Read our Defence Building and Pest inspections services blog for Combined Building and pest inspection category.

Decks and Balcony Safety

decks and balcony safety

In a recent ѕаfеtу evaluation оf rеѕіdеntіаl dесkѕ, seven out оf ten dесkѕ hаd at lеаѕt оnе ѕаfеtу issue, and four оf the dесkѕ hаd ѕіgnіfісаnt ѕаfеtу issues thаt were cause fоr іmmеdіаtе асtіоn. Most hоmеоwnеrѕ еіthеr hire a соntrасtоr tо buіld the deck, оr thе dесk was аttасhеd tо thе house when thе home was рurсhаѕеd. Sоmе оf thе mоѕt serious іѕѕuеѕ fоund were:

  • Inѕuffісіеnt mеthоdѕ of attachment tо thе hоuѕе
  • Improper jоіѕt fastening
  • Inѕuffісіеnt lаtеrаl brасіng
  • Imрrореr or non-existent post аttасhmеnt
  • Undersized frаmіng mеmbеrѕ
  • Improper fаѕtеnеrѕ uѕеd

The mоѕt ѕеrіоuѕ іѕѕuе, іnѕuffісіеnt аttасhmеnt to the house, was fоund on almost half, four оf 10, оf thе dесkѕ іnѕресtеd. Whеn a lеdgеr bоаrd, or band bоаrd (the framing mеmbеr of thе dесk that іѕ fаѕtеnеd to the ѕtruсturе оf thе hоuѕе, tо which thе joists оf thе deck аrе аttасhеd) іѕ fаѕtеnеd to thе house іmрrореrlу, thе deck is a сrіtісаl risk fоr соllарѕе.

Bаlсоnіеѕ аrе соnѕіdеrеd a luxurіоuѕ addition to your home оr араrtmеnt, and thеу often add vаluе to уоur рrореrtу. Unfortunately, іmрrореrlу buіlt bаlсоnіеѕ mау present mоrе оf a dаngеr thаn a luxurу, especially ѕіnсе bаlсоnіеѕ аrе uѕuаllу аbоvе thе fіrѕt flооr of уоur hоmе.

Thеrе may bе some thіngѕ thаt a іndіvіduаl glоѕѕеѕ оvеr whеn building a bаlсоnу, but it juѕt tаkеѕ one nеglіgеnt action durіng соnѕtruсtіоn to hаvе a ѕtruсturаllу unsound bаlсоnу. When уоu buіld a bаlсоnу onto your hоmе, уоu ѕhоuld consider a numbеr оf thіngѕ.

Fіrѕt аnd foremost, hіrіng an experienced соntrасtоr tо buіld уоur balcony, is еѕѕеntіаl. It іѕ in уоur bеѕt іntеrеѕt tо rеfrаіn frоm uѕіng a fіrѕt-tіmе balcony buіldеr, аѕ аn еxреrіеnсеd buіldеr will know hоw to mаkе your аddіtіоn ѕаfе аnd will likely dо a better jоb tо аvоіd lіаbіlіtу сlаіmѕ.

Sесоnd, consider hоw big оf a bаlсоnу уоu want and hоw many people уоu wаnt іt tо support. Yоur home will hаvе a lіmіt tо thе size bаlсоnу іt саn ѕuрроrt, so bе rеаlіѕtіс. If уоu fіnd that уоu саnnоt buіld thе ѕіzе balcony thаt уоu wаnt on a сеrtаіn part of your home, consider mоvіng іt tо another раrt.

Thіrd, thоrоughlу іnѕресt thе bаlсоnу аftеr it is buіlt. Ideally, уоu wаnt tо wаtсh the соnѕtruсtіоn of thе project, аѕ уоu mау be аblе tо роіnt оut роtеntіаl роіntѕ оf concern. Whеn іnѕресtіng your new аddіtіоn, pay аttеntіоn tо thе flооr: does іt fееl lіkе іt can ѕuрроrt уоu аnd dоеѕ іt mоvе оr make nоіѕеѕ whеn you walk аrоund?

Maintenance of your balcony or deck quick reference checklist

Balconies index require regular inspection and maintenance. Defence Building and Pest Inspections always recommend if you have concerns about the safety of the deck, balustrade or balcony, you should seek an inspection by a qualified builder.

