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6 Common Property Defects and How to Spot Them


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Finally moved to your long-awaited, newly developed property and still on cloud nine? Don’t worry, you’ve got enough time to savour the honeymoon period. Developers are responsible for any property defect found in the units, the project and common property area for typically 12 months – what’s known as the Defects Liability Period (DLP). Within that period, you can report defects due to defective workmanship or materials not in line with what was promised in the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA); and have the developer sort it out at no cost.

We understand that home inspecting can be an intimidating task if you’re not sure where to look. Fret not, we’ll guide you on how to get started. Bring along your SPA, pen and paper to jot this down before submitting your defect claim.

What are the common property defects and how to spot them?

1. Water leakages or flooding after heavy rains

Wet areas that are exposed to water splashing or direct wetting are commonly installed with discharge outlets and provided with water inlet supply. If you notice leakages from the walls or ceiling, it’s possible that the gradient was not laid to fall in accordance with the specification and towards the discharge outlet. Insufficient gradient, uneven laying of tiles and lippage in the wet area may lead to flooding.

2. Leaking and blocked pipes

Leaks may include water pipes or drain pipes which suddenly flood your bathroom or kitchen. Open all the taps and showers to check that the water is connected and that there are no leaky pipes. Observe whether the water takes time to drain from the bathroom floor or sink. and check also the kitchen sink for the draining time.

3. Flooring has an inconsistent layout, de-bonded tiling and uneven gaps between tiles

Inconsistencies in the layout are easy to spot, this defect happens if layout planning didn’t consider the size of tiles used and shape of the area to be tiled, any hollowness and cracks were not rectified prior to tiling work or the floor evenness exceeded the tolerance of more than 3mm gap over 2m. The grout that is used to fill up the gaps between tiles should have suitable fineness and consistency, defects occur when the selection of grout is not suitable with the tile and adhesive.

4. Rotting/discoloured timber

Defects in timber can be due to natural forces, fungi, insects and external forces. Spot any discolouration in the form of greyish-brown or white in the wooden carpentry used in your property. Watch out for any disfigured timber planks on your walls or ceiling, as well as insects such as termites, beetles or marine borers. Potential pest infestation aside, don’t forget to check for water stains which indicates that it has been in contact with water for some time.

5. Cracks on the walls

Cracks could be the first signs of a major structural issue. Larger cracks that are cause for concern include when two sides of a wall are at differing heights such as when doors and windows have gaps around their frames or the cracks in question are wider than 5mm. Zig-zag or stepped cracks are also indicators of possible structural defects or they could even indicate weaknesses in the building’s foundation.

6. Overloaded Electrical Systems

If your home’s fuses are blowing or the breakers are continually tripping, there may be inadequate wiring to the appliances or circuit breaker. Aside from the obvious appearance of loose or unsecured wirings in the fixtures, flickering lights are definitive indicators of a faulty lighting system.

Pro tip: take photos or videos of the defects during your home inspection. While it is important for contractors and developers to be responsive to your complaints, as a homeowner, you also need to manage your expectations in identifying genuine defects. Now that you are equipped in spotting common defects, it’s time to set forth on a fruitful home inspection!

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