Why should people use your services?
We are solution based; we come from a practical background being builders and we have competitive pricing amongst the rest. I have been self employed in the past and had up to 20 staff at one stage. This is definitely a nice change from running staff and just being myself.
Originally from Wellington, I jumped over the ditch about 6 years ago to Nelson. Coming up 12 months with Home and building inspection Team Nelson and it has been a nice change.
We have competitive pricing and the automated software we use helps us immensely. With our inspections we take up to two hours on site and then between 30mins and 1 to write up a report. We spend more time looking at the house not writing. With the automated system you don’t actually miss anything as you have a checklist so your memory is always jogged in each room as what to look for.We take photos in a lot of the areas as well. I have heard some of the others don’t get into the tight spaces You have to get into tight spaces to inspect and be used to walking on roofs etc.
What makes your skills and knowledge so important when inspecting a home?
I think just having a building background and understanding and knowledge of how things have been put together and constructed. I have a background in renovations and alterations in previous years. Doing that type of work gives you a great insight into what to look for e.g. dampness and rot and looking in the right areas. Domestic houses are my background and have spent many years projecting managing and running jobs.
What is it that you actually look for when doing a house inspection?
The key things are moisture in the roof spaces and wet areas in the bathroom and cracks and moisture around windows. A lot of it depends on the cladding of the house and also the era of the house. With the 80’s there were lots of products that failed and were not as good as they are now. A lot of particle board was put in and there was also asbestos around too. Having a knowledge of the different eras helps.
What type of houses are there in Nelson?
We get a lot of Stucco house in Nelson, more than I saw in Wellington. The houses are quite different in weather tightness with respect to coming from Wellington where you are used to horizontal rain and an earthquake zone where as in Nelson some of the houses wouldn’t stand 5 minutes in Wellington conditions. So you have to take into account the conditions of your own area as well. A lot of the flashing systems that were in place in Wellington aren’t seen or needed here.
Are they up with the Council code?
Yes of course they are up with the regulations at the time we get alot of those questions. A lot of builders go and say well they don’t meet the codes but they obviously met the codes at the time of construction which is what we are looking at and the time of the renovation.
You have been building for how many years?
About 25 years and my father for a few more than that 45-50 years he’s been at it so combined there is a lot of knowledge base there. My father lives an hour and a half away but he looks over all my reports so I have another experienced eye looking over them, checking up and looking for things I have missed.
What is your current team? Do you have a network i.e. plumbers,electricians?
Previously I had a building company so I know a lot of sub trades that I have used and can refer on to customers. In Nelson there are a lot of buyers from outside the region who don’t have that sort of support or local knowledge base so they appreciate the knowledge and rapport I have with the specialised fields. I have some idea after being through a few houses as to what to look for and what doesn’t look right or is out of place. Looking out for old/new fuses and looking out for the black rubber. You see Ducks quest a lot as it has been used frequently in Nelson. It is a black pipe used in the 80’s which is now a faulty product.The name is written on it. An insurance company may not insure your property if this piping is present. Home owners may not know it is there as you wont see it unless you are in the ceiling or floor space. Bits can be replaced but it is best to replace the whole lot.Its good to get it look at if you have concerns it may be in your house especially if you are paying for water usage as the pipes can burst at anytime.
Which areas in Nelson do you cover?
My territory is Lewis Pass to Farewell Spit. I cover Atawai, Richmond, Golden Bay, Tanated Lakes Motueka and Tahunanui lot of work in Nelson, Richmond and Motueka.
Why do people need to use a building inspector?
Well its like buying a car - you get an AA report. I don’t know anything about cars so I get an aa report so that I know it is going to be safe and sound. House inspections are pretty much the same. Piece of mind and satisfaction that you have someone who has expertise in the field. You get a written report that is easy to read and a lot of those reports get forwarded on to lawyers etc and come quite handy in the negotiation process when it comes to the remedial work that is needed as it is all highlighted. The banks are also getting into looking for reports. With conveying lawyers, banks and insurance companies the reports are becoming very popular. In Nelson even the real estate agents are noting the growth in building inspections in general, some even go as far as telling their clients they should get one before they purchase a property.
