Building Inspections Major or Minor Defects

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The incidence of inspector professional indemnity insurance notifications and claims is increasing as ‘major’ defects are wrongly reported on as ‘minor’ defects.

The following quick guide will help inspectors better understand how to determine defect types in the different elements of construction.

Major defects: are defects of significant magnitude where rectification has to be carried out in order to avoid unsafe conditions, loss of utility or further deterioration of the property. Major defects need to be reported on using a defect statement. As a guide, when making a defect statement the inspector should always consider:

  • what is it;
  • where is it;
  • what is wrong with it;
  • a recommendation for further investigation or advice, where applicable; and
  • how quickly should any recommendation be implemented. 

Minor defects: Clause 4.2.4.2 of AS 4349.1-2007, indicates that the report shall describe the overall extent of minor defects. Most properties have minor defects, especially if preventive or routine maintenance has not been carried out. Minor defects are normally rectified as part of normal on-going property maintenance. 

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