Preface: A few fellow Wisdom builders on the homeone forums have asked for this so here goes to the best of my knowledge and what I think is reasonable to publish with respect to confidentiality agreements with Wisdom. All opinions offered are my own, I’ve kept a close eye on my build as you can see in my blog. If you have any concerns at all about your own build you should engage the services of an independent building inspector.
We got Stephen Ryan from H&K Ryan to do our independent inspection last week just before the gyprock went up, it was $595 including GST. Wisdom’s standard policy regarding independent inspections is for 2 inspections, one at pre-gyprock and one at PCI. SS (the old one) actually discussed this with me on our first phone call because I brought it up.
Originally, back in February, I was planning to do a 5 stage package (slab, frame, pre-plaster, waterproofing, PCI) from Houspect for $2k+ but after doing more research it seemed it was overkill – both Howard Ryan and the SS talked me out of it independently. The SS’s advice I took with a grain of salt at first but when Howard had the same things to say it made a lot of sense.
The reason I didn’t go with Houspect was that they did the slab inspection after the pour. If you want to fix anything it’s gotta be inspected beforehand and by a structural engineer which SBAC (Wisdom’s PCA) are already required to do by NSW law.
Inspecting a frame straight after it’s gone up was also fairly pointless because work was being done to it all the way till gyprock. A frame warps in the weather, needs to be straightened agained, needs to be tied to bricks. The roofing guys do quite a bit to mangle the frame too along the way to get the gutters, fascia and steel battens to fit, the plumbing guys take studs and noggins out to fit pipes, add more in to replace what they took out. The electrical rough-in does the same, The A/C rough-in the same again All the way through the process the carpenter has to come back at various times to fix stuff. The frame isn’t in its ‘finished state’ till it’s literally ready for gyprock.
The one caveat here is that I personally did walk around the house once with a laser tape measure to check the windows, doors were all in the correct places and that the joists were the right height from the floor before bricks started in May. I’m really into all this building stuff whereas others might not be.
So this brings me to Stephen’s inspection – I organised it with the SS about a month ago. After the roof was on, I brought it up with SS to ask him when he thought we could have our pre-gyprock inspection. This was beginning of September. He said a few weeks so I got in touch with Stephen and passed him SS’s details while at the same time telling SS that he should expect a call soon and they should organise this together.
It gave the SS a push along because there was a flurry of activity as he had to get the building ready for inspection including lower brick clean, lower roof, lower eaves, A/C rough-in done in the last few weeks.
Stephen’s report came back with photos and explanations and I forwarded by email to the SS, Stephen had picked up the following minor issues (nothing that was classed as ‘defective’ or :
- 1 Window sill had mortar instead of an expansion joint
- Some excess loose mortar on the inside of the bricks in the damp proof course cavity to be removed by hand
- 2 missing noggins where light switches were placed and 1 missing stud next to garage door
- Copper Hot water pipes touching galvanised aluminium recess box for water heater
SS said he would address issues 2,3 before gyprock started. I will follow up on 1,4 again at PCI. I’m not entirely sure I will get another independent inspection at PCI, it’s good assurance for $595 but at PCI most things can be picked up by a laypersons eye since all the hard structural stuff has already been completed. Again this is only because we’re building with Wisdom who have a reputation as a builder of competence (Howard’s words not mine) and I’ve kept a close eye on things all the way along.
So moral of the story, get a pre-plaster inspection, everyone including the builder recommends it – it’s kinda like a report card even if there isn’t much wrong.
By the time I did a drive-by again yesterday, gyprock was already on so our build keeps moving along. 🙂