Stairs, Balustrades and handrails

  1. Check for tell-tale signs of rot. Do not hesitate to push or pull at handrails and balustrades and if necessary probe timbers for softness or decay. Decay may be found in joins in Newell Post, handrails, baluster rail, stairs, stringers and the riser. It is also wise to check where the tread interfaces with the stringer water can get in there and cause decay. Also, evidence of rust would indicate corrosion of metal fittings and test for looseness of fittings and instability of main supports.
  2. Ensure stairs, handrails and balustrades are correctly and securely fastened. Pay more attention to the inspections of balustrades ensuring those which are not directly connected to supporting structures fixings are adequate.
  3. Make sure that any horizontal rails do not pose a climbing hazard for children especially where decks and balconies are elevated. In the case of wire balustrading, ensure that all wires are correctly torsioned without a sign of sagging.

Balconies and Decks

  1. Inspect decking to ensure that it is correctly fastened and not loose.
  2. All timbers should be inspected for decay/rot, termite infestation or borer. Where timbers are discoloured, probe with a sharp knife/screwdriver to ensure no rot. Pay particular attention where decking is flush against exterior cladding or where water features pot plants et cetera are used.
  3. Reapply timber preservatives whether they be stains oils or paints this is necessary to ensure moisture does not penetrate.
  4. Bending, warping or sagging would indicate that some of the structure has moved from its intended position and may need to be re-fixed. Any splitting timbers need to be replaced.
  5. All metal fixings need to be inspected for rust also ensuring that they are not loose.

Concrete Decking or Balconies

  1. Inspection for small cracks that may allow water penetration.
  2. Look for signs of movement either rotation or leaning as this may be an indication of possible failure of the structure
  3. If there is evidence of flaking, cracking concrete or small chunks of visibly loose concrete are also indications for the need of a specialist inspection. A structural engineer would be the most appropriate.
  4. The underside of concrete decks and balconies must be inspected for rust stains or exposed steel reinforcing.

In Queensland you are required to have the appropriate licences and insurances in place for the construction of decks and balconies. In the case of renovations, detail plans must be submitted along with engineering certification before approval for these sorts of construction.

Any concerns about your deck or balcony, check with the local council to ensure that they were correctly installed in line with the plans and that the certification process has been completed. You may find that illegal structures can void your household insurance. Similarly, failure to maintain normal household maintenance to keep your home in good condition may also put at risk your insurance on your home. Check your insurance policies, and you may find that many areas are excluded in the policy if the damage is caused by the failure of adequate maintenance. This could include termites or insects that cause structural failure sometimes failure to repair normal wear and tear may be excluded.

Where you have a concern about the safety of your deck or balcony, Defence Building and Pest Inspections recommends requesting an inspection from a structural engineer or a licensed builder.

 


Disclaimer:

This article is general information only we are not offering advice or guidance. We always advise seeking professional help either from a structural engineer or registered builder. The author of this article expressly disclaims liability for negligence or otherwise, any omission or act as a result of reliance on this article. Failure to heed this warning may result in injury or monetary loss.

Money-Saving Tips For New Movers

Getting ready to move to your new home? Buying a property alone can already incur a lot of expenses – but for those moving to their newly purchased house, the expenses do not end there yet. You still have other things to consider right after sealing that deal, including the transfer or installation of gas, electricity and internet services. And there are still fees to pay when you hire movers.

It doesn’t have to be too costly though. If you are looking to cut down on costs when moving, here are some money-saving tips from our team at Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services:

Inform Your Bank and Service Providers about the Move

Moving can get exciting, but don’t forget that you still have to inform your utility providers about terminating your services – and then you’ll need to pay the final bill. If you forget this, you could end up having to pay for services that you haven’t been using. If you have set up an automatic payment process, make sure to have that one cancelled as well.

Inform your bank of the move and have your records updated. Any bills and communication that they will send you will be delivered to your address on record, so if you have not made the necessary changes, you could be piling up payment charges without realising it.

Decide Between Hiring a Moving Company and a DIY Move

If you are going to hire a moving company to make the move as swift and smooth as possible, search around for a professional and reputable moving company. Hiring a moving company means shelling out money, so you might as well be paying for an excellent and quality service.

