“Once you see, you cannot ‘un-see’.”
The husband and I could not believe our eyes. What was our seemingly pristine perfect new home (from a new development) a moment or so ago, is now riddled with coloured tags of blue, pink and some white. Different colours depicting different types of defects found everywhere! Gosh!
Full of Defects!
From the perfectly painted living room walls to the bedrooms, even the back of the refrigerator and top of the shelf doors, room doors and even the peep hole, there are small tags and stickers everywhere. The hubby joked that it looked like the place was riddled with bullets! Joke aside, as homeowners, we were not smiling for long. We were taken by surprise that this newly built home is full of defects, even before we moved in.
So what we home owners can’t see with our untrained eyes, Singapore’s only certified home defects inspector – Wee Kwang of Absolute Inspection couldspot with ease. Oone thing for sure, once we see it, we cannot ‘unsee’. We have to rectify all these defects before we move in.
Not so Perfect after all!
So here it is, highlights of the defects that totally escaped our untrained eyes! While it was relatively easy to see the wall cracks, these, however, could have easily been omitted if we had not engaged a defects inspector:
- Tons of wall gaps
- Deep scratches on our window and balcony glass
- Missing screws at concealed hinges and joints supporting the doors
- Misaligned wardrobe and shelving doors
- Door frame laminates that are ‘popping’
- Wet stains on parquet flooring which has dried-up and suggest leakage
- Toilet flushing system that is not working correctly (no difference between half and full flush)
- Deep scratches in door peep hole
- Improper tile grouting
- Window locking mechanism that are not properly aligned (some straight, some bent)
- Sliding doors that didn’t close and lock well
- Patches on our new parquet flooring
- Cracks on the wardrobe laminate
What was ‘amazing’ was that when Wee Kwang presented the defects report to the developer in our presence, there was absolutely no disputes from them whatsoever! Instead, they promptly arranged for rectification works to be carried out. It helps that being the only certified home defects inspector in Singapore, Wee Kwang’s reports are respected and can be used in court.
However, not all homeowners are that ‘lucky’ according to Wee Kwang. He has encountered homeowners who only discovered major defects after moving-in. These include:
- Hollow tiles on the floor and at wall side that may lead to tiles ‘popping’
- Bathrooms and balcony without proper gradient, so water ponding may occur
- Faulty electrical points
- Faulty data points
- Faulty plumbing hidden by false ceiling
- Incomplete application of sealant in ‘unseen’ places, leading to leaking
- Sink and drains that are choked with debris
- Home appliances that do not work well
- Leaking sealant on windows and doors
Some of these disputes have degenerated into costly, long-drawn legal suits for the homeowners.
Who. What. When. Where. How.
What is the process of a home defects inspection like and who are the parties involved?
Typically, the defects inspection of a new home should start as soon as the homeowner obtains the keys. Depending on the defects spotted, the rectification works may take a month or two. Ideally, once the defects are rectified then the renovation works can begin.
The homeowner should be around when the defects inspection takes place. Once completed, a report is filed by Wee Kwang. This report is then given to the developer. The developer sets a meeting with the homeowner and the defects inspector to go through the defects report item by item. The defects report is accepted and signed by all parties. The rectification works by the main contractor would then begin.
After the rectification works, Wee Kwang and his team will meet up with the developer and main contractor again to go through the original defects list. If all the items are rectified, the process stops here,. Otherwise a new list of outstanding defects (or newer ones, if any) are compiled, agreed and worked upon. The process goes on until the defects are all rectified or you the owner agrees to accept the defects as they are.
In short, the engagement of a home defects inspector can involve at least 3 inspection meetings. From our experience, the first defects inspection lasted 2.5 hours as Wee Kwang and his team checked every inch of the home thoroughly, literally leaving no stones un-turned. The subsequent ones were about 45 minutes each.
“My ‘ID’ can do it” and other Myths:
After using Absolute Inspection’s services, we were able to experience first-hand the benefits of using a certified home defects inspector’s services and uncovered some myths:
- “All newly built homes are ready to move in.”
