Purchasing real estate in Israel can be a wonderful event and a fulfilling experience, but can also cause tremendous aggravation if there are problems or defects in the property. Having a survey of a new home will prevent serious regrets later on. A professional engineer in Israel can identify problems in advance, and thus fixing the defects and solving the problems found early on, can save a lot of expense and aggravation.
It is important to commission an engineer in Israel, or an expert building inspector, who is familiar with the building codes and regulations in Israel. The inspection should include all the components that are part of the contract, i.e. compliance with the technical specification document (mifrat techni), and that the measurements of the actual property comply with the drawing plans submitted by the contractor. In addition, a thorough inspection must be done to check for cracks, dampness, finished components such as floor and wall tiles/coverings, plasterwork and paint, aluminum, carpentry, ironmongery, plumbing, electricity, seals, etc.
The inspection should take into consideration two main parameters: whether the components that were used, meet the building codes and standards in terms of material, and whether the application of the components and the work, was done according to the building codes and standards. After the inspection one should receive a fully comprehensive expert-written report that includes the following information:
- The condition of the property.
- Descriptions of all the problems and faults found in the property and the factors that likely caused those problems.
- Recommendation for appropriate workmanship and materials in order to repair the problems found.
- A cost estimate for the general work and completion that is needed to be done in the property.
- Photographs to visually indicate the problems or defects found in the property.
A copy of the report should be handed to the contractor to fix all the problems found accordingly and in a professional manner. It is important to note that the opportunity should be given to the contractor to fix all the problems that need to be fixed. However, it is important to ensure that the report of the inspection, can be used in a court of law, in the event that the contractor refuses to comply. For this reason, the report should be written in Hebrew.
The inspection by an engineer should take anywhere from one and a half hours or more, depending on the size of the property and the extent of the problems that are found. The cost can vary between 1200 NIS up to 3500 NIS + VAT depending on the size of the property, the location in Israel, and the degree of professionalism and experience of the engineer. It is recommended that the buyer be present during the inspection, although not essential.
If you are buying a second-hand property in Israel from an individual, not from a contractor, you should also have it inspected by an engineer in Israel before signing the contract, thereby you will know what problems exist prior to making any commitment. The cost estimate you will receive in the expert report is a point of negotiation to either force the seller to bring down the price by this amount or fix the problems before you purchase the property, or may be a reason to back away from the deal altogether. We will address this topic in a future article.
Avi Goldstein is a qualified architect, specializing in engineering surveys and property inspections for building defects and faults. With almost 30 years of experience in Israel, he is nationally recognized in his field, and appointed by the Israeli Courts, as a leading expert in the area of construction problems. Avi has offices in Tel Aviv and Modi’in and can be reached at [email protected].