Dodgy Decks

The term “Dodgy Decks” is often taken a bit flippantly, but make no mistake, a poorly constructed or badly weathered deck can have deadly consequences. You may recall recent news reports of serious injuries and fatalities in the Nambour area resulting from collapsing residential decks.

Residential timber decks are built for normal domestic use and can fail due to a number of causes such as poor construction, over-loading, and deterioration due to weathering. They should be inspected by a competent and licensed person every 12 months to check for signs of deterioration. They must be kept well sealed and ventilated to help prevent deterioration. If you are considering a large gathering on the deck, you are advised to have a structural engineer inspect and advise of the safe loading capacity of the deck.

It is not just weathering that can cause a deck to collapse. Poor construction methods have been the cause of serious failures in the past, and often these two causes are waiting for an event such as a few extra people on the deck to set off the time bomb.

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The deck supports to this Bundaberg house are obviously “dodgy” to even the untrained eye, however most problems with decks are not so obvious and this is why they require careful scrutiny by an experienced professional.

The Building Services Authority recommends that all structural framing members and their connections and support points below the floor level of decks and balconies should be unenclosed and not sheeted, to allow full visual inspection. If these areas must be enclosed and not visible for inspection then the framing and connections should be sufficiently durable to accommodate periodic wetting and drying, and all penetrations from the deck framing and fixings to the house walls should be flashed and sealed with permanent durable materials.

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In the case of one of the recently published Nambour failures, water penetration to the wall was one of the causes of the collapse. Rain water had been entering the wall cladding penetrations and rotted the house wall framing, which then caused the deck to collapse similar to the one shown in the photo above.

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other building matter, you can call Trevor at BPI Building and Pest Inspections on (07) 5456 2210 visit http://buildingandpestinspectionnambour.com.au or email us on sunshinecoastnorth@bpic.com.au

Termite damage to home in Nambour

The termite damage to this home was extensive

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· Damage to architraves

· Termite damage to coverstrips

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· Live Termites to subfloor

· There was no visible evidence of a previous treatment to this home.

· The recommendation for this home was the underfloor space be treated with termicide followed by yearly inspections.

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other building matter, you can call Trevor at BPI Building and Pest Inspections on (07) 5456 2210 visit http://buildingandpestinspectionnambour.com.au or email us on sunshinecoastnorth@bpic.com.au

BEWARE OF HALOGEN LIGHT DEATH TRAPS

Thousands of homes fitted with recessed halogen down lights are potential death traps. These lights generate high amounts of heat and have the potential to start a ceiling fire. Ceiling fires are particularly dangerous as the fire can be spreading rapidly in the roof cavity without activating a ceiling mounted smoke detector and residents are not aware of the fire until the roof starts to collapse around them.

I have frequently seen these lights installed too close to timber roof framing, or fitted into timber and hardboard ceiling panels. Another problem is roof insulation installed or displaced too close to the light. Regulations require loose fill insulation to be restrained by barriers around the light, but in my experience these are often either not present or so flimsy that they have collapsed over the light. Another unforseen problem is leaf litter that is blown into the roof cavity and can land on the lights.

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This light is one of several in a Brisbane home mounted in a hardboard ceiling.

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A Nambour home owner was lucky to escape a house fire recently when she smelt smoke coming from a light fitting. Fortunately the fire department arrived in time to extinguish the fire. A roof inspection revealed insufficient clearance from insulation to the light was to blame.

There are approved light guards available to protect against these hazards but it is a very rare occurrence that I see them in a roof cavity. When you consider that halogen lights are very inefficient at making light and so dangerous, it makes sense to replace them with one of the much safer and more efficient options available today such as compact fluro or LED lights. Lighting retailers and licensed electricians can advise on the best options for your requirements.

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other building matter, you can call Trevor at BPI Building and Pest Inspections on (07) 5456 2210 visit http://buildingandpestinspectionnambour.com.au or email us on sunshinecoastnorth@bpic.com.au

Structurally Unsound and Unsafe

This week is the first time I recommended a house be demolished! It was found to be structurally unsound and unsafe. It was very old but the purchaser wanted to see if there was any way it could be saved. We found most of the flooring had been eaten by termites, most of the wall structure, some of the roof frame and we could hear the termites working in the walls while standing in the bedroom.

 

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The key to keeping a building in good order for longer is regular maintenance and regular Pest Inspections along with treatments if required.

