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How To Read Pest & Building Reports

a professional builder with tools

What is a Pest and Building Report?

The purpose of a Pest and Building report is to identify any issues with the building and/or its structure, so that you can be informed about the conditions of the building before going through with the purchase.

A Pest and Building Report is your canary in the coal mine. It flags up any serious issues with the property you seal the deal.

How does it all work? You hire a qualified building expert who takes a thorough look at the property, its structural integrity, and assesses the building defects and risks of a possible pest infestation. Your expert checks the property from top to bottom – the inside, the outside, the roof, and the under-floor space. You can also ask them to check for red flags like asbestos, faulty electrical safety switches, or non-operating smoke alarms. Their findings are then bundled up in a report and provided to you.

With this report in hand, you're in the driving seat. You can decide to proceed with the purchase, negotiate the price down based on any flaws uncovered, or walk away.

In our view, if you are serious about buying a property, getting a Pest and Building Report should be a no-brainer. You get the full, unvarnished picture of the property. You sidestep the nasty surprise of uncovering some potential issues down the line, and you can deal with them before they mushroom into money pits. The cherry on top? You can use this intel to negotiate a better deal.

The report can reveal a whole host of issues, from structural damage and leaking taps to chipped paint and, heaven forbid, a termite infestation.

Decoding Your Pest and Building Report

Here's what you should zero in on when reading your report:

Structural Glitches: Look out for any mention of cracks or holes in the floor, ceiling, walls, or roof. Safety's paramount, and you would want these sorted pronto before they escalate and burn a hole in your pocket.

Pest Infestations: If there's any sign of termite or other infestations, you'll want to get pest control on the case without delay. Unchecked, these pests can undermine your property's structure and threaten safety.

Mould, Rust, Stains, Dampness, and Rotting Timber: These issues can make parts of the house, like taps, baths, doors, and showers, a nightmare to use. If you spot these, consider the costs of replacing the affected parts.

Minor Fixes and Repairs: Doors, windows, hinges, handles not working as they should? These are small fixes that can enhance your living experience once you move in. Again, consider the costs of these and use that to negotiate a better price with the vendor.

Utilities: Any potential issues with electricity, gas, or water need to be addressed straight away. You don't want to be left high and dry because you didn't check these systems.

Other Inspector Insights: This could include smoke alarms or electrical switches that aren't working or even the big guns like signs of asbestos.


You need to understand that these reports have their limitations. It's based on what the inspector can see on the day of the inspection; it's not a prediction of future issues. It can't dig into concealed parts of the property, so there could still be surprises lurking in the shadows. Bottom line? Read and understand the part of the report about its limitations. Most of the time these reports are prepared in such a way so that to avoid any legal dispute if anything goes wrong with your property.


Getting a Pest and Building report done is no trivial matter. It's your lifeline, your way of getting the full scoop on the property before you dive headfirst into your property purchase. Peruse the report carefully, and if required, negotiate a reasonable reduction in price, before allowing the contracts to exchange unconditionally.

At Surge Legal we are able to provide you with a list of qualified building experts who can prepare a thorough Pest & Building report for your peace of mind.


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