Tips & Tricks

Home Inspections

If you are buying or selling a home, I recommend you get a building and pest report every time. Not from a structural engineer – although some structural engineers can do this work – but by a full-time pre-purchase building inspector.

I’m a structural engineer and I always engage a professional building inspector when I buy a property – and I’ll tell you why.

Pre-purchase Building inspectors do a great job!

It’s that easy. They climb into places that I refuse to go.

They find defects that no one else has ever found – particularly in roof spaces.

They see problems and report on them and make you as a buyer aware of most of the issues in a building. You can then make an informed decision about your purchase.

I’ve heard people say that the exclusions and the disclaimers make most of the reporting void.

I disagree.

Certainly, the risk of being sued for missing a defect compared to the small fee that building inspectors receive isn’t worth it. However, the information in a building report is definitely worth it. It is DEFINITELY worth it.

Should you Hire A Structural Engineer to do a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

My opinion is that “No. You should not use a structural engineer for a pre-purchase inspection”.


Structural engineers are very, very good at solving building problems but they aren’t quite as good at finding problems.

Structural engineers can see what you can see when it comes to defects. They might be able to say WHY a defect has occurred, but I don’t recommend them for finding the problem in the first place.

Should the Seller get a Structural Engineer’s Report?

If you are selling your home, or you are a real estate agent selling a home and that home has movement cracks or damage in it, should you get a structural engineer’s report before the house hits the market?

Watch our video to find out why.

Structural Engineer Home Inspections

I think structural engineers are exceptional at diagnosing problems in a building once they have been found. I suggest a pre-purchase inspection be complemented by a structural engineer’s inspection IF structural defects are found in your home inspection.

I personally have been to lots of properties after a building and pest inspection. The role I play in fixing the damage is described better in my post about how to fix cracks in your house.

So please, use a pre-purchase building inspector if you are buying a property. Engage a structural engineer if the inspection report finds structural issues that need diagnosis and rectification. it’s what we do. Good luck with your purchase!

Looking for a recommendation for a pre-purchase building inspector? Check our Our Friends page.

5 replies on “Home Inspections”

I’m wondering why I should use a building inspector rather than a structural engineer when the building inspection industry is unregulated and the report you are paying for is completely subjective?


Hi Lynn
It is a tough call. I use a building and pest inspector for my purchases. I try to use an inspector that I trust and that wants to do a good job, not just a minimum effort as quickly as possible. A bit of research and I’m sure you could find one too.
In any case, hiring a structural engineer for an inspection isn’t a guarantee that all issues will be identified. It really depends on the experience of the inspector, the nature of the issues and a little bit of luck.


We are in the middle of buying a house, we have just had our building & pest and our reports have come back saying there are some cracks in the brickwork and they recommend doing an engineer inspection.
What are your quotes for an inspection?
I have the reports if needed


Hi Justin
I’ll drop you an email with a price.
For all others, finding cracks in an existing home isn’t necessarily the end of the contract. When you buy an existing home you already realise that you are not buying a new home. It is going to come with a few blemishes here and there.
So how many blemishes are ok and what are the signs of further movement? That sort of question takes quite a bit of assessment on site. It is not ok just to assess the cracks as they stand – the inspector should try to identify the cause, whether the cause has been attended to or reversed, whether the damage is really old or fairly recent and the location of the damage.
It’s a case by case basis and we’re really surprised some engineers use a proforma template report that just covers off on the basics. It leaves you out of pocket and none the wiser. Lose/lose.
Matthew Cornell – Cornell Engineers

Can you please provide a quote of building inspection for the proeprty in 86 Liverpool Road, Clayfield QLD 4011? This is queenslander built in 1940.


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