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other building matter, you can call Trevor at BPI Building and Pest Inspections on (07) 5456 2210 visit http://buildingandpestinspectionnambour.com.au or email us on sunshinecoastnorth@bpic.com.au

Subsidence/ movement to verandah

BPI Nambour finds signs of movement to rear verandah.  Unsafe handrail – large gaps.

  • subsidence/movement to deck
  • large gaps to handrails
  • weather damage to frame timbers

bpi gladstone - subsidence movement kerandah

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other building matter, you can call Trevor at BPI Building and Pest Inspections on (07) 5456 2210 visit http://buildingandpestinspectionnambour.com.au or email us on sunshinecoastnorth@bpic.com.au

Safety Issue – BPI duty of care

Electrical safety issue and should be referred to an electrician for repairs.

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· Conduit is damaged

· Exposed electrical wires to hot water system

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other building matter, you can call Trevor at BPI Building and Pest Inspections on (07) 5456 2210 visit http://buildingandpestinspectionnambour.com.au or email us on sunshinecoastnorth@bpic.com.au

Building and Pest Inspection Nambour

find Termites in Treated Pine fence

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Treated pine fence full of termites

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If you cut a treated pine paling you leave an unprotected entry point for termites, the cut must be treated.

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other building matter, you can call Trevor at BPI Building and Pest Inspections on (07) 5456 2210 visit http://buildingandpestinspectionnambour.com.au or email us on sunshinecoastnorth@bpic.com.au

Safety Issue – BPI duty of care

Electrical safety issue and should be referred to an electrician for repairs.

· Conduit is damaged

· Exposed electrical wires to hot water system

2013-10-28 16.06.10

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other building matter, you can call Trevor at BPI Building and Pest Inspections on (07) 5456 2210 visit http://buildingandpestinspectionnambour.com.au or email us on sunshinecoastnorth@bpic.com.au

Concrete Cancer

 

20131002_123448I conducted an inspection on 2nd October and found a prime example of
concrete cancer to an entrance verandah slab- see photo.
Concrete cancer is usually caused by placing the steel reinforcement too close
to the external slab edges- usually less that 50mm. Water penetration causes
the concrete reinforcement to rust and expand which in turn creates stresses
on the surrounding concrete which can then spall (break away). The initial
cause of concrete cancer is usually water penetration. When calcium oxide
reacts with water that penetrates the concrete it forms a solution of calcium
hydroxide.
Concrete cancer can be treated in some structures. In order to repair the
damaged areas, the spalled concrete must be removed and any exposed steel
must either be replaced or cleaned and treated with rust inhibitor. The area is
then repaired to the original concrete profile by coating the exposed area with
Bondcrete and using cement mortar, epoxy mortar or concrete, depending on
the size of the damage and the structural requirements.
Cracks are repaired using suitable epoxy resins, special mortars and injection
techniques. This process is referred to as ‘crack injection’ and may constitute a
negative membrane. Negative membranes will not prevent water from
entering the concrete, merely shift the water’s direction through the slab.
Treatment of concrete cancer must incorporate proper waterproofing or risk
being a temporary solution.
Concrete cancer is increasingly common in structures which have not been
sufficiently waterproofed. As builders cut costs on waterproofing membranes,
the problems are increasing. The incidence of concrete cancer is particularly
high in countries such as Australia where liquid applied membranes are still
commonly used. Liquid membranes are often used inappropriately, and lead to
water penetrating into the concrete. If early symptoms including the presence
of calcium stalactites beneath the slab and visible rust from the slab are
apparent, a stop leak specialist should be called immediately to assess the
potential for damage.

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other building matter, you can call Trevor at BPI Building and Pest Inspections on (07) 5456 2210 visit http://buildingandpestinspectionnambour.com.au or email us on sunshinecoastnorth@bpic.com.au

BPI Sunshine Coast North Intro Video

Trevor has lived on the Sunshine Coast for many years and worked  in the Building Industry in Qld for Over 30 years.

He offers prompt and Professional Service, with a fair and honest evaluation of your inspection.

Trevor uses the latest technology in Thermal Imaging Cameras and Moisture Meters.

Trevor offers a personal service, he welcomes you to attend the inspection and answer any questions you may have.

We deliver an easy to read  computer written report with  colour photos within 24 hours by email.

Just call and we organize the rest.