Will The Building Inspector Spot Everything?
Building inspectors can't guarantee they will find everything wrong with a building. They are limited to a visual inspection of a building unless the owner agrees to remove such things as wall-linings or floor boards. That is unlikely, so the building inspector will only check areas of the building that have safe and unobstructed access.
An inspector can't guarantee the building meets the Building Act and/or local regulations so will not check to see if the council has issued any resource consents, building consents, code of compliance certificates, etc for any work carried out to the property. But they can identify building work that is likely to have needed a building permit.
Information about permits and consents can be found by searching the council records or ordering a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) from the council. For an additional fee, some inspectors will look at the property records held by the council and prepare a special report on the findings.