Q: I am in the process of buying a house and want to know where I can get a copy of the engineer's report for the extension built on to the house? The sellers say it was done 14 years ago and by previous owners before they bought the property. Are certificates/reports kept on file in the public domain? If not how can I access the report?
A: In Ireland when a purchaser wishes to buy a house, they normally engage construction consultants, such as a registered architect, engineer or building surveyor to prepare a report on the condition of the property.
This report involves the consultant inspecting the property and assessing the condition. The report is usually a 'visual inspection' only, as the owner of the property may not grant permission to open up a section of the building, lifting floor boards or removing plaster, etc.
Having identified the condition of the property, the construction consultant can, in some instances, estimate the costs of rectifying the defects identified.
In cases where the condition of the property is very poor, having evaluated the cost of rectification, the consultant's recommendation to the buyer may be to reconsider their interest in the property.
Generally, inspection reports cover the condition of the existing property as originally constructed and would also refer to any extensions or modifications that may have been carried out over the years.
In the UK, reports like those mentioned above are sometimes made available to prospective purchasers from the building owner, via the selling agent, as part of a sale package, but this is not the case in Ireland.
If a report is requested by a potential buyer from the property owner for their own use, it is not generally made available to them, or any other third party. As the report for the house you intend to purchase was privately commissioned, it may be difficult to obtain a copy.
It won't be available in the public domain, such as the local planning office or Land Registry.
Your best course of action would be to obtain your own report by engaging a registered architect to inspect the current condition of the property, including the extension.
As 14 years have elapsed since its construction, the condition of the property may have changed dramatically, or have been modified in that intervening period.