Building Inspections should include a plumbing inspection by a professional plumber as part of any building inspection.
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Everyone knows that when buying a house, in particular a pre-loved home, it is very important to have a competent professional perform a pre-purchase building inspection and pest inspection.

A building inspector will check through your potential new home for visible signs of wear, damage, or structural issues, including plumbing pipes in plain view. Likewise, a pest inspector will check for visible signs of termite (and other pests) infiltration or damage, and report on the potential risk areas.

Building inspections

Plumbing inspection
Getting back to building inspections, I mentioned that building inspectors will check for VISIBLE signs of problems with the plumbing. But, as you may already know, often the signs of a damaged plumbing pipe system are NOT visible above the surface.

Houses which were built pre-PVC piping used earthenware or clay pipes which, unfortunately, have a limited lifespan. The chances are that if you are buying a house which uses those types of pipes, and they have not been replaced in the life of the house up until now, you may inherit a very expensive problem indeed.

Put yourself in the shoes of a vendor, and imagine the following scenario: You are close to selling your house, and you suddenly find you have a sewer pipe blocked because of tree root infiltration. You have three options:

  • Replace the pipe/s - very expensive
  • Reline the pipes - more affordable, but still not cheap - but the better option if you want to do the right thing by the new owner
  • Clear the blockage - and let the new owner deal with either #1 or #2 later on when the pipes block up again

Of course, nobody reading this article would stoop to the #3 option - would you? ;-)

Now let's step into the shoes of the potential buyer. For the sake of about $200 to $400, you can have a full plumbing inspection by a specialised plumber done, which includes the inspection of your pipes using a pipe camera (CCTV). This nifty little device will alert the plumbing inspector to any cracks, breaks, blockages, or root infiltrations, thus potentially saving you (guessing) from $1000 to $20,000.

Sure, when you add plumbing inspections to the cost of conveyancing, building inspection and pest inspection, it all adds up - but imagine if eight weeks after you move into your new home you find that you have to replace your old pipes? A few hundred bucks wouldn't seem so much then.

Here's a juicy little piece of information you may not be aware of. Did you know that if you do experience sewer or stormwater pipe tree root infiltration, the cost may not have to be borne by you either in part or in full?

See that pesky palm tree in the neighbour's yard? Or that lovely looking gum tree in the council's nature strip? A specialised pipe lining plumbing inspector can have the roots which attacked your pipes analysed to determine where they came from - and if they came from your neighbour's palm, or the council's gum tree, guess who may be liable for your plumbing costs?

Of course, you should seek professional advice on your individual situation and location.

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