Category Archives: house inspections

A Week Around The Blocks With Inspect East

A skeptical potential buyer asked me as I was doing a Building and Timber Pest Inspection for him.

What would you really expect to find in a building less than 5 years old?

I highlighted a few examples of recent issues I have found in near new buildings. All were properties that presented rather well and advertised in the real estate websites as “impeccably presented, Immaculately maintained”

Two cold water taps in the ensuite – the potential buyer replied oh that would easily be fixed it probably wasn’t connected to the hot water system. I replied actually the hot water line had not been plumbed in and potentially could have caused huge expense and inconvenience to the new owners.

Leaking showers are often found in brand new or renovated bathrooms often resulting in tiles, plaster and waterproofing having to be redone. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I discovered this shower had a substantial leak.

leaking shower

Many new bathrooms now have the modern look tiled shower bases and once I have run the shower for a few minutes I have discovered that not enough fall has been allowed for consequently the water pools or floods out of the shower and into the bathroom.

shower leak

Sometimes the termite barrier has been compromised either by the builder or the owners by putting garden beds up against the building resulting in the termite barrier being compromised.

termite barrier

No insulation installed either in the walls or the ceiling. This is sometimes expected that it is picked up with the certificate of occupancy but is often overlooked.

Leaking roofs or downpipes not connected– hard imagine this being a problem in a new property however often with a multitude of trades climbing over roof to install flashings etc. tiles can get cracked.

downpipe

Rubble and rubbish stored under the subfloor – rubbish can be expensive to dispose of and can sometimes hide defects and is conducive to timber pest or termite attack. Rubbish can also be a harborage for rodents and other pests.

Rubbish

Many times the builder or owner agrees to rectify these issues before settlement, which makes the cost of a building inspections well worth the money. My potential purchaser agreed that he wouldn’t be bidding for any property unless
he had a building and pest inspection done regardless of the age.

Having an inspection prior to a home purchase in Victoria is vital as laws governing house sales in Victoria stipulate that it is “Buyers Beware”. It is up to the purchaser to conduct relevant check to establish the condition of the property.

BUILDING INSPECTION EQUIPMENT

We use the most up to date equipment when inspecting a premises. Inspectors use many types of equipment because their use allows us to identify unacceptable conditions that cannot be identified visually. Some types of equipment are used because they make the inspections easier or faster for the inspector. Here are some examples of the equipment we commonly use at Inspect East.

TERMATRAC – Radar Detection

TERMATRAC

– Accurate Detection and Confirmation of Termites
– Radar signals specially calibrated to identify termites.
– Detect termites through timber, brick, masonry, concrete, plasterboard or drywall, plastic, plus many other common building materials (limitations do apply).
– Easily determine between the presence of termites or ants without the need to access building cavities and voids.

Termatrac requires no physical penetration of walls and no need for tapping or prodding. Termites are not disturbed, do not retreat, and remain active for easy and accurate detection by the Termatrac Termite Detection Radar.
Eliminate the guess-work in Termite Detection and Treatment
– Identify the exact locations of termites
– Easily and accurately locate termite nests and entry points.
– Because the termites have been located without disturbance, treatment can be applied while the termites are working normally.

TRAMEX MOISTURE METRES

Excess moisture and humidity left within a building environment or its structural elements is the cause of damage to structural materials such as rot, mold growth, reduced insulation values, failure of flooring, roofing and wall support. To avoid such issues the building inspector needs the right diagnostic to carry out their work professionally and efficiently. The moisture of the building structure needs to be measured.

When we use a moisture metre we can detect elevated moisture levels hidden behind a variety of materials, such as tile and vinyl. This feature helps locate plumbing leaks hidden beneath shower and bathroom floors. The moisture metre provides a measurement of those levels.

To carry out the building investigation efficiently and effectively it is also important to have knowledge of the building construction components and materials, as well as the internationally recognized standards and reference guides for water damage restoration.
Initially, using infrared cameras and moisture meters, it is necessary to establish which building materials are ‘wet’, which are ‘not wet’, and to trace the leak back to its source. Determining the cause of loss or point of entry.

