Home Defect Detection Strategy

When my husband and I first got our home, we got really excited about getting a “defect list” form to fill out. We looked around the house, filled the whole page, got everything fixed by the contractor, only to find out a few months later that we forgot to check “a few things” which turned out to be a major pain in the head and pocket to repair!

By that time, the defect liability period has long ended so the subcontractors refused to repair unless we pay, and the management refused to take responsibility because these “few items” were not included in the initial defect list that we submitted.

Learning from that lesson, here’s 14 items people some times miss out while trying to detect defects in the house / apartment:


1. Try every tap and shower head in the house to see if there’s leakage and that the water totally stops when you turn them off

2. After opening the tap, check also if the water drains properly in every sink, shower and tub. We have one sink where we need to use squeege to push the water down the drainage, despite multiple attempts to fix it! If you have a planter, you should also check drainage on the planter … some times, water just sits still there … a very bad condition especially when a National Environment Agency’s officer comes by to check your place!

3. Flush every toilet to ensure it works just fine and there is no leakage

4. While we are at the toilet, another thing you might want to do is to put a bit of coloring into each toilet tank, and then leave it for an hour or so. If the water in your toilet bowl changes color, it means there is a leakage in the toilet tank and you can end up wasting a lot of water if this is not fixed.

5. If your unit comes with sanitary fittings, check through every one of them: is the towel rack straight? What about the toilet paper holder – is it loose or firmly attached to the wall? Is the shower head smooth, or full of dirt marks?


6. Check every door and window to see if they latch close perfectly. If you have a sliding door, check if it can stay still at mid-length. We have one sliding door that will always slide close if we leave it mid-way, and the person responsible for fixing it seems to have moved to India while her warranty period is not over !


7. Look through every corner of the wall to see if there are any cracks (including hairline cracks) on the wall. Don’t forget to check through the connection between built-in cabinets and the wall (esp. in the bedrooms and kitchen) for cracks … you may have to spend a lifetime battling armies of ants simply because of this

8. Look through the painting in every single room AFTER sunset to see if they do an even skimming and painting job. Unevenness that don’t show during the day can usually be seen after dark, under just a bit of light. As well, if the contractor uses gypsum boards on the wall and they apply them unevenly, you will be able to see it after dark, under a bit of light

9. If the unit you bought comes with wall paper, makes sure the connection does not peel off and they are perfectly straight

10. Look through every door, wall and window finishes. Some times you can find unsightly scrapes and scratches

11. Check corners between concrete walls and gypsum board walls. Some times the seaming is poorly done.


12. If your house / apartment comes with a built-in kitchen appliances (stove, oven), make sure they work. Turn them on, see if the oven heats up well and the cooking fire lights up easily. Don’t forget to check the cooker hood fan and light.

13. If your unit is air-conditioned, turn on every aircon with the remote control, see if they cool down the temperature nicely and you cannot hear any funny noise
We have learned to remember the above things the hard way: by forgetting them first. But hopefully you learn from our experience 🙂


14. Walk through every inch of your room, feel them with your bare feet. Do some parts of the floor feel rougher than others? Do you find wood planks that are not level if your room uses parquet? In our new home, the wooden floor in one of the rooms had to be re-sand and re-varnished three times before it became an evenly smooth floor. Some times the grouting in between the tiles are poorly done

We learned the above points simply by forgetting to include them in our defect list, so hopefully you learn from our mistake! 🙂


~ by elinski on January 31, 2008.

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