Do you do any other type of inspections?
New homes for private purchase but not building companies. I do bigger homes, home stays and bed and breakfasts. Recently I did 2 rest homes in Greymouth so any type of domestic building used for living. I have even had a request for an inspection at a property which has 10 flats which was built in the early 1900’s so it goes from the early 1900’s right up to new homes and I have also done a little bit on some commercial buildings. A little bit of everything really.
What people need to look out for when beginning the buying process?
I think the biggest thing on people’s minds is it a leaky house and people see plaster systems and plasters houses and classify it as a leaky house but that’s not necessarily true. If it has big soffits it okay you are well covered. What makes a leaky house is where parapets have the wrong flashings on top. Plaster houses with soffits are okay and there are some great painting systems to repair remedial cracks. You will want to know whether it is monolithic cladding or whether is it on a cavity system so it just depends. A lot of people are concerned about the cladding of a house. The houses I find around here are all okay, they just need to be well maintained and looked after, like a car If you look after it you will get a lot more usage.In 12 months I have only come across 2 that I would have been weary of that were leaky houses and so that is 2 out of 250 inspection to date. Monolithic cladded houses can potentially be leaky homes but we are lucky we don’t have the weather conditions in Nelson like some other parts of the country.
Do you do see many P houses?
I do try and add them into my tests rather than just going and doing them. I do have the capability to be doing them which is through meth solutions in Auckland. We go out and we do the sample swabs, send them to the lab and we get the results quite promptly. They have a website, www.methsolutions.co.nz and there are a few others in the area that do them as well. It is becoming quite a common thing you probably seen a bit in the news lately. They only need a small area so can be pretty hard to spot.
- I would be having a look at the roof and making sure it has a good coat of paint on it with a good pitch so that the water is falling away easily.
- Check the spouting to make sure its not blocked and not running over into the soffits or eves.
- If the house is clad with timber I would be looking for rot around the windowsill areas and all corners on weather board houses.
- Plaster houses check for remedial cracking as it is quite common around the window areas above and below the window areas. If you’ve got one wall with crazy cracking on it there might be more going on so get that checked.
- Just checking all doors and windows inside to make sure that they don’t need easing and are all working freely and there has been no movement or subsidence.
Any advice for a new home buyer?
Get a building inspection of courses it just make sense now.If you don’t have experience in the building game and your not sure in terms of what you are spending, its peace of mind. With the price of a building inspection its well worth getting one. The other point with HABiT is that we are fully insured with indemnity insurance. You hear agents talking about inspectors not being insured but we are fully insured with indemnity insurance which is peace of mind for a lot of people.
What are the main concerns potential buyers or sellers have when it comes to getting a builders report?
They are most worried about the cladding and with a lack of knowledge base that is the biggest concern. Once they have an inspector from Habit around they will get peace of mind on cladding and how most problems can easily be fixed. Leaks are another concern, sometimes we see the odd shower leaking or plumbing issues underneath the house which the client has been unaware of . You find some vendors that want reports done who have this monolithic cladding and are unsure of it and want some advice in the right areas. I say keep it well maintained and looked after.
Great things about living in Nelson or about the housing Nelson?
The weather is great in Nelson put it that way. Its a great atmosphere in Nelson, I’m really enjoying it and you do get a variety of houses here. You never know where you are going next when you out and about and we have lovely countryside as well. Number one for sunshine days in New Zealand.
Best thing about being a building inspector?
It’s a different mind set to being on the tools after many years and it nice to be in a service that is actually helping others and using my knowledge base, that I really enjoy. I enjoy people and I have people skills as well so I am really enjoying getting out and about and making people comfortable with what that are buying or what they are selling. We were always told that when we finished our building apprenticeship it was our licence to start learning. So I have had a lot of years learning and I think as a builder your building eye never turns off.You are always going to someones house for a cup of coffee or something and you are always looking at things, you never stop looking.