On the other hand, if you want more savings and you don’t have a lot of things to move, then you can simply do the move on your own. With a few storage boxes, a vehicle for your belongings and a little help from friends and family, you’ll be well on your way to your new home at a less expensive price.

Take Advantage of Deals on Your Utilities

Moving in to a new property could mean you have an opportunity to switch utility plans and providers. As soon as you have finalised your plans of moving in, start searching for utility providers and check out their best deals. This can possibly give you more savings than the current service plans you have.

Make Sure All Repairs Have Been Completed

Before the big day, check with the seller or the property manager that all required repairs have been completed. Prior to purchasing any property, we recommend that you have your property inspected by our technicians at Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services. This will help you determine if there are any repairs needed and allow you to negotiate with the seller on the price and the agreements on repair costs.

In most cases, the seller will shoulder the repair expenses, so that would mean more savings for you even before you move.

The Importance Of Pest And Building Inspectors

Buying a new home is a very exciting time for most people; once the financing is in place and a house has been selected, many people feel confident and can see the light at the end of the tunnel where they’ll be moving into their new home. Imagine the surprise and disbelief that many Australians feel, then, if they move into their new home only to discover major structural problems or pests including termites.

The thrill of having a new place quickly wears thin when you become the unwitting owner of an army insects or areas of your home that are structurally unsound; the extra money that you’d wanted to spend on new furnishings can be bled dry by unforeseen repairs.

Pest And Building Inspectors Save Money In the Long Run

With that said, the importance of pest and building inspectors simply cannot be overemphasized. Although it may be tempting to save a bit of money and put off hiring building inspectors to look over your prospective new home, covering all of your bases is critical. Knowing exactly what you are getting yourself into can help ward off a lot of heartbreak, frustration and financial disaster down the road; assuming that everything is in order without ensuring it is a real recipe for disaster. Even if you’re purchasing a brand new home, you should always hire Brisbane building inspection professionals to give it a clean bill of health before signing on the dotted line.

Many structural problems can be easily camouflaged by unscrupulous people who are eager to unload their house while spending as little money on repairs as possible. Professional building inspectors know exactly what to look for to uncover such scenarios, helping you avoid becoming an unwitting victim – and letting you steer clear of major expenditures in the future. Some of the costliest problems – like plumbing or electrical issues – can be kept under wraps relatively easily, and are unlikely to be discovered by inexperienced eyes. Building inspectors seek out such problems, bringing them to light and putting them on the table before any important papers are signed.

Don’t Wait Till It’s Too Late

Structural problems are bad enough; imagine moving into a seemingly spotless, immaculate new home only to discover a herd of pests lurking within the walls or becoming aware of the future potential for other insects and rodents potentially damage your home. Picture arranging all of your furniture and belongings just so, only to encounter the evidence of an infestation in your new home. Sadly enough, this sort of thing happens all the time, especially in key areas of south east Queensland, where termites are active in homes even today and are normally not detected till it’s too late.

Pest inspection professionals in Brisbane can examine your prospective new home allowing you to move in confidently in the knowledge that only you and your family will be residing in the house – and that you won’t experience any nasty surprises down the track of the pest or structural kind.

Making Pre-purchase Inspections a Part of Your Investment

Do you have your eyes fixed on a specific property? In a rush to win the bid for your dream house? Can’t wait to move in to that elegant four-bedroom home? Don’t seal the deal just yet – not until you’ve seen what’s inside the house, between the walls and under the subfloors. And not until you are convinced that the price is right for the real value of the property.

Why a Pre-purchase Inspection is an Excellent Investment

Our inspectors at Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services have come across investors who were about to make a big mistake in closing a deal simply because they almost forgot to consider a pre-purchase inspection. Most of the time, buyers get too excited and just want to acquire a property they like almost immediately – before anyone else wins the bid.

We advise property investors, however, to make pre-purchase a part of their investment, simply because it can save thousands of dollars more than if they immediately paid for a property that has not been thoroughly inspected.

