One in three homes unsafe: Jim's Building Inspections

Jim’s Building Inspectors estimate that a serious safety hazard is present in one out of every three homes they inspect prior to purchase.

With more than 500 building inspections conducted each month nationally, the Jim’s inspectors are well placed to comment.

Alarmingly the recent survey results uncovered that the most common safety hazard was electrical.

“Whilst we always refer suspected electrical hazards onto a licensed electrician for further investigation, it is concerning that approximately 40 per cent of all safety hazards identified by our Inspectors are electrical in nature,” said Suzanne Commerford, Director of Jim’s Building Inspections.

Examples provided by inspectors included substandard wiring and works, absence of safety switches and aged, degraded or damaged electrical wiring, fittings and fixtures. 

“We commonly see poorly installed down lights in renovations and extensions that can be a potential fire hazard in roof spaces as well as older homes that simply have damaged and degraded wiring.”

Whilst this can represent a significant potential expense to the home buyer, combined with the inconvenience of needing to re-wire the home, more importantly it is a significant safety hazard to the occupants. Energy Safe Victoria, along with similar bodies interstate, advise home owners to have an electrical inspection on any home built before 1980 and Jim’s advises it’s a critical consideration prior to buying a home.

Fire Brigades respond to more than 300 domestic electrical fires each year, Energy Safe Victoria identified.  Many of these fires are caused by old wiring that has degraded or is unable to cope with the demands of modern electrical equipment including flat screen TVs, air conditioners and computers.

Contact with this type of aged and degraded wiring can be fatal and a man was killed in 2010, when he touched old split metal conduit while installing an aerial.  If you are buying a home that is more than 30years old you should ensure the wiring is checked.

“If you are considering buying a home, a building inspection is critical,” said Suzanne.  “Importantly consumers should be cautious as electrical wiring is generally excluded from routine pre-purchase inspections.  It’s why we offer premium inspection services where we ensure all electrical, plumbing and gas systems have been checked as well as the buildings overall condition and structures.”

For more information see the Energy Safe Victoria website or contact your local state authority.  For details of the Jim’s Building Inspections Australia survey call 131 546 or visit