Nothing can be further from the truth. There will be defects in new homes due mainly either to human error or differing standards of workmanship. As a result, there will be defects that are ‘hidden’ from the untrained eye.
- “My ID firm or contractor can help me identify these defects”
The idea of having an external home defects inspector is to audit the work of the main contractor. Like most audits, it is best that the inspectors are external parties that are impartial and employed by the homeowner.
Sometimes, ID firms may be pressured not to report certain defects as rectification works may delay the start (and end) of renovation hence delay payment for the IDs.
Furthermore, Absolute Inspection, being the only certified inspection experts certified by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), is the ONLY organization that can product a report which is admissible in the court.
- All faults are cosmetic and superficial. Can be ‘covered up’ by paint or renovation works.
Again, nothing can be further from the truth. Defects and faults come in all ‘shapes and ‘sizes’. While some may be ‘cosmetic’ in nature, others may result in leakages, flooding or even things dropping down from ceiling etc. If these defects are not detected earlier and rectified accordingly, it may cause homeowners more headaches in the future.
- I can rectify these after renovation. Move in first.
Like renovation works, defects rectification can involve extensive retrofitting and removal of fixtures. Some may even involve hacking and replacing of tiles. This means that any rectification works done AFTER the homeowner has moved in can be very dusty and disruptive for the entire household. It’s best to get all defects rectified before moving in.
- All defects inspectors are the same.
No. Absolute Inspection is the only qualified and certified inspection expert in Singapore. Currently, they are the only company that can product a report which can used used in court should there be a defects dispute.
From what we know, sometimes ID first or contractors may employ engineering or architectural students to do a simple defects check but their reports do not carry the same professional weight as that of Absolute Inspection.
- Defects inspection are costly. I can save the money for my renovations.
Defects inspection is an indispensable expense homeowners should not stinge on. If you have to rectify the home defects AFTER moving in, you might incur greater costs, and greater inconveniences. We were very pleasantly surprised to see Absolute Inspection‘s home inspection fees very reasonable and affordable. For a 3-bedder apartment like ours, Wee Kwang only charges S$500 for a Comprehensive Package. For S$500, the peace of mind we get, with all defect rectification works taken care of by certified professionals, we think it’s money well-spent.
Peace of Mind: Engage an External Home Defects Inspector:
Getting a new home is exciting. Despite what we naively believe, a new home (let alone a resale one), is far from perfect. Miscommunication between designers, contractors, subcontractors (and their workers) are inevitable and along with that, come defects. Some are human error while some are unfortunately, due to a low standard of workmanship. Whatever it is, we as homeowners bear the brunt of these inconveniences.
New homes, whether a new development or resale, usually come with a period of warranty. It is important that these defects are spotted early and rectified before the warranty ends. Aside from inconveniences, it will also avoid costly legal tussles.
Our homes are places where we will live, grow up and grow old. What happens at home will impact the mood, the lifestyle and even the health of our loved ones. For us, what was considered a ‘cost’ is actually a small investment to put into the largest investment – our family home, so that we can have a peace of mind and build tons of happy memories when we finally move in.
More about Absolute Inspection:
We are very happy with the prompt and professional services offered by Wee Kwang and his team at Absolute Inspection. We are thankful that with his report, defects in our new home have been properly rectified. We can now look forward to commence the next stage of our new home journey: renovations!
About Absolute Inspection:
Absolute Inspection offers professional home inspection services to owners of new, resale properties & renovation works in Singapore and Malaysia. Led by Wee Kwang, a former BCA Scholar & BCA Deputy Director who has been featured on TV and the News, their inspection team is known for their quality of inspection and dedication to their service delivery. To date, they have conducted more than 18,000 inspections in all 28 districts in Singapore. With their wealth of experience in inspecting residential properties, they are confident of helping every home owner.
Visit Absolute Inspection‘s website to request for an inspection or Whatsapp Wee Kwang’s mobile (+65 91512312).