In general, pre-purchase inspections are done to:

  • Identify structural problems – cracks in walls, chipped tiles, damaged framing – some of which may not be readily visible
  • Determine if there are water leaks, leaking pipes or problems with the fixtures and drainage system
  • Check the roofs and walls for possible entry of water or the risk of moisture build up, especially during rainy seasons
  • Check whether or not the windows and doors are damaged and that the locks and handles are in working order

After a complete inspection of the property, our team at Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services will then provide you with a detailed inspection report that can help you decide whether or not you are willing to buy the property with its current condition. On many occasions, pre-purchase inspection reports are also used to reassess the value of the property and make negotiations with the seller.

Negotiating the Deal with a Pre-purchase Inspection Report

If the property has been found to have problems, or there are issues that require repairs or remedial work, then you can come up with an agreement with the seller in terms of the property value or the repair work to be done. The seller may decide to decrease the price or shoulder the repairs so you won’t have to shell out any money on remedial work.

With pre-purchase inspections as an investment, many property buyers have been able to protect themselves from making the wrong decision and to avoid buying properties that were more expensive than what they should be paying for.

Reliable Termite Detection Using the Latest Technologies

To ensure reliable results when it comes to pest inspections, Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services uses only high-quality inspection equipment and the latest technologies. Two of the most important technologies we have are the use of Borescope and Termatrac.

 

Borescope Technology

Termite colonies, on most occasions, are not readily visible from the surface – whether it be on the wall, floor or ceiling. This makes detection of termite activities less reliable with the mere use of the naked eyes, while allowing infestations to rapidly grow without being noticed.

With the use of a borescope, pest inspectors can examine termite activities by inserting the device into a small wall cavity. The device will help keep track of moisture and any mudding that is present within close proximity. The borescope includes a lens and an eyepiece that allows our inspector to see possible signs of infestation.

Although this is an invasive method, the device only leaves a tiny hole that is not easily noticeable, and is mostly used for hard to reach areas, corners and crevices. There is also no need for repeatedly boring holes in suspected areas of termite activities because the borescope makes it easy to track traces of infestation in nearby areas.

 

Termatrac

The Termatrac is non-invasive pest inspection equipment, which uses moisture and temperature levels to effectively detect signs of termite activities. This means that there is no need for drilling or physically penetrating the wall, floor or any other surface to be able to identify infestations. This device is effective for detecting pest activities on most common building materials, including timber, fibreboard, plasterboard, tiles and marble.

The Termatrac device uses a sensor to identify areas with excess moisture and high humidity, as these are two of the basic requirements of termites for survival. The device also features a thermal sensor, helping our technicians to determine the locations of termites by tracking the heat that they generate.

Once the risk areas have been established, our technician can use the built-in radar to scan for movements of termites in the area to confirm their presence and location. The radar also allows us to trace the trails, access points and even the colony of termites.

 

More Efficient Treatment Process

Since the use of borescope and Termatrac makes the detection process faster and more reliable, the pest treatment process will also become more efficient. In most cases, using the borescope and Termatrac does not disturb termite activities, thus allowing technicians from Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services to effectively carry out pest control methods without the risk of termites moving their colony or spreading to other areas of your property.

How Timber Pest Inspections Can Maintain Your Property’s Value

If you own a property built with timber, or are selling or purchasing one, it is highly recommended that you opt for a timber pest inspection. Doing so may save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

For owners maintaining their property, it is suggested that timber inspections be carried out regularly so that possible infestations can be detected immediately and significant damage can be avoided. For property investors and sellers, a visual timber pest inspection of a structure can help you get the best value for a property.

What is a Timber Pest Inspection?

A timber pest inspection is conducted to examine whether there are existing signs of damages and infestations of timber pests, including borers, wood decay fungi and termites. This can also help identify if there have been previous pest activities that may have resulted in structural damage, or if there are risks of future infestations.

Our technicians at Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services will thoroughly check all accessible structures and areas of the property constructed with timber and provide a report stating any findings and evidence of past or present timber pest activities, as well as the possible extent of the damage to the property.

The scope of the inspection includes walls, staircases, cupboards, flooring, door jambs, roofing, fencing, underfloor timber materials and landscape timbers. Outdoor structures made of timber, as well as trees, stumps and stored timber areas are also inspected.

