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How to see your home through a home inspector’s eyes

What you are about to witness is real. Gauteng Home Inspections visited two newly built homes in the same complex just outside of Pretoria and documented incidences of oversight, shoddy workmanship and complete disregard for building standards and architecturally drawn plans.

According to Marissia Robus of Gauteng Home Inspections the findings from these inspections resulted in the clients cancelling the sales and their commercial bank actually cancelling the bonds. “I am doing more inspections later this week and the weekend,” says Robus. “What the builder tried to get away with is disgusting and shocking.”

Robus says that the best thing is to get a certified home inspector to assist you before you sign off on anything. A great alternative is to arm yourself with the book The Proud Homeownerauthored by Albert van Wyk.

If you are buying, building or doing alterations look out for these potential issues.



Cement left on bricks like here on the driveway could cause problems. You should ask for it to be cleaned and have any bricks replaced that may have been stained as a result.



The finishing done on curbs is often not neat.



If the threshold at the garage door is constructed incorrectly as shown here water will get in during a storm.



Watch out for chipped plaster at garage doors. In this case the garage door needs to be adjusted as it does not stay closed and opens by itself.



Check for poor plaster work done on external walls. This was observed on the garage wall.



Always ensure that expansion joints are completed properly. Here the expansion joint between the garage and screen wall was very poorly done and must be replaced.



Boundary walls can also be impacted by poor workmanship and expansion joints done incorrectly.



Check all exterior walls for signs of poor workmanship. Here the screen wall at the washing line clearly displays shoddy work.



Here is another example of disregard: A broken brick used in construction of a pillar.



Measure your walls! In this case the estate specified a boundary wall of 2.1m. As can be seen they only measured 1.7m.



Internal boundary walls should be a specified 1.5m but only measure 1.12m.



Ensure that all building at your home takes place with the approval of qualified professionals. This wall was built too high with no pillars to support it, representing a safety risk. It was definitely not designed by an engineer.



Check the slope of your land. In this case the land slopes towards the wall. There is clearly no provision for storm water to exit the boundary walls. The serious risk is that rain water will pond and push the wall over.



Look for wet ground around your water outlets and drains. The significant wetness shown here suggests a possible leak.



The plaster here shows signs of damage and suggests a leaking pipe.



Rainwater channels should be installed at the gutters. This specification has been neglected in this case.



Check your roof for tiles that are out of position and too close to the gutter as it will allow rainwater to spill over the gutter. This roof needs to be serviced and cracked or chipped tiles replaced.



Cracked dagha between the roof ridges will let water in causing roof leaks.



This manhole has been left too high and makes for a nice chair or table.



The inspection eye cover should be lowered.

Windows and window frames


In general you should check that the window frames of your home are in the condition that you would expect. In this case the chips and poor paint jobs found is just not what you would expect of a newly completed house.



Ensure that there is sealant between the window frame and the brickwork. As is the case here with no sealant present water will get in and cause damage on the inside.



This shows an example of a twisted window frame causing the window to not be airtight.



Another example of a twisted window frame.



Ensure that all window latches are securely fitted. In this case it is not, and is causing problems when closing the window.



Ensure that the grass level and your patio is not the same height. In this case the grass must be lowered or risk sand and grass washing onto the patio.



Once again the case of cement being left on the bricks. Always ask for it to be cleaned and for the bricks to be replaced if it was stained as a result.



Ensure that your exterior doors are correctly fitted. Here the gap under the patio door is too large, the wooden weatherstrip serves absolutely no purpose – water will stream in during a storm.



Check the finishes. This patio cornice has been poorly finished.



Another example of poor workmanship – white paint splatter on the patio cornice.



Check for damage to any building materials. This clearly shows damage to the sheeting covering the patio.



Just take note of basic indications of poor workmanship. This braai has had to be repaired previously but still shows that it was done by an unprofessional builder with the supervisor turning a blind eye.



Another example of damage caused during the building process. This new door has a chip. This is unacceptable and not at all aligned to what you would expect of a new home.



Paint splatter on another door once more indicates disregard.



The fire door was left with a mark on it and does not have a self-closing mechanism.



If the striker plate is not correctly placed (as shown here) the door will not close securely. This striker plate must be adjusted.



Check for plaster that is out of plumb as shown here.



Patches bubbling as shown here are likely to start peeling and will need to be repaired.



Cracks such as these should only appear much later. It is therefore alarming that it is present here and is most likely due to a problem with the quality, quantity or mix of plaster or the cement that was used. The crack shown here by the bedroom window is indicative of an inexperienced bricklayer who did not know how to tie in the brickwork once the window was fitted.



Cracks at plugs or basins indicate that the pipes were not fitted deep enough. Until this is corrected the cracks will continue to appear.



If your built-in cupboards’ hinges are not correctly fitted the doors will not close properly, as is the case here.



Yet more proof that attention to detail of the finishes used is important. The tiles used here are of poor quality and shows a large variation in colour.



Here different coloured tiles were used at the step to the kitchen.



Always check the way in which internal doors have been fitted. This kitchen door was clearly poorly fitted and should be redone.



Ensure that the fittings in your kitchen and bathroom have been done according to specification. In this unit shown here some of the kitchen cupboards and granite tops were not installed.



Another photo detailing the missing cupboards and granite tops.


Staircase not built according to plan and regulations. Tiling is of poor quality. No handrails are present thought they were specified on plans.

Staircase not built according to plan and regulations. Tiling is of poor quality. No handrails are present though they were specified on plans.


Skirting on staircase was poorly done.

Skirting on staircase was poorly done.


Rise in staircase should not be higher than 17cm. It varies from 16cm to 20cm. Last rise is 20cm.

Rise in staircase should not be higher than 17cm. It varies from 16cm to 20cm. Last rise is 20cm.


Staircase poorly built. Treads and rises vary in size and height.

Staircase poorly built. Treads and rises vary in size and height, the skirting looks skew and some of the tiles are not neatly installed.


In an attempt to get the bed upstairs a portion of the first-floor slab was chipped away.

In an attempt to get the bed upstairs a portion of the first-floor slab was chipped away.


Bath not installed squarely.

Bath not installed squarely.


Crack in corner of second bathroom.

Crack in the corner of the second bathroom.


Guest toilet is a disaster. The hole from the latest repair was just not fixed.

Guest toilet is a disaster. The hole from the latest repair was just not fixed.

Plan specified towel rail of 1.2m for both bathrooms. In each bathroom it is shorter. This one is in the main bathroom.

Plan specified towel rail of 1.2m for both bathrooms. In each bathroom it is shorter. This one is in the main bathroom.


Repair to basin in guest bathroom not completed.

Repair to the basin in the guest bathroom was just not completed.


Shower door in main bathroom doesn't close properly

Shower door in the main bathroom doesn’t close properly; is not flush.


Shower floor tiled by amateur who could not continue pattern of mosaic

Shower floor tiled by an amateur who could not continue with the pattern of the mosaic.

Shower in bathroom 2 doesn't clsoe properly

Shower in the second bathroom also doesn’t close properly.


Shower in bathroom 2 is leaking at fixed panel

Shower in the second bathroom is leaking at the fix panel.


Tiling at recess in bathroom 2 is done poorly

Poorly done tiling in the recess in the second bathroom.

Contact Gauteng Home Inspections or order  The Proud Homeowner


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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