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    Jun 03, 2015

    Defect checkers' shocking find in house - bones

    A BRAND new house may not always be your dream home.

    Hidden beneath your home's floor tiles could be a bag of chicken bones or worse, termites.

    These were just some unpleasant finds revealed to The New Paper (TNP) by two companies which specialise in uncovering defects in homes.

    "The bones could have been left over by someone after lunch," said Shaun Wee, 26, business development manager of InspectFirst.

    "Our inspectors were shocked when they found it while removing hollow tiles."

    Tan Wee Kwang, 34, director of Ark Interior, told TNP he once discovered a bathroom sink which had piping that was not connected, and a dry wall panel plugged with cement bags.

    Although the bags did not greatly affect anything, Mr Tan said: "A defect is still a defect and we had to notify the home owner."

    Mr Tan and Mr Wee work in the defects inspection industry. Their services have been gaining more attention lately.

    Said Mr Tan: "We have seen an increase in customer traffic in recent months, especially in the wake of the recent media publicity on poor workmanship in various newly completed residential projects."

    Several housing development projects have come under fire lately for substandard fittings, the most recent being Trivelis in Clementi. Close to half of the 888 units were found to have problems like lack of proper shelving and glass shower doors that shatter easily.

    Defects inspection services are often used to provide home owners with a list of existing defects in their homes, so they can inform the developers.

    "Home owners generally approach us before they move into their new homes," said Mr Wee.

    Inspection services follow guidelines set by the Constructive Quality Assessment System. The system was developed by the Building and Construction Authority to "measure the quality level achieved in a completed project".

    Only the architectural, mechanical and electrical aspects of a property are considered.

    An assessment can range from three hours to a full working day, depending on the size of the property. Prices generally start from about $600.

    Housewife Silvia Ho, 39, said she was referred to InspectFirst's services by her interior designer.

    She said: "I did this really just to have peace of mind. Home owners may not necessarily have a trained eye in looking out for defects, so when we hire such inspectors, we can be assured that their assessment will be professional."

    While most customers approach inspection companies hoping to rectify issues they have with the developers' work, Mr Wee and Mr Tan said not all cases are the developers' fault.

    Said Mr Wee: "Unfortunately, some home owners that we have met were unwilling to compromise on small matters, and that led to difficult relations between them and their developers."

    Mr Tan added: "We form the bridge between home owners and the developers. So we always hope to be able to mediate between the two parties successfully."