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Collapse of houses: does the new home inspection respond?

The month of August was disastrous for some families from the and neighborhoods who saw their homes collapse, losing many of their belongings and memories, and having to new home inspection face a future full of uncertainty. In both cases, the Technical Building Inspection had been passed in the building in 2012: it turned out that there were defects to be rectified in the , but no structural problem, the collapse of a pillar being the cause of the collapse. In , in 2014, the origin of the incident being ‘material fatigue’. In one case, the insurer has assumed coverage as an exceptional case, and for social reasons, and in the other, it has denied it.

But, if the defects were of such caliber that they led to the collapse of the buildings, were they not so evident that they should have been detected in the Building Inspection? The new home inspection truth is that in AUSTRALIA, we already examined this question in December 2010 with the survey, “ Once the Technical Building Inspection is approved, defects appear that should have been included in it. 

What actions and / or responsibilities can they give rise to and against whom? ” .The opinions were mainly two; There could be a contractual responsibility of the technicians, with 3 respondents in favor, or a patrimonial responsibility of the Administration and a contractual responsibility of the technicians, with 2 responses in this regard. They are summarized below for not lengthening this post too much, but a full reading of the document is recommended to note all the nuances.

In the first case,  contractual responsibility of the technicians, it  is understood that since the person new home inspection obliged to present the report is the owner through technicians hired by him, what will exist is a contractual relationship for the leasing of the work. This, even if it is a legal obligation, whose development is subject to a certain administrative control, and even if said professional had to be chosen from a certain list or catalog.

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Of course, proof of the existence of the defect to the Building Inspection will be necessary, which could not be detected with ordinary diligence, and that, by not stating the defects new home inspection in it, the necessary repair and conservation measures were not adopted in time , causing damage. If it had been necessary to carry out special tests that were beyond the content or scope of the contracted inspection, the technician would be exempt for hidden defects.

But, regarding third-party third parties, the fact that the technician should or should not have detected said new home inspection deficiency, and even if the corresponding inspection was done or not, will not be enforceable, since in any case the owner of the building, without prejudice that, later, he can repeat against the technician, he will have the obligation to repair the damages caused to those people.

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In the second case,  patrimonial responsibility of the Administration and contractual of the technicians , the respondents believe that since the technical inspection of the building must be presented before the corresponding administrative body that new home inspection approves an inspection that does not meet the necessary requirements, for obviating pathologies of the building that should have been revealed in it, there will be a responsibility of said administration.

Thus, after an new home inspection , the result of the inspection is recorded in the “Technical inspection report”. If it is unfavorable, the necessary repairs will have to be made; but if it is favorable and later defects appear, it will be necessary to check whether they appear ex and could not be discernible at the time of the inspection due to their surprise appearance – which would be proved by the corresponding expert evidence; or could be easily detected. 

And consequently, a responsibility could be derived from the person in charge of the inspection due to the omission of the specific mention of the repair or conservation conditions not carried out due to the absence of an unfavorable report, and analyzing the causes that would have prevented or mitigated the existence of the defects if their predictability had been detected in time, that would have avoided or shortened the consequences of the defects that had to be detected. In which case, there would also be liability derived from the Building Inspection and its authors for the omission in the report.

Those that if it is clear in both cases, new home inspection is that in case of exemption from responsibility of the technicians or the administration, the obligation to maintain the buildings is their owners, so it can be reached that in addition to losing the house without having finished paying the mortgage, it is necessary to assume the cost of the repairs of the neighboring adjoining houses, which are fully entitled to claim the damages caused therein.

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