bent on what is suitable for purchase and what is not.

A building may be so structurally compromised that it should be demolished. In such a situation it may well be argued that the inspector should advise against purchase.

Quite frankly if it is the case that it should be demolished then it is probably obvious to all that enter the property. The advice the inspector should give in this case is NOT “don’t buy this house” it SHOULD BE “we consider this house is so structurally compromised we recommend its demolition”.

A professional and a reliable building inspector would mentor their clients on the defects in a house. If the house is so structurally compromised that it should be demolished then the inspector will highlight this and the reasons why. If sections of the house need rebuilding or need bracing or repairing or otherwise reworked this should be indicated in the report.

There may be areas of defect in the house that require a specialist to add further advice. Like your family doctor would do in referring you onto an oncologist or a back surgeon, or an ear nose and throat specialist so a building inspector may refer you onto a structural engineer, a pest control inspector, a plumber or an electrician for specialist advice.

There are inspectors out there that will advise not to buy. These are the bane of the real estate industry and can make some real estate agents wary of inspectors. They should make you wary too.

What level of defect is appropriate before the property is not suitable for purchase and what defects still remain (and there will be) that you should know about so you can plan their repair.

I guess only you can answer that question. Do you agree that mentoring is the real role of the building inspector or do you see it as telling you to buy or not to buy and I will blame you (the inspector) if something then goes wrong.