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The difference between an EQC assessment and a pre-purchase inspection

An EQC assessment can tell you about previously discovered earthquake damage. But a pre-purchase inspection can tell you more of what you need to know when buying or selling a home.

EQC assessments have a very specific and limited purpose, which is to record the natural disaster damage that has occurred to residential buildings (as defined in the EQC Act(external link)). This can sometimes mean that not all buildings are covered. EQC uses this assessment to create a scope of works that details the strategy for repairing the natural disaster damage and the cost of that repair.

Like any insurance claim, it’s the responsibility of the homeowner to lodge a claim and point out any omissions from that claim. It’s also their responsibility to get independent advice around the damage and to carry out pre-purchase due diligence when buying a home.

If there’s an EQC scope of works created for a property that you’re interested in buying and this was used to settle the EQC claim, we recommend cross-checking it with a building inspection check sheet.

An EQC assessment is not a substitute for a pre-purchase inspection, and should not be relied on by homebuyers when doing due diligence as part of a potential property purchase.

A pre-purchase inspection is much broader in scope and often begins with a builder's report. It might also include other specialist reports from engineers, surveyors, electricians, plumbers and more. These reports can help explain the general condition of the property and identify any potential issues with the property.

They can report on any damage to all buildings (as requested) whatever the cause. For example; the condition of and/or damage to the property may be from age, wear and tear, gradual deterioration, construction issues, natural disaster and, other sudden events.

Pre-purchase inspection reports can also help identify things such as:

  • additions or alterations to the original consented buildings (which can be compared with the Council file and LIM report to check for any unconsented/permitted works)
  • deferred maintenance that may lead to future issues and costly repairs
  • work that may be necessary to bring a home up to standard for example, re-wiring or re-plumbing, to obtain finance or insurance for the property
  • any safety concerns e.g. unsafe works or hazardous materials
  • historical issues e.g. settlement and subsidence
    construction issues and defects e.g. weathertightness

We recommend that you use an accredited property inspector to produce your pre-purchase building inspection.