Building Inspections

Posted on 06 JUL

"P" Test

Q: I’m looking to buy a rental/investment property and the builder who did the inspection suggested getting a “P” test done. Should I be doing this? Alister B.

Unfortunately a house could have been used as a P-Lab or have had P users as tenants without the owner, or you as the prospective purchaser, having any inkling.  After 6 months of a house being used as a lab there may be no may be no distinguishable smell at all, but it could still prove hazardous to people living there.

We recommend that you have a ‘surface’ P test done initially (around $200) and if that proves positive you should consider a more comprehensive swab test, at a higher cost of course. This may seem like a waste of money, but if the property turns out to be badly contaminated you could be up for re-instatement costs of up to $50,000. As with everything it pays to do full due-diligence before handing over your hard-earned cash.

If you are a landlord and concerned at having your properties contaminated by tenants there are a number of companies that offer methamphetamine alarm services, for around $30 per month. Not a bad safeguard for your property we think.

Unconsented Building Work

Q: I am looking at purchasing a house and have found that the property incudes ‘unauthorised building works’. I’ve been told that plenty of homes in Auckland have unconsented works and that there is a way around it if we buy. Can you explain? Bruce M.

A: You are right that there are plenty of properties around with unconsented alterations, and some of these may not be cause for any concern. We have sold properties that have had, for example, a deck added with no consent. If the work is something that concerns you then you can apply to your council for a Certificate of Acceptance (CoA). This provides a limited assurance that the council has inspected the works and is satisfied, to the best of its knowledge, that the works comply with the NZ Building Regulations (1992). You need to be aware that because they did not inspect the work during construction they will only issue the CoA if you can provide them with evidence from a qualified and independent professional that the work is compliant. Basically what this means is that you may need to get a qualified architect, engineer or building surveyor in to inspect the work and to provide detailed plans or drawings of the alterations for submission to council. Not necessarily an easy task!

Property Inspections

Q: Can you explain what a CCC is, and what it means to a person buying a home? Donald H.

A: The full name for a CCC is a Code Compliance Certificate.  A code compliance certificate is issued by your local council at the end of a building project, if the council is satisfied that the completed building work complies with the original building consent. There are a number of steps involved in having the CCC issued - these are described in detail on Auckland Council’s website. What a CCC means to you as a buyer is that it provides a guarantee of the quality of building work done and will help you insure your property or sell it in the future. If you are ever looking to buy a property with no CCC we strongly suggest you discuss the purchase with your lawyer first.

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