FLASHLIGHT

Flashlight

Home Inspectors are always searching for the perfect flashlight. Powerful flashlights are good for seeing in dark areas where access is difficult or impossible but the strong reflection can make taking photos difficult. Most inspectors own several types.

We always carry extra batteries and flashlights as a back up. Losing the main light unexpectedly can leave an inspector in a dangerous situation if they have no back up light.

TELESCOPING LADDERS

Easy to carry through homes without bumping into walls and can be carried in the boot of a car.

Telescoping Ladder

Collapsed telescoping Ladder

Collapsed telescoping Ladder

RULE

Rule

A rule is a handy tool when checking handrail or step dimensions for safety purposes.

SPIRIT LEVEL

Spirit Level

The spirit level is a device for determining true horizontal or vertical directions by centrering a bubble in a glass tube of alcohol or ether.
We commonly use a level when building elements or components are out level or alignment example may be flooring, walls or windows.

TERMITE INSPECTION TOOL

The termite donger/inspection tool is a thin fiber glass rod with a plastic ball at the end of it. These are tapped onto skiring boards and timber frames to try and detect hollowness, which is an indication of termites.

Termite Inspection Tool

Tips To Help Protect Your Property From Termites

A large percentage of termites are mainly subterranean, which means they dwell in the ground. These insects create tunnel systems in the soil which may extend to a maximum depth of three feet. Here they make mud tubes that will connect their colonies located underground to food sources above such as wood material in your homes.

There are also some termites who live in water sources such a leaky tap or any damp areas produced by rain. They look for a place where there is moisture, so they will be able to survive and populate.
Lastly, termites prefer to invade wood or any types of material that have cellulose.

Waste

Do not bury scrap wood or waste lumber in your yard. If it is in the soil termites will be attracted to it.

Decaying Vegetation

Clear downed branches or decaying twigs and plants before they submerge into the soil.

Mulch

Mulch provides a useful purpose but is best placed in areas of your garden that aren’t directly adjacent to the walls of your home. It can provide a food source and water source in the form of moisture and irrigation.

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Wood

Termites will consume any material that contains cellulose. Some of the more obvious signs could be small holes in wood, crumbling drywall, sagging doors or floors, insect winds and small shelter tubes
Minimize excess building materials and scrap wood touching the ground. Concrete slabs or stands can be used to raise the wood off the ground.

Limit stockpiled timber or firewood near external walls or raise above the ground.

Limit wood to ground contact. Home improvement centers now offer concrete supports that raise the wooden support beams for decks and patios off the ground.

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Water

Termites cannot survive without a source of water present.

Leaks

Identify and fix all water leaks in and around your home. Do not give termites a free water source that is close to your home.

Any standing or pooling water should be dealt with as well as leaking gutters.

The most common example of leaks around I see on a daily basis is the hot water service relief valve and air conditioning unit condenser overflow points not being connected. This can easily be remedied by connecting them to the storm water system.

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Landscaping Considerations

– Avoid gardens alongside your home especially if you have a chemical barrier at the perimeter. Normal gardening or use of topsoil may ruin the barrier and void your warrantee.

– If you must have gardens alongside your home do not raise the beds above the existing ground level especially with slab-on-ground construction. The ground level or finished paving level must be at least 75mm below the damp-proof course line or the bottom of the weepholes. Never cover up the weepholes.

– Don’t plant flower or shrubs that will hide weepholes, vents in the walls with timber floors or the exposed edge of concrete floor slabs.

– Areas under suspended floor should be well ventilated and dry. Don’t close off sources of ventilation.

– Be aware that the later construction of unprotected additions such as carports, pergolas, porches, access ramps and steps to your home may allow termites to bridge an existing termite barrier. Even installing something like a new water heater on the outside of your home could damage the termite barrier or make it difficult to detect any future termite activity.

– Take care when selecting trees to plants. If you plant the wrong tree too close to your home, its roots may damage the termite barrier under or beside the concrete slab or cause the slab itself to crack.

– Don’t affix wooden trellises to exterior walls

– Keep all shrubs, bushes and other dense greenery away from the foundation of your home.

– Remove infested trees and stumps

– Don’t allow leaves to accumulate in gutters and drains.

