Standards and Ethics
The Institute is committed to the highest standards of professional conduct on the part of its Members, who shall at all times, particularly on site, or elsewhere on duty, conduct themselves in such a way that the respect, reputation, honour and dignity of the Member and the Institute is upheld and enhanced.
a) Instructions received and accepted by members should either be received in writing from the client and/or confirmed back in writing in sufficient detail in order to avoid any misinterpretation.
b) Members’ professional reports should be relevant, accurate, and address the requirements and needs of the client.
c) Members should define their fee basis prior to accepting instructions for an appointment.
d) The Institute recommends that members utilise Consulting Agreements.
3 CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Members must not involve themselves, or alternatively must be prepared to remove themselves, as practitioners or employees in any situation having a potential or actual conflict of interest.
No Member shall :
(a) accept any secret trade or other discount, commission or allowance in connection with any work execution of which they are engaged;
(b)after acceptance of an engagement, terminate the contract without just cause thereby failing to fulfil their professional obligations; or
(c) accept engagement as a building inspector and divulge to another person, firm or company any information of a confidential nature relating to the business activities of the client; or
(d) conduct themselves in such a manner as to prejudice the profession of buildinginspectors, or the status or reputation of Members of the Institute; or
(e) obtain registration by misrepresentation as to their eligibility or qualifications; or
(f) be guilty of reprehensible conduct either in the practice of their profession or at a meeting of the Institute; or
(g) use any professional designation by description or initials to which they are not entitled; or
(h) be entitled to remain a member having been convicted of a serious criminal offence.
Any breach of this Code of Ethics shall render the Member committing the breach liable to the disciplinary procedures of the Institute.
The Executive, in dealing with any matters deemed to require disciplinary action, may in its sole discretion, impose a fine in respect thereof not exceeding $1,000.00 (one thousand dollars), or may order the expulsion of the Member from the Institute.
The Executive’s decision shall be final and binding in all matters.
THE INSPECTING OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES
This standard applies to all inspections and represents the views of the Executive of the Institute and it is recommended that this Standard be adopted by members as a principle of “best practice” for the inspecting of all residential properties.
The Executive acknowledge and endorse the NEW ZEALAND STANDARD NZS 4306 2005 RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY INSPECTION and regard this document as supporting this Regulation and providing further detail in establishing minimum standards of inspecting and reporting, unless specifically contracted otherwise.
Where appropriate the Executive may use NZS 4306 in support of Regulation 04 when assessing claims against members as to the public and industry expectations of reasonable skill and care in the inspecting and reporting of property.
1.0 The INSPECTORS Role
1.1 Inspect and Advise
To inspect and provide advice with regard to items of concern or where problems have been identified to the brief of request by the client.
1.2 Duty of Care
To understand the requirements of “duty of care” and to highlight any factors that could affect the property that were visible at the time of the inspection.
1.3 Written Report
To provide a written report highlighting concerns or problems identified.
2.0 The INSPECTOR’S Inspection
2.1 Method of Inspection
The Inspector should undertake a visual inspection of the areas concerned where identified in the brief. The inspector should check if there are other factors that are materially affecting the matters required.
Where the inspector is unable to carry out destructive testing and analysis, they may provide opinion on the likely conditions, causes and other such areas based on the available information.
2.2 Pre-purchase/Condition Inspections
When a pre-purchase/condition inspection is undertaken care should be taken by the inspector to identify the method and type of inspection required. Where there is no specific brief to the contrary the inspector should examine the exterior, interior, services along with the roof, sub-floor spaces, roof space or any other accessible parts of the building.
If the building inspector is on site with the owners of the property and is reporting to them, then it is reasonable to ask or expect the owner to provide or give permission for the removal of shelves or any other physical item that prevents access into roof spaces or alternatively floor spaces. If the property is owned or tenanted by a third party then the inspector can only be expected to use the access provided it is free and clear for use. The inspector should make every endeavour to pre-warn the person giving access that this type of accessibility may be required.
The inspector shall not move, adjust, relocate or transfer any furniture, fittings, personal effects or belongings of any tenant, owner or client unless specifically approved by the affected party.
