March 26, 2023
On March 7, 2023, my Completion Stage building inspection was conducted. As at the date of publication there has been no formal response from Henley, though I did attend a site meeting with Henley’s construction manager and site supervisor to discuss the report.
Prior to the final inspection, NHI sent me the following in an email:
Please ensure that your builder is aware of this booking and that clear and safe access for our inspector will be provided at the booked time and for the duration of our inspection.
Furthermore, we ask you to also confirm with your builder/site supervisor that your home has actually reached its Completion stage and will be ready for final inspection at the above appointment time and date.
At a minimum Completion stage means that your home must be fully cleaned internally and externally including all surfaces, glazing, window and door frames; any render finishes must be fully completed; the site must be properly graded and cleaned with all builders rubble removed; all painting and timber staining should be fully completed; all carpentry, joinery, tiling and plasterwork should be fully completed; all required floor covering must be installed and fully completed; and all plumbing fixtures and fittings should be properly installed and fully completed as well.
This is a very important requirement as rather than have your home completed and ready for a final inspection occasionally some builders/site supervisors will try and exploit your use of an independent inspection service to generate a completion list for themselves and is based on having your inspectors time wasted on inspecting incomplete, unfinished, obvious non-compliant and defective works, just to provide them with a completion list that they were either too lazy to, or incapable of, compiling themselves. Further, any final inspection attempted to be carried out when there are still incomplete, unfinished and obvious non-compliant/defective works present cannot be considered accurate or conclusive as the works are still ‘ongoing’ or ‘in progress’ and it is not the final finishes that are being inspected!
We draw your attention to the building contract that your builder had you sign before they started work, which defines Completion as meaning:- ‘the building works to be carried out under the Contract have been completed in accordance with the Plans and Specifications set out in the contract’.
That same contract also contains a number of implied warranties, which in part state- The builder warrants that the work will be carried out in a proper and workmanlike manner and in accordance with the plans and specifications set out in the contract; and that the work will be carried out with reasonable care and skill; and that the work will be suitable for occupation at the time the work is completed.
That contract also states that when the Builder considers that the Building Works have reached Completion the Builder is to give to the Owner – a written Notice of Completion and the Final Claim. Ideally, both of these documents should have been issued to you by now as under your contract they are the trigger for your final Pre Handover quality inspection to be carried out.
Importantly, we have only allowed within our Pre Handover inspection service and site attendance time to complete an inspection and report on a Completed home, NOT to produce a completion list for your builder. Therefore, if at the time of our attendance your home has not in fact reached its Completion stage, your inspection will proceed as a General inspection only, to report on any notable incomplete, non-compliant and defective works, which you should then have your builder complete, rectify or justify to you in accordance with their Contractual obligation, before your home could be considered Complete and ready for its true Final inspection.
It is your responsibility to confirm with your builder/site supervisor that these benchmarks will have in fact been met and that access to all areas you require inspected will be available, prior to our attendance.
On February 22, 2023, I emailed Henley requesting written confirmation that they would meet the inspection requirements by the date of the inspection and this was confirmed later the same day by Henley. As you will see from the inspection report, Henley did not meet all of the requirements listed above.
Presented below is the full inspection report, edited only to remove personal details. The highlighter was also added by me for my own use.
Frequently referenced in this report is the Victorian Building Authority’s (VBA) Guide to Standards and Tolerances. A link to that will be provided here and on the Resources menu at the top of the page.