Types of Building Inspections

Pre-Purchase Building Inspections

  • It's essential that you are fully aware of the property's condition before you finalise your purchase.
  • The Pre-Purchase Building Inspection report will provide you with all of the relevant information regarding the state of the property.
  • Armed with this information you'll be in the best position to negotiate the final purchase price on your property.

Pre-Auction Building Inspections

  • If the property you're looking to purchase is going to auction; then it is in your best interests to obtain a Pre-Auction Building Inspection report prior to bidding at the auction.
  • There is no cooling off period at an auction, which negates the opportunity of arranging an inspection during this time as one would normally do for a sale by private treaty.
  • Once you are the winning bidder there is no opportunity to then inspect the property, hence the importance of a Pre-Auction Building Inspection Report.

Pre-Sales Building Inspections

  • If you are planning on selling your property it's prudent to obtain a Pre-Sales Building Inspection report.
  • This report will identify any potential problems that your property may have.
  • It also affords you the opportunity of rectifying any problem prior to placing your property on the market, thereby making your property more attractive to any potential buyers.
  • This; in turn; has the potential to assist in obtaining the maximum price for your property.

Combined Timber Pest and Building Inspections

  • The Combined Timber Pest and Building Inspection represents the best value for money.
  • It will cover an inspection of the building as well as an inspection for timber pests.
  • You receive 2 separate reports from 2 individual experts in their respective field.

Asbestos Inspections

  • The Asbestos Inspection report is one of the most important inspections you can have conducted.
  • There is plenty of information available regarding Asbestos and its potential health risks to you and your family.
  • Asbestos is one product that you definitely do not want to gamble your health on.
  • Better to know where the potential risks are and then have them addressed once and for all.
  • This is particularly important prior to undergoing any form of DIY project or renovation.
  • Below is some of the most comprehensive information available regarding Asbestos: at http://asbestosawareness.com.au/  and as detailed on the Government website; either read below or click on this link Asbestos Safety to go directly to their website.

 

Asbestos Information
What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a term for a group of six naturally occurring mineral fibres belonging to two groups:

  • Serpentine Group - comprised of only chrysotile (white asbestos)
  • Amphibole Group - comprised of anthophyllite, amosite (brown asbestos or grey asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, and actinolite.

Asbestos was long viewed as one of the most versatile minerals because of its flexibility, tensile strength, insulation from heat and electricity, chemical inertness and affordability.

 

The versatility of asbestos made it attractive to many industries and is thought to have more than 3000 applications worldwide.

 

Australia was one of the highest users per capita in the world up until the mid-1980s.

 

Approximately one third of all homes built in Australia contain asbestos products.

 

The widespread use of asbestos has left a deadly legacy of asbestos material.

 

Asbestos, predominantly chrysotile and crocidolite, was mined in Australia until late 1984.

 

Records also show that between 1930 and 1983, approximately 1.5 million tonnes of all forms of asbestos was imported into Australia.

 

Asbestos containing materials (ACMs) can be categorised as friable and non-friable. Non-friable asbestos, where it is mixed with other materials like cement, is the type most commonly found in our built environment.

 

Friable asbestos is more likely to become airborne.

 

Both friable and non-friable asbestos pose a significant health risk to all workers and others if the materials are not properly maintained or removed carefully.

 

In the built environment, potential health risks are posed where there is:

  • the presence of ambient levels of asbestos
  • weathering of ACMs
  • the presence of damaged ACMs
  • building and/or maintenance work involving ACMs and
  • demolition and/or removal of ACMs

The risk of exposure from the built environment is broad, with the potential to impact the entire Australian community.

 

History of asbestos - chronology
Asbestos in the home

Approximately one third of all homes built in Australia contain asbestos products.

 

As a general rule, if your house was built before the mid-1980s, it is highly likely that it would have some asbestos containing materials.

 

If your house was built between the mid-1980s and 1990, it is likely that it would have asbestos containing materials.

 

If your house was built after 1990, it is unlikely that it would have asbestos containing materials.

 

The use of ACMs in the home has been extensive and there are many areas in the home where ACMs can be found including (but not limited to):

  • roof sheeting and capping
  • guttering
  • gables, eaves/soffits, water pipes and flues
  • wall sheeting (flat or a weatherboard style)
  • vinyl sheet flooring
  • carpet and tile underlays
  • zelemite backing boards to the switchboards
  • flexible building boards
  • imitation brick cladding
  • fencing
  • carports and sheds
  • waterproof membrane
  • telecommunications pits
  • some window putty
  • expansion joints
  • packing under beams
  • concrete formwork

 

The Asbestos Awareness website contains images and resources showing what asbestos looks like as per the list above. 

