The Most Common Building Defects in New Homes

New Construction House Framing
We often assume that older homes are more likely to harbour hidden flaws that can result in costly repairs and renovations. However, some building defects are more common in freshly completed projects. These issues can have a severe impact on the functionality and safety of the home and should be uncovered and addressed before new occupants begin to settle in. In this blog post, we will not only outline the most common building defects discovered in recently completed projects but also explore the underlying causes of these defects and the actions that can be taken to prevent them. Contractors and prospective homeowners alike should keep a keen eye out for these common building defects discovered in new homes.
Structural integrity is a common buzzword easily encountered if you conduct cursory research on common building defects unearthed in South Australian homes. However, this is more than just a fancy bit of jargon. Structural integrity is in fact essential for the safety and longevity of a building. Common issues with structural integrity include:

Improper foundation settlement

house structural damage

Improper foundation settlement occurs when a building sinks below the level it was originally constructed on, resulting in a wide range of related issues, such as uneven or lopsided walls and ceilings, cracks in walls and ceilings, and windows and doors that can no longer open and close properly due to a shift in the home’s dimensions.

Damaged support beams

Support beams are a critical component of a home’s structure. If the support beam is damaged or is not performing its intended role, the home’s overall health will suffer. Common signs of damaged support beams include sagging floors and cracks in walls. In extreme cases, the absence of functioning support beams can result in the building’s collapse.

Water Intrusion and Leaks

Damage from moisture is no small matter, and water intrusion and leaks can cause a plethora of issues in both the building’s exterior and interior. Common forms of water intrusion include window leaks, inadequate sealing, and poor waterproofing in wet areas. Water penetration can swiftly lead to the deterioration of insulation and structural elements. Areas of vulnerability must be addressed quickly to prevent runaway issues.

Poor Drainage and Site Work

The site on which the construction occurs is just as important as the materials used in the construction, and how they are installed. Poorly graded sites and inadequately planned drainage can lead to numerous issues, including flooding, soil erosion, and vulnerabilities in the home’s foundation.

Detecting and preventing building defects

Building inspections are essential in identifying these common defects. A timely inspection conducted by a qualified and experienced building inspector can help homeowners avoid a poor investment and can help existing owners understand what should be addressed before their home enters the market. When it comes to analysing a new build for possible issues, a building inspector will likely pay particular attention to:

Walls and Windows

Many are surprised to learn that new homes can often have improperly installed windows. Scrutinising these areas is essential to ensure they are properly sealed from outside elements, and won’t run the risk of moisture ingressing into the building’s interior walls.

Foundations and Concrete

As their name suggests, foundations are very much foundational to the stability and long-term well-being of a home. If cracks or crumbling areas are visible on the concrete’s surface, this may indicate a weak foundation. Inadequate foundations can result in a wide array of structural issues that can be dangerous to inhabitants and should be addressed as quickly as possible.


Your home’s roof is one of its most critical components. It helps ensure that you and everything in your home are adequately protected from the elements. The roof will also keep your home insulated and will assist in maintaining an even and consistent climate and temperature. If the roof has been poorly installed, inadequately insulated, or is missing critical elements, such as eaves, then it runs the risk of introducing a range of different issues, including structural damage, mould and mildew growth, leaks, or pest infestations.

Exterior Doors

Rickety and jamming doors don’t just pose daily frustration. They can also lead to water damage that can penetrate a home’s walls, leading to mould, mildew, and even cracking. Exterior doors should always be installed properly, and fitted with tight weather stripping to prevent the incursion of moisture into the house.

Bathrooms and Laundry Rooms

Laundries, bathrooms, and wet areas can be fraught with water-sealing issues and poorly installed appliances. All fixtures and fittings, including sinks, showers, bathtubs, and washing machines should be carefully accounted for by a qualified plumber. Ensuring that a licensed professional is responsible for the installation of these essentials is key to successfully monitoring these at-risk areas, and mitigating potential damage to the construction as a whole.

That’s a wrap

New homes can be susceptible to a range of different building defects, from improperly formed foundations to poor waterproofing and inadequate support structures. Detecting and accounting for these common issues in the earliest stages of design and throughout the process of construction is essential, but this is not always the case. Neglecting the importance of these factors can lead to a host of issues that can either crop up immediately or years down the line, to the dismay of future homeowners. This is why investing in a building inspection performed by a qualified professional is an essential step both for those looking to buy or sell a newly built home. At Select Building Inspections in Adelaide, we specialise in giving Adelaide’s prospective homeowners the knowledge to make a sound investment. If you’re looking for lasting peace of mind, get in touch with our friendly experts today by enquiring online, or giving us a call on 0475 555 039.


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