Whether you’re moving into a new build or buying a property from someone, you’ll want to make sure your new home meets all your expectations and doesn’t become an on-going DIY project.

This means you’ll have to do a thorough investigation of the property and consider a variety of aspects of the house in order to ensure it is ready to be made into a comfortable home.

Here at Cook Brown Building Control, we are one of the UK’s leading Approved Inspectors, we work with architects and construction businesses to ensure their works are built to the correct standards.

In this guide, we’ll outline all the aspects worth inspecting which can serve as a checklist for any properties you’re viewing or have already agreed a sale on, although we do recommend that you do a complete inspection for buying any property.


What is a home inspector?

A home inspector is a qualified professional for is responsible for conducting an examination of a newly purchased property and identifies any potential problems or oversights. This is usually followed by a report on the state of the property.

Approved Inspectors have the experience to carry out a property inspection and successfully identify any causes for concern. This is because they regularly work with different types of properties and are familiar with common oversights which is particularly important for new build developments where the standard of work may not to be up to scratch for every property.


What is a home inspection contingency?

This refers to a specific clause sometimes added to real-estate contracts. A home inspection contingency serves as a fallback in case the property does not meet expectations following a home inspection. If the results of the inspection are not satisfactory then the clause gives the homebuyer the option to either back out of the property sale or demand appropriate repairs are made.

This is a great way to protect yourself from any unwanted disappointment and ensures you are not automatically responsible for any repairs while still securing an agreement for the property. However, it is important to note that if you choose to include this clause in a contract then you have to complete the home inspection within a certain timeframe.

Learn more about the costs associated with building inspections >


How long does a home inspection take?

A home inspection typically takes anywhere between 2 and 4 hours to complete but it will take longer to compile a report. Therefore, it’s important to make allowance for this and allocate a couple days to make sure the process is thorough, especially if a home inspection contingency clause has been added to the property sale.


What are key things to look out for during an inspection?

This will ultimately depend on whether the house is a new build or you’re buying the house from someone else. New builds usually have a lot less concerns than previously occupied properties.

Some key things to look out for include:

  • Damp
  • Structural damage
  • Roof damage
  • Electrical wiring
  • HVAC problems

Although new builds are usually exempt from a lot of these concerns, there has been a worrying trend of contractors failing to comply with building regulations in the UK. One notable example of this is installing fake weep vents which literally have no functional value.

Learn more about building inspections with Cook Brown Building Control >


The complete Homebuyers Property Inspection Checklist

Before we outline the specific areas worth inspecting, it’s wanted to highlight the importance of an property inspection. When you’re looking for a new house then it’s easy to get distracted by the excitement of moving in and adding your personal touch to your new home.

This means a lot of homebuyers jump straight to interior décor decisions and start thinking about what they to put in their garden, when they should be making sure the property does not have any underlying issues and all work meets building regulations.

A homebuyers property inspection checklist should include but not be limited to:

  • Central heating and radiators
  • Building foundation and structure
  • Walls, floors, windows and doors
  • Damp and moisture
  • Water pipes and drains
  • Electrics and fire alarms
  • Roof and/or loft
  • Exterior and garden
  • Damp and moisture

This list will vary from property to property, getting independent building advice when looking at a property is important, especially if you are planning on carrying out your own work in the future.


Electrical and Plumbing

The electrical and plumbing of your house is what makes it liveable and any potential issues, can severely impact how your living situation and it’s obviously not ideal if you don’t have running water in a specific part of the house or some outlets just don’t work.

  • Check fuses and breakers
  • Locate the service panel
  • Are all sockets working?
  • Do any of the pipes have potential leaks?
  • Is the water pressure sufficient?
  • Do the toilets flush properly
  • Is there a history of asbestos on heating and water pipes?
  • Are there any leaks in or around the sinks?
  • Do all the fire alarms work?

A key building regulation for UK homes is the Approved Document part G, this outlines the necessary water supply a building needs to be habitable. Our sister company Cook Brown Energy can provide you with a full Part G Water Calculation. Learn more about the water calculations and Cook Brown >


Interior and Roof

The interior of your house and the roof are more likely to have cosmetic issues than huge problems but it’s still worth doing a thorough inspection to make sure there aren’t any oversights that have been missed.

  • Is there adequate insulation?
  • Are there any unfamiliar smells around the house?
  • Is the flooring up to standard and does the carpet have any stains?
  • Does the loft have sufficient insulation?
  • Is the roof decaying and has it recently been repaired in any way?
  • Is there sufficient ventilation throughout the house?


Exterior and Structure

The exterior of a house and the structural integrity of the house can often be overlooked as the focus is usually on the interior, but issues with these aspects of the house can be detrimental in the long-term.

  • Are the gutters draining water properly?
  • Is the outdoor drainage working?
  • Are there any visible cracks in the foundation where it meets the walls?
  • Is the exterior paint up to standard?
  • Is there any pest damage?
  • Is the stucco damaged?
  • What condition is the chimney is?
  • Does the house look structurally sound?

It is also important to assess any extensions and permitted development builds have been built to building regulations. While some structures can be added to a property under permitted development, they still need to comply with all relevant building regulations.

Learn more about permitted development in the UK >


Home Inspections with Cook Brown Building Control

As a leading Approved Inspector providing a wide range of Building Control services across England and Wales, we work with our clients and design teams, covering most industry sectors, assisting with the delivery of successful projects from small residential schemes to large commercial and mixed-use developments.

This means we can assist you with comprehensive home inspection services for residential developments and support you through the property sale process by providing on how to proceed following a home inspection. Get in touch today and find out how we can help you ensure that your home is up to scratch.