It is the inspector’s responsibility to comply with the requirements of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 at all times. If accessibility to areas such as roof or ceiling spaces are, in the opinion of the inspector, considered hazardous at the time of the inspection, then this shall be stated in the report and an opinion based analysis of the affected areas shall be made.
2.4 Proof or Opinion
The nature of the report should be undertaken by the inspector in a manner where there is a burden upon the inspector to find proof to sustain opinion rather than merely having the reliance on opinions. This may require requests for destructive testing, that is, the removal of wall panels or some other element. If such a request is declined then care must be taken by the inspector to identify and include that information in their report. The risk of making opinion based on assumption, is that it could easily be wrong, however, at times this may have to occur and again this should be clearly highlighted as an opinion based on an assumption rather than fact, one that may need to be altered or changed if further facts come to light.
2.5 LIM’s or Council File
The inspector is not required to ask for a LIM report, nor required to inspect Council or Territorial Authority’s files unless there is specific instruction to do so. If there are factors that highlight themselves during the inspection that may require further checking through Council records that matter should be handled by a notation within the report.
3.0 The INSPECTOR’S Report
3.1 Type of Format
The inspector should supply a report in a written format, it may be permissible that such a format could be in the form of a pre-endorsed form such as check list format provided that the comments made are clear and legible.
3.2 True Copy
The inspector should keep a true copy of his report together with any notes taken on site for a period of (6) six years to be in line with our standard Conditions of Engagement, or any other period that may be included in the Conditions of Engagement used by a member.
3.3 Basic Notes
All reports should be dated, should note the type of access given and should clearly state what instructions were given to the inspector for the inspection.
3.4 Logical Layout
The layout or form of the report should be logical and easily understood.
3.5 Matters Arising
Any matters arising such as factors mentioned above with regard to the inspection should be identified and carried forward to the report.
3.6 Type of Inspection
There should be a statement within the opening or body of the report that clearly highlights the type of inspection requested and carried out, that is visual, instrument based, destructive, or for instance, merely a preliminary “look and view”.
The report should clearly state the property address and to whom the report is addressed to.
3.8 Directing Reports
If the inspector is informed that the report is also required for meeting the condition for a ‘Sale and Purchase Agreement’ or lending situation then either the solicitor or the lender should be identified within the report.
3.9 Incomplete Inspection
If any part of the inspection was not able to be carried out for whatever reason then this should be clearly stated in the report.
3.10 Clearly State Source of Information
If any information is given or provided and has been relied upon within the report then it should be clearly stated as to its source and the type of information.
3.11 Matters of Concern
If the inspector notes a matter of concern, they have the option to include that as a comment at the end of the report even though it may not be strictly material to the visit or alternatively should write separately to the report, to their party informing them of their concern with another matter.
If there are other professionals required then the report should highlight and recommend those professions e.g. an engineer, a geo-technical consultant, or a specialised drainage inspector. This will also apply to other specialist services personnel such as electricians, plumbers and the like.
3.13 Specific as to Content
The report should be clearly specific as to the items that it does cover so that there is no doubt as to the manner and type of inspection undertaken.
4.0 The INSPECTOR’S Record of INSPECTION
4.1 The inspector should make and retain legible notes as to their findings and particularly the limits of the inspection and the circumstances under which it was carried out.
5.1 If the inspector has undertaken a formal report that is not made in accordance with this practice standard they should give reasons for their departure.
A pre-purchase/condition report can also be known as a builders report and are produced for clients involved in the sale and purchase of properties. These reports can also be used to assess maintenance requirements of buildings and to determine if more detailed destructive investigations are required.
As pre-purchase/condition reports involve non-destructive investigations, they rely heavily on the knowledge, training and experience of the inspector to accurately identify any hidden faults, defects and compliance related anomalies that may exist.
To undertake this work, the Building Inspector must, therefore, be fully aware of the increasingly complex types of dwellings being built in New Zealand, and understand the inherent risks associated with that complexity.
They require an intimate knowledge of the building products, systems, design techniques and industry standards that are being used in New Zealand, as well as having a sound knowledge of the local environment in which the building is situated. Local conditions, such as wind, earthquake risk, geothermal situations and coastal areas can have a marked effect on the performance of a building.