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Home Inspections

I generally recommend an annual inspection, whether it is done by a Licensed Inspector qualified in the area of Timber and Pest Inspection, or by yourself (but you need to know what to look for).

– Inspection of all potential entry points to timber structures

– Inspection of all termite barriers for any bridging or breaching by termites, building trails of mud or galleries across those barriers.

– Inspection around perimeter weepholes in brick walls just above concrete slabs or just below suspended floors

– Inspection for wood and other possible food for termites around the perimeter of the concrete slab or under timber floors.

Building Inspections & Finance – Two Critical Parts of Buying a Property in Melbourne

Why You Should Always Get a Building Inspection Before You Buy a Property in Melbourne

With all the costs involved in buying a property, it can be tempting to cut corners, saving a couple of hundred dollars by neglecting to hire a building inspector to give it the once-over.

But this is a fundamental mistake that home buyers make. With such a large investment as a house, you cannot risk blindly buying a dud.

Why Are Building Inspections So Important in Melbourne?                  

Getting a building inspection is even more important in Melbourne, with the very changeable and sometimes extreme weather conditions, which can inflict more damage and wear to houses than in other Australian cities.

A good building inspector will check all potential problem areas of the property. These checks will ensure that your dream home fits all the Building Codes and Standards of Australia, because if it doesn’t, you need to know about it.

The real condition of the property as assessed by a professional building assessor may have a large influence on the price you are prepared to pay for this investment. Not only that, you need to know about any hidden costs involved in getting your property up to standard, so that you can budget for them and you won’t be left in the dark with some unpleasant surprises.

Financing Your New Home – Introducing Rapid Finance

So you’ve got your property thoroughly checked out, and are satisfied that with the building inspector’s report, you’re backing a winner. What next?

Well, you’re going to need the cash to buy your new home. But what if you have bad credit?

Rapid Finance are a reputable finance broker with offices around the country. With a decade of specialty finance experience, they can find you the best home loan to suit your circumstances, even if you have bad credit!

 

Why Getting a House Inspection is a Must

If you’re about to embark on purchasing a new home, it will certainly be in your best interest to have a home inspection completed.

Not only should you get it done for your own peace of mind, but most lenders will require that you have a building inspection completed before they will proceed with the loan. The lending institution has just as much skin in the game as you do, so that is why they require the inspection to be completed.

The process of getting a home inspection involves hiring a company who will send out a building inspector who will go through the home you are looking at purchasing. With you present, the home inspector goes through the whole home, and does an in depth inspection to make sure nothing in is need of major repair that may not be visible on the surface.

In short, a home inspector goes through a home and checks fixtures, plumbing, wiring, and the foundations of the house to make sure it is all structurally sound. Then they’ll inspect the outside of the home along with the roof to make sure there isn’t any exterior damage.

damage found in Melbourne termite inspection

In additon to the home inspection, it would also be in your best interest to inspect for wood boring insects, such as termites which can wreak havoc on your houses structure.

Pest inspections are also required by banks and lenders before they’ll grant a loan.

Some inspection companies offer both building and pest inspections and some don’t, Inspect East do offer both.

Aside from being required by lenders, it’s still very much in your best interest to have an inspection completed. They cost anywhere from $300 to $1000+ depending on the size of the home, and you are allowed to be present and ask questions through the entire inspection.

Think about this; imagine you found your dream home and went ahead and purchased without an inspection. Everything is fine when you move in and all is good in the world and your family is super happy and excited. Then a few days later it pours down rain and water starts coming through the ceiling. There’s a ceiling issue that wasn’t identified!

After this kind of experience you’ll certainly be wishing you’d had the inspection. While it might sound far fetched, these kind of things do happen. So don’t take the risk because a new roof can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000+.

If you get the inspection done, you can have the peace of mind that your house is in good order and is safe to live in for you and your family. In case anything does go wrong though, and it’s covered under the house inspection, you can hold the inspection company accountable for those damages and not be out of pocket yourself.

In summary, a house inspection is extremely important for both you and your lender. You both have a large interest in the property so just go ahead and get the inspection done so you can sleep easier at night.