Performing a building defects inspection during vacant possession

Contributed by Canaan Building Inspection Sdn Bhd director Joshua Kang

joshua kang

It is common for us property buyers to feel enthralled by the design and quality of work displayed by a show unit. However, the sad reality is that the actual unit delivered could sometimes be very different compared to what we have seen in the exhibition.

Vacant Possession (VP)

Under normal circumstances, a Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) will be issued before Vacant Possession. The units have to undergo a series of inspections and approval by various departments and authorities before being officially approved by the Superintending Officer (SO) of a project.

Once the units are ready, home buyers will be notified to take vacant possession of their units at a specified slot or schedule that have been fixed by the developer. Usually, the representatives of the developer will arrange the appointments for the VP and hand over the units in batches.

The presentation of keys, verification of power points, materials specification and defects inspection are the conventional processes during VP.

To Read More: Standard procedures during Vacant Possession of a new house 

To Read More: Ask Me Anything: How much does building inspection cost?

To Read More: Ask Me Anything: What are the extremely dangerous problems to rectify during building inspection?

To Read More: Building defects and shoddy workmanship affect the property value and rental income

Defects Liability Period (DLP)

Defects Liability Period is defined as a warranty period from the date when we receive

delivery of the vacant possession for the unit. During this crucial period, the developer is responsible for fixing any defects that might be attributed to shoddy workmanship or defective materials.

Typically, the DLP period is 24 months from the date of vacant possession. However, we should refer to the Sales & Purchase Agreement (SPA) for the actual DLP time frame as it might be different, especially for those properties under the commercial title.

Performing the Defects Inspection

We have to accept that no buildings are defect free. Massive construction processes and the involvement of various trade of human labours during construction have caused the “imperfection” in the works delivered.

Therefore, prudent home buyers should exercise their due diligence during the vacant possession.

Below are the recommended steps to be taken in carrying out the defects inspection:

 

Step 1 – Suitable Date and Sufficient Time

Never rush the joint inspection with the developer’s representative during the vacant possession. It is strongly recommended to arrange a day where you are properly prepared for the defects inspections.

For a routine inspection, a few hours will be needed. Arrange for a day with good weather as the presence of light will allow us better visibility when inspecting the building. You wouldn’t want to examine your building on a dark and cloudy day.

Step 2 – Preparation of Tools

To ensure the effectiveness of the building inspection, it is prudent to prepare the relevant tools before the commencement of the site inspection. Here are some of the items to be considered:

  1. a) Floor Plan (unit floor plan)
  2. b) Torch Light
  3. c) Hardboard/paper holder
  4. d) Stickers (with different colours)
  5. e) Ladder
  6. f) Camera
  7. g) Measuring tape
  8. h) Spirit level
  9. i) Tapping rod (for hollowness checking)
  10. j) L-square ruler

Step 3 – The 6+1 formula

The 6+1 formula represents the scope or area required for inspection. There are six architectural finishes, one mechanical and electrical (M&E) finishes needed to be inspected in a location. The six architectural finishes are floor, wall, ceiling, door, window and fixtures. The one M&E finishes are referring to the basic M&E fittings such as electrical power points, switches, shower mixer, floor trap, water tap and others. It is recommended to move the inspection systematically from location to location using the 6+1 formula.

Step 4 – Marking & Identification of Defects

Normally, we will commence with the flooring inspection and follow up with the other components as stated in the formula.

Every defect found will be marked on the floor plan and a sticker pasted on site for the ease of defects rectification by the developer. For record keeping purposes, it is recommended to take a photo of every defect that has been detected as evidence.

Meanwhile, the Construction Industry Standard (CIS7) can be used as a reference in justifying the acceptability of the work. (We will explain more about the acceptable & non-acceptable standard in CIS7 in the next coming post)

Step 5 – Report Submission

Once all the defects have been discovered and marked accordingly, we can begin to prepare and compile a report for submission to the developer. It is ideal to attach the photos taken from our previous session to the report for supplementary purposes.

As highlighted in my earlier article, the developer has to respond and commence the rectification works within 30 days from the date of submission. Therefore, it is recommended to get the developer or a representative to acknowledge that they have received the defects report that we have submitted.

Want to know more? Download the “Quality Guidebook for Homeowners” by CIDB Malaysia here

About the Contributor

Joshua Kang is the Director of Canaan Building Inspection Sdn Bhd. A certified QLASSIC Trainer and Assessor, he is also a Registered Building Surveyor, RISM and a member of interNACHI.

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