Swimming pool safety and compliance issues. I was inspecting a property with a swimming pool this week and was dumbfounded that a certificate of compliance had been issued to the vendor that stated the pool fence was legal. The pool fence however was not only too low on one panel, it had a 240mm gap in the fence on one side and a climbable structure just 650mm off the pool fence. Regulations state a 900mm clearance zone is required and maximum gaps of 100mm. A child could easily climb the BBQ and step straight onto the pool fence, or fit through the 240mm gap in the fence with ease. The fact that the compliance certificate had been issued, the house could legally be sold with the pool fence as is. This is just another reason to have a house inspection done. The cost of an inspection is so minimal compared to the life of a family member. You can book your inspection by calling Steve directly 0499611528
Previous pest inspections are an important factor when looking at a house to buy. Having received my statement of attainment for inspecting for and the reporting on timber pests, also the control of timber pests, I understand the processes that prior pest operators have applied.
Treating areas with pesticides, considering some of the older treatments were quite poisonous, it is important to understand why they were used as well as where. Sometimes however the spray operator may have caused structural damage to the house, to make his job easier.
The home owner is never likely to crawl under the house, so short cuts are made to gain access and unless you employ a diligent house inspector, you too would never know. Until you suddenly have a structural failure of the flooring of the house you purchased.
Insulation in upper storey or ceiling spaces is paramount to the efficiency of the house air conditioning unit and its ability to cool or heat your home. Unfortunately builders do not always do the right thing. Seen in these photos the wall insulation was not restrained and had simply had fallen out. The upper storey rooms were hotter than the lower areas, as the non air conditioned ceiling space area quickly heated up and the heat was transferring through the walls. This will cause the air conditioning unit to run longer than it needs to, costing you more money to cool your home and the need to replace the air conditioning unit sooner.
Repairs are often done, but the insulation not replaced, or just dumped in a heap as shown above.
Most dangerous is the lack of air venting around down lights. Luckily most newer houses now have LED lights that produce far less over heating issues than the halogen lights did.
The old insulation rebate scheme was the cause for a lot of the dodgy workmanship, as everyone was entering into insulation installations to earn the easy money.
So if you own a house, it will pay to have a poke around inside your ceiling yourself, if your buying a new house, spend the extra little bit and get it inspected as the insulation may just be a minor issue compared to what else may be found.
Leaning retainer walls are an expensive repair, and very dangerous for your family, costing anywhere from $450 to $600 per m² for a concrete block replacement type. This wall is leaning over 220mm and because any wall built higher than 1 metre requires engineering. The repair, to be legal and complying with the council will require certification prior to construction. When looking at a wall such as this one the total overall repair could be over $12,000 just for the rear retainer wall. Unfortunately the properties side retainer walls were also failing in a similar way and also requiring replacement.
Deck safety is an often overlooked issue with a house. This example has no bolts connecting the non structurally graded timber posts to the bearers (Painted to look like steel posts).
Round CCA logs are often untreated all the way to the middle, allowing for termite entry and the cut end must face upward as only the original post ends have full treatment. As this deck was in a coastal environment, it is subject to high corrosion, so the nails used are not adequate in holding the bearers in position. The posts should be seated into a cut out section to stop the possibility of the pine bearer twisting and bolted with minimum of 2 galv M10 Bolts. The base of the post ideally should be bolted into galv post shoes, to reduce the termite risk.
Overloading a deck is a common area of concern with items such as BBQ's, Furniture, air conditioner compressors and large potted plants contributing to a possible deck collapse. If the area was not designed to take additional loads where you have added them, its probably not safe to do so.
The dangers of down lights covered by insulation is an unknown or ignored issue. Too many 1990's era house ceilings that I have inspect recently have had insulation over or covering the halogen down lights.
This is a fire risk due to the temperature build up around the lights. There should be a clearance of 200mm to any combustible surface and 50mm clearance from the insulation bat or transformer.
Down light barriers or domes should be fitted to ensure compliance especially if loose insulation has been used.
Alternatively have an electrician replace the lighting with energy efficient LED down lights. LED lighting generates less heat and alleviates most of the heat build up issues.
House inspections are are so important to the buying process of your next house.
As your inspection to purchase was a probably a quick 10 minute look around, you saw that you wanted to buy the property. It had everything you were were looking for in a property. But did it have what you couldn't see. This is where a house inspector comes in with our 90 minute inspection.
We check for dampness in the house walls with special moisture meters.
Also checking for underfloor dampness caused by failed water proof membranes in the wet areas and surrounding rooms.
Inside the roof cavity is checked for failed timberwork and termite damage.