A property does not need to be entirely constructed with timber and wood for a timber pest inspection to become a necessity. Any structure that uses timber materials can be vulnerable to termites, wood decaying fungi and wood borers, making pest inspections an important step in maintaining the value of your property.

Technology Used for Timber Pest Inspections

With Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services, you can be assured that we are using the latest technology in conducting building inspections. Not only will these techniques help us provide more accurate findings, most of these are also non-invasive methods, causing no surface damage on your property.

Termatrac is termite detection radar that uses a moisture and thermal sensor to track pest activities not only through timber, but also concrete, brick and plasterboard. Another technology we use is the Moisture Encounter, which measures moisture on wood and timber, allowing us to detect termite risk areas.

The Thermal Imaging Camera makes use of the infrared technology to identify areas between walls and other hidden sections of the house where there are moisture inconsistencies. By using the images provided by the device, it is easier to track possible areas of termite infestations without the need of conducting more intrusive techniques.

Buying a New Home: Get Building and Pest Inspections Done

One of things that you definitely do not want in your home is termites. These can be a nuisance for the homeowners as they can cause immense damage to the building structure of the house. Their presence is witnessed more in some areas than others in Australia. All sorts of pests and termite control solutions are required to keep these tiny creatures away from home. There are many pest control measures that can be taken by the homeowners, however, for a more effective pest and termite control solution, it is a good idea to hire professionals dealing in building and pest inspections in Brisbane.

It can sometimes be very difficult to identify the presence of pests in homes. This is because these creatures are very small and are mostly hiding in unreachable areas. By the time they are identified, a considerable damage might already have been done to cement and wood in the structure. The first visible sign of termites is usually a tunnel running from the walls, which means that the walls are being eaten by termites.

For effective termite extermination, certain procedures have to be applied over a number of stages. The best way to deal with termites is to make sure they do not enter the house in the first place. Some of the preventive measures are repairing water leaks and worn-out faucets. This will keep the moisture away and make the place less welcoming for termites. You should also make sure that all gutters in the house are clean and in good condition. If there is pile wood to be kept in the house exterior or any other wooden products, they should be at least six inches above the ground. You also need to get rid of all timber debris underneath the house. There should be adequate ventilation in the house to keep excess moisture out.

Even after taking all such measures, there is a presence of pests in homes, certain do-it-yourself kits can be used for their eradication. There are off-the-counter products that can be effective for treating a smaller problem. If, however, you suspect there are large colonies of termites and these are hidden away in areas you are unable to reach out, you should employ professionals to handle the matter. These expert professionals have all the right tools and techniques to deal with the problem of termites effectively. Also, regular inspections are important to make sure the problem does not recur.

Every house requires adequate maintenance to keep it a safe and healthy place for the residents. Regular building inspections, pest inspections and pool inspections in Brisbane are important to be carried out to ensure a clean, hygienic, and safe living.

Thermal Imaging

One of the greatest threats to any building structure is the presence of moisture. Often, it does not get detected until a lot of damage has already been done. This is because it is often not visible by the naked eye. Another problem is of termite infestation in homes. Termites are more attracted to damp surfaces and therefore it is important to keep the moisture out from homes. Services of building and pest inspections companies in Brisbane make use of thermal imaging for the identification of moisture and termite presence in homes so that adequate measures can be taken against the moisture damage and action is taken for eradication of these creatures.

Thermal or infrared technology makes use of specialized cameras for the detection of termite and termite sub-nests. The amount of thermal energy that comes from an object is adequately measured using these cameras. Different energy levels create different temperatures. This technology is so advanced it can detect even the slightest differences in temperature. This allows eradication and removal measures to be taken before a greater damage has been done. The whole skeleton of the building can be seen by the building inspectors through thermal imaging camera to identify the exact places where any possible termite activity occurs. Thermal imaging is a safe method as it is non-destructive and non-intrusive. There is no need to drill holes in the walls or tear down any structure to apply thermal imaging.

Thermal imaging has a number of other advantages. It not only detects active termites but also inactive termite nests. This is very useful in protecting the building structure and its integrity. The use of this process allows early detection which means the treatment for eradication and removal of termites and moisture will be less expensive as well as less extensive. A lot of costs can be saved in this manner. This latest technology is able to detect hidden termites in some of the difficult to reach areas such as inside walls, under floor coverings and ceiling cavities. Besides termites, thermal pest cameras are also used for the detection of other pests such as rats and possums.