 

It is not possible to determine whether a material contains asbestos by simply looking at it.

 

The only way to be sure is to get a sample of the material tested by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory but if one is not readily available, there are other laboratories that provide similar testing services.

 

Asbestos and natural disasters

Natural disasters like floods, cyclones and bushfires can cause major damage to property - this is particularly concerning when there is asbestos-containing materials in the property which is damaged causing release of asbestos fibres.

 

The disaster recovery planning prepared by your state and territory government regularly includes contingencies and funding to clean up asbestos following an emergency.

 

It is very important that you follow instructions issued by the disaster recovery agencies in your state, territory or local government area as they are developed specifically to prevent unnecessary exposure to asbestos fibres caused by damaged asbestos materials.

 

The safe removal and disposal of asbestos from a damaged property is critical.

 

Contacting your local council and state emergency services is a good place to start if faced with building damage from a fire, flood or other natural disaster.

 

See the links to the contacts for your state or territory below.

Who to contact about asbestos issues

If the issue relates to a workplace or relates to work being conducted contact the work health and safety regulator in your state or territory.

 

If the issue relates to contamination of environment or the disposal and transportation of asbestos, contact the Environmental Protection Agency in your state or territory.

 

If you are concerned about non-work related issues such as a neighbour removing asbestos themselves, contact your local council.

 

Links to your state or territory Department of Local Government have been provided - links to individual councils can be accessed through these departmental sites.

 

If the issue relates to public health issues, contact the Department of Health in your state or territory.

 

If you are concerned that you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor.

 

Timber Pest Inspection

WARNING:

Your home or building insurance policy does not cover you in the event that your home is damaged by termites.

 

Termites have the potential to cause extensive damage to your home.

 

You are solely responsible for the repairs caused by such damage hence the importance of having a regular timber pest inspection.  

 

As a minimum you should have an inspection conducted at least annually according to Australian Standard AS3660.2

 

Below is an article that gives some insight into the destructive nature of termites.

 

You can either read the article from Termite.com.au below or go directly to their website.

 

 

Subterranean termites or "white-ants" are a highly destructive timber pest, causing major structural timber damage to domestic / commercial buildings in Australia.

 

Recent industry surveys suggest that about one third of all unprotected properties are subject to attack by termites.

 

Most homes are at risk ... especially if well-established gum trees are nearby the building - within a 100 metre radius.

 

Severe termite damage to Australian homes is on the increase since the removal in 1995 of the long lasting soil barrier chemicals; the more common use of softwood building and other landscaping timbers that termites find irresistible.

 

Other important factors include building designs, automatic watering systems, landscaping and maintenance that encourage termite activity and allow hidden termite entry and infestation into a building.

 

Destructive Termite Risk Assessment

 

pre purchase building and timber pest inspection showing a map of the risk of termite damage in Australia

 

* Based upon CSIRO data and APCA national survey

 

Termites live in the Ground & can eat Your house down

 

Termites are known to destroy the wall and roofing timbers of a home within 3 months of construction.

 

Termites cause more damage to homes in Australia than fire, floods, storms and tempest, combined.

 

Termites occur throughout New South Wales, with a high incidence of attack in virtually all urban areas.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Severe termite damage to a building is not uncommon. To compound the problem, your Home or Building Insurance Policy will NOT cover the repair costs of any timber damage caused by termites.

Termites are small in size (about half the size of match-head) and soft bodied insects. They build a central colony nest from which they construct underground tunnels that radiate in a 100 metre radius from a central colony nest in search of a timber (cellulose) food source.

 

A Building and Timber Pest Inspector This picture shows a termite inspector examining an above ground termite subsidiary nest built inside a wall cavity of a home.

 


Termites often build such nests if moisture is allowed to regularly collects inside the wall cavity, say from leaking pipes, shower recess, faulty plumbing, guttering, broken roof tiles, etc

 

Termites travel in humidified mud-shelter tubes or galleries...

 

Termite Mud Trail discovered during a pre purchase building and timber pest inspection The picture shows a mud shelter tube that termites have constructed over a solid object, in this case, a brick foundation wall in the sub-floor of a cottage.

 

 

Termites travel in these mud shelter tubes as protection from predators, sun-burn, dehydration and to maintain a high humidity environment which is essential for their survival.


Termites are highly secretive, preferring to enter a building through areas inaccessible to inspection, such as, through in-fill patios, fire heaths, expansion joints and cracks in concrete slab (on-ground) flooring.


Termites can pass through a 2 mm crack or an expansion joint (eating through the rubber compound) between adjoining concrete on ground flooring.

 

They can also travel under parquetry and floor tiles to get to the wall framing timbers.