No doubt about it, there is much excitement when one finally gets to move into a new house. Think about the ability to restyle your house just get your adrenaline going. After the renovation, time to move in? Nah. We spent hundreds of thousand, if not millions, owning a house, how could we simply move in with just our eyeball checks, without even seeking professional’s help in inspecting our house?
Building defects and renovation defects do not just happened to mass market housing, even luxury condos like Seaview is not spared. Building a new building involves many parties, it is so easy to push responsibilities here and there. It is thus, important to engage a professional inspection of the T.O.P unit before you start renovation and even moving in.
Even though we bought a resale unit, we are careful of these pitfalls too. You never know what kind of problems you may inherit (because sellers are not obliged to disclose) and the renovation woes due to poor workmanship. While those T.O.P units have 12-months defect liability period to rectify any defects, resale units do not have. Thus, it is very important for you to put in a clause on defects liability in your renovation contract to ensure all defects are rectified within a reasonable time and a warranty period is in place. For your reference, we have a clause that allows us to hold back 10% of the renovation contract value until all rectification works are done of satisfactory level and a warranty period of 2 years.
We do not trust our own eyes because we are not trained to watch out for all these. Let’s be very honest, how many carpentry works or electrical works have we overseen from beginning to completion compared to those contractors. Unless you are in this trade, the contractors can conceal or not tell you what you don’t know. In other words, you REALLY don’t know what you don’t know. Besides, there are numerous items to check, defects checking is a very tedious and labourious task, hence, the chance of overlooking some defects are high. So we decided to let the professional do the inspection instead. After all, they do this everyday, they have seen those carpentry/electrical work more than us in our lifetime. They have the professional tools to do the proper checks, we don’t.
I know Wee Kwang of Absolute Inspection through a workshop where he was giving a talk on Property Inspection last year. It was through the talk that I noticed his honesty and professionalism. I hope I had attended such workshop earlier so that I could avoid my earlier pitfalls. Alas, better late than never, I supposed. This time when we moved, we sought his help naturally.
To be honest, no building or renovation work is perfect. There are bound to be cosmetic defects and functional defects. I am mentally prepared to accept a certain level of cosmetic defects. But I never expect a 24-page defect list. If there are 5 defect items in one page, there are more than 100 defects in my newly renovated house! There is no way I can identify all those by myself!
The team from Absolute Inspection did the inspection in a systematic way: from room to room; item to item. They categorise all the items in a house into 7 main groups: Floors, Internal Walls, Ceiling, Doors, Windows, Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) Fittings (e.g. power points, switches, air-con units, taps, water closets, etc), Other Components (e.g. wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, shoe racks, staircase railings, etc).
Wee Kwang shared with me that there are many homeowners who do their own checks only to realise the defects a lot later and having to bear the rectification cost themselves (living with the inconvenience included). For example, the contractors will hide the cosmetic defects of shelves so that owners will not spot them. Look at this photo.
When you flipped each and every shelf over, you will see lots of unacceptable conditions. And more often these days due to cost cutting, wardrobe hanging bars do not come with reinforcement plate in the centre. Without that, the wardrobe bars cannot withstand heavy load and will sag and give way.
Doing this thorough inspection with Absolute Inspection gave us the opportunity to rectify the defects earlier which would otherwise be complicated to rectify in the future when problems compounded. Some defects like window panels not installed properly, hollow wall tiles at high areas, incorrect internal wiring, etc., can compromise safety. Having a professional body to check gave us this safety assurance, and ensure us the money paid to the developers and contractors are worth their value.
Knowing that not all companies offering home defects inspection have technical and engineering expertise to carry out this task as it is not regulated by Building and Construction Authority nor accredited by any authority, it is thus important to ensure the personnel carrying the task out have these expertise. Wee Kwang is formally trained and has the necessary skills and expertise to carry out this task. His company has also received many credible reviews. Do your research properly and look beyond the cost. Your house is worth more than just saving a couple of hundreds.