Building Inspections – Why is Cracking so important

Cracked brickwork – What you should know

Building & Pest Inspection Gold Coast. Cracked brickwork on brand new home

Cracked brickwork

Was cracking identified in your building inspection report?

Cracking externally or internally may be a sign that there is a very serious defect with the property you are looking at to purchase. Rectification of cracking and cracked brickwork can be very costly depending on its cause.

Can you fix cracking yourself?

Cracking is not the sort of damage that you should be fixing yourself.

You need to engage the services of a Licensed Structural Engineer first  to come out and inspect the property for you, prior to the purchase and any repairs.

A Licensed Structural Engineer can provide you with an expert opinion as to the cause and location of the cracking and also what is required to rectify this.

A minor crack at the time of inspection can end up costing you thousands down the track!

Even though your building inspector may have an idea about the cause of the cracking, they are not covered under their insurance policy to advise you on how to rectify cracking or the cause of the cracking. A licensed structural engineer is the person who will have the insurance cover to protect your interest in the property. They also have the knowledge of why and what has caused the cracking and whether the cracking will end up down the track being a serious defect requiring a significant costs to repair or whether the cracking will not get any worse and you can go ahead and have it repaired.

Who should advise you about cracking?

You should NOT follow the advice of your Real Estate Agent or the current Property Owner when discussing any cracking. They may tell you the cracking is “nothing to worry about” or “it has been there for years” etc. They are not qualified to provide you with the advice you need to diagnose the cause of the cracking and what will be required to rectify the cracking. Do not go ahead and purchase a property with cracking based on the opinion of the current owner or real estate agent unless they can provide current evidence of the same from a licensed structural engineer that has been recently engaged to inspect the same property.

What should you as the prospective purchaser do?

Regardless of the severity of the cracking, you should always follow the recommendations made in your building inspection report to engage the services of a licensed structural engineer prior to the purchase of the property.

If you go ahead and settle on a property without getting this advice first, the cracking will then become your problem.

The cracking will either need to be rectified at your expense or will come up again later in pre-purchase reports when you want to sell the property in the future.

Cracking will not be overlooked by the next building inspector as it is the most important item a building inspector will be looking for.

Information on cracking

Some cracking may require immediate and costly repairs while other cracking may just require monitoring. Only a Structural Engineer can advise you correctly on these actions. Most purchasers can pull out of their contracts if there is cracking noted in their building inspection report. If you are not feeling confident with the cracking or what is required to rectify this, speak to your conveyancer or solicitor.

Some items that can be the cause of cracking

  • A retaining wall near the house
  • Surface water drainage
  • Water leaks in pipes
  • Recent renovations
  • Trees and shrubs close to house or recently removed