Thermal imaging is the latest trend in the pest control industry and is rapidly expanding as more pest control companies buy these expensive cameras for effective detection of pests and termites in commercial and residential buildings. These can be used for current as well as new home structures to ensure the house is free from these tiny creatures that can cause great harm to the structure as well health of the residents. For better building inspections, pest inspections, and pool inspections in Brisbane it is recommended to hire a company that uses all latest techniques and equipment.

Secrets To Increasing The Value Of Your Investment Property

Purchasing a rental property is a good investment, but how about making it an even better one by adding more value to your property? You may need to shell out some money, but it will definitely increase your rental yield. Tenants are always on the lookout for a great home to move into and they will be willing to pay more for some little extras that will make their day to day lives more comfortable.

However, while most rental property owners understand the benefit of adding value to their property, they aren’t too sure of how or where to start. So here are some of the suggestions we give our clients at Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services.

Furnish the Place

If fully furnishing a property is too expensive, you can still go for part-furnishing your property. This can include adding some tables, chairs, living room furniture and certain appliances, such as a washing machine and a dishwasher. Additional cabinets and other storage spaces are also attractive to tenants.

Consider Landscaping

Making a property a comfortable place to live in is not only limited to its indoor design. Especially when you own a rental property with a garden and outdoor space, its landscape alone may already entice tenants. Adding outdoor furniture and beautifying the exterior does not only make your property look presentable and attractive, it can also look and feel more relaxing to tenants.

Replace the Roof or Flooring

If the property you own has been standing for many years, it might be time for repairs. Replacing damaged roofs and flooring can give you an edge when putting up your property for rent. No one likes living in a place with leaking roofs and chipped floor tiles, so investing in these changes will not only add value the property but also attract long-term tenancies.

Renovate Rooms

Renovating can be costly, but then again, it can also increase your rental income by several folds. You can add an extra bedroom or bathroom, or redesign the kitchen and you’ll find that more renters will be interested in the bigger space you offer.

When renovating, try to keep the design and styles neutral to make it more inviting to a variety of prospective tenants. You may not also need to completely renovate the entire room, but replacement of tiles and countertops, and repairing of door knobs, windows and pipes may be necessary.

Ensure that Your Property is Pest-free

There is nothing less attractive to tenants than being presented with a rental property that comes with pests. Even before putting up an advert for your rental property, have your home inspected by Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services for traces of pest infestations, and have the pests eliminated immediately, if necessary.

A complete building and pest inspection will not only increase your credibility as a landlord, but it could also help you identify areas that you need to renovate or repair before renting out your property.

Building and Defect and Pest Detection A Must

We have discovered that it can be an interesting exercise to undertake a presale property inspection on behalf of the owner of the property.

Usually, Brisbane Building and Pest Inspections carry out this style of inspection on behalf of a prospective purchaser of a property. The reasons that purchasers ask us to complete an inspection such as this is for them to obtain an insight into the integrity of the structure of the building and grounds.

Many times, a purchaser has been caught out and discovered that their dream home is riddled with white ants, or has a damaged roof, for instance, and needs urgent attention, the costs of which can run into the thousands.

This is why these inspections have become a standard condition in a Contract of Sale in Australia.

Any building defects or issues with pests that are detected during a property and pest inspection can then be used to renegotiate the purchase price.

Presale Inspections – the Advantages

For some, the fact that a property owner has gone to this trouble may ring some bells and have them still seeking the services of another inspector.

The advantages, however, to a property owner conducting their own pest and building inspection can protect them in many ways. It can be quite revealing and save them time and money with any repairs, et cetera. that may be necessary.

As we know, for example, white ants can be sneaky little creatures and a vendor may not even be aware that they are housing these destructible fiends. If caught early the risk of property damage and devaluation can be averted.

If any structural defects are discovered when we inspect a vendor’s home they are able to attend to any repairs they deem essential at their own leisure instead of stressing by trying to satisfy the needs of a contractual agreement, which may only give them two weeks or less to make good the damages.