On the roof inspection for roof gutter flow, damaged roofing, timber rot and cracked flashings.
The site is checked for fencing issues, termites in surroundig trees, excessive ground movement and paving condition. Collapsed paving is a sign of storm water pipe joint failure which is quite common as most storm water was DIY when the Golden Grove area was developed for example.
All internal rooms are examined for issues such as patched walls, to determine why the wall was repaired. Ceiling sag from popped screws is quite common in houses built between 2001 and 2009 and can be an expensive repair.
The house is given a good look over and a report is written up on the day of the inspection.
House inspectors should be insured, licenced and have building trade qualifications, with years of experience. I know I do and I am here for you.
A building inspector should have a thermal camera, moisture meter, cavity camera gear with him at all times. I also carry laser measuring equipment, laser levels, a ferroscan to enable checking for the depth of steel reinforcement and even a gas detection meter.
At $350, my service is still affordable as I only run a home office and I am not paying huge franchise fees, like many other inspectors.
I inspected a beautiful house this week built around the year 1900. The house itself was in great condition considering the age of the residence. The large 1970's built Granny Flat addition however was in a very poor condition. It had numerous issues, like leaking roofing, due to non tradesman like construction and wood rot in the poorly maintained timber that was used on external exposed areas, such as fascia, barges and window canopies.
Sagging ceilings, mold related issues and a badly damaged bathroom that had cracked shower tiling, broken shower screen etc. The bathroom was in a non usable condition due to the moisture levels present.
Now the main issue is that this area was closed off during the sales open inspection from the purchaser, as a tenant was living in there still. The fact that I looked at the property a few days later and the Granny Flat was empty and windows were open, incense sticks were positioned to hide musky smells of the damp related issues brings the question of why was access not granted until an offer was placed on the property.
Inspections are so important for your financial and safety reasons.
Often water damaged cupboards are an overlooked issue in the buyers eyes, as they are planning to replace the cabinetry in the near future.
The unseen issue however, is where could the water damage have transferred to, once through the cupboard itself.
Leaking plumbing can be an easy fix, the difficulty is replacing the shelf or cupboard carcass that is built into a kitchen and the damage to the wall framing behind.
Mold is another major issue that is often not seen, as it grows in the dark wet spaces behind the cupboards and can be very bad for your health.
Unfortunately termites are also attracted to damp moist areas, so the possibilities of further damage to the wall framing is quite possible.
Tile damage due to moisture ingress behind the tiles can also lead to tile uplift and possible cracking due to the expansion of the wet materials.
Wet area Gyprock was a product that is highly effected by moisture, as are the glass insulation bats installed in the wall frame, that soak up and hold the moisture.
In general, if a building report has a leaking kitchen or bathroom plumbing fixture, you should always have caution with your purchasing decision or at least recognise the fact that it may be more expensive to repair than you may have thought.
Moisture issues, can be caused from many things, the most common is rising damp.
Damaged or missing damp proof courses can allow moisture to transfer from the ground into the house slab and walls.
The dampness can be caused by ground level issues, such as the house being built too close to a retainer wall whilst being lower than the surrounding land. Even the slope of paving, if flat or directing water towards the house slab can cause significant issues as well as misdirected or poorly fitted storm water pipes . The house should never have a garden bed against any brick wall and should have a perimeter path around the entire house.
Dampness can also be caused from leaking bathroom floors and walls. Small cracks in the tiles, missing or cracked tile grout and the failure of the flexible sealant in the shower alcove. This is very common and the moisture is often transferred into surrounding rooms resulting in a musky smell. Of course if you are looking at an older house, the under floor brick dwarf walls or timber bearers, joists and stumps can also be effected. This dampness is very conducive to termite activity and contributes to the rusting of the ant caps that help prevent termites from entering your underfloor timber framework.
Another major issue with dampness if timber rot. This can be through faulty or poorly fitted roofing, rusted sheeting, rusted gutters or even leaking gutter joints. Often houses will over many years will settle and the gutter falls can now be incorrect resulting in ponding or overflowing guttering. A majority of timber rot is however simply due to lack of maintenance.
With detection tools such as a quality moisture meter, a thermal camera and cavity camera gear, these issues can be easily discovered and a solution recommended.
The costs for salt damp range from around $70-$95 per metre for a single brick wall up to $85- $105 per metre for a double brick wall. Stone walls less than 450mm thick approx $120-$150 per metre and thicker walls costing around $150-$200. Note that this price is just the treatment costs, you need to allow for the remediation work of the walls and of course the dumping costs associated with the required repair work. The treatment is warranted for approx 20 years.