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Building Information

Asbestos:

Information freely available from the Western Australian Department of Health states; "West Australians are reminded to take care when renovating houses built prior to 1988, as it is likely that such houses contain asbestos materials".

According to experts when materials that contain asbestos are in good condition and left undisturbed, they do not pose a risk to your health. When you're doing home repairs or renovations you need to be aware that this might disturb asbestos fibers. DIY renovators and trades people are most at risk. They are more likely to undertake jobs such as using power tools, sawing or sanding etc, which can release asbestos fibers into the air where they can be inhaled. In some people this can lead to asbestos related diseases. If you are concerned about the possibility of asbestos in your home, find out what year the house was built. Also visually check to see where it might be and make sure any materials are in good condition, not cracked or broken. If you are unsure whether a material contains asbestos, it's safest to treat it as if it does. If you plan to undertake repairs or renovations that involve disturbing or removing materials containing asbestos, it's important to take precautions.

For information on safe handling of asbestos products in WA, and asbestos in the house, contact: The Environmental Health Officer in your local government or the Government of Western Australia, Department of Health.

Dual Building and Termite Inspection Services:

Be careful when engaging the services of a dual building/termite combination inspection service as the rise of this category is alarming. Check the credentials of who is doing this service, i.e. if only one person is coming to the inspection what qualifications do they have. There are no licensing requirements to be either a building or pest inspector in Western Australia. We recently came across a case where one inspector did a combination inspection of building and pest, however failed to find major live termite activity in a large section of the roof. This inspector claimed within their website to use thermal imaging to detect termites, however in this instance the process either failed or was not instigated.

Buyer Beware:

It has been brought to our attention that a finance company refused to accept a building inspection report that had been performed by a building inspection business because A) the person performing the inspection was not a registered builder and B) the business was not covered by all relevant insurances including professional indemnity insurance.
Buyer Beware. Ask the questions before you book your inspection.

Termite Inspection:

For your pre purchase termite inspection we always recommend Pete from The Termite King who can be contacted on 93445132 or pete@thetermiteking.com.au

The Visual, Thermal, Radar and Moisture Inspection can give you complete peace of mind on that new property purchase - you can be assured that there are no Termites hiding in unsighted areas of the potential new home, that may possibly have a nasty sting in years to come!We service most areas of Perth and some regional areas including Pemberton and Manjimup - for your convenience - eradicating most General Pests.  

Windows:

We often see mild corrosion forming on aluminium window & door frames. Home owners need to be aware that frames need regular cleaning with water & detergent to prevent deterioration of these frames as per manufacturers recommendations.

Smoke Alarms:

The Building Code of Australia requires smoke alarms to be installed on every level of a home and between living and sleeping areas. Depending on the design of your home you may require more than one alarm.

Hard-wired (connected to mains power) smoke alarms are compulsory in all new homes. Where mains power is not available the alarm has to be fitted with a 10 year life battery that cannot be removed.

Legislation states that smoke detectors are required to be installed on the sale of an existing home, if not already provided, be hard wired and installed prior to settlement taking place. This is required to be carried out by the vendors.

Smoke alarms have a limited service lifespan - up to 10 years and should be checked regularly to ensure they are performing as designed.

Construction/Building Deposits:

There are a growing number of people wishing to make improvements to their existing home with the addition of an extra room, large patio or possibly an enclosed garage etc. People should be aware that a builder must be registered under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011 to carry out building work where:

  • a building permit is required
  • the value is $20,000 or more

People should also be aware that under the Home Building Contracts Act (1991), the maximum deposit for “building and associated work” is 6.5% of the contract value for building work contracts over $7,500. 

Inspectors Qualifications:

An ever increasing number of building inspectors are advertising their services. There is no recognized qualification in West Australia to be a building inspector. We at Perth Home Building Inspections believe that the minimum requirement a building inspector should have is to be a fully qualified registered building practitioner or contractor with an unrestricted license, who has physically worked as a practising builder, constructing homes and additions, someone who is fully conversant with the Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards.When booking an inspection we suggest asking what qualifications and experience the building inspector has. 

Registered builders names and license numbers, including any restrictions, can be found at the West Australian Building Commission website:- Our building inspectors name is James McDonagh and his registration number is 10496                     http://onlineservices.buildingcommission.wa.gov.au/consumers/find-a-registered-building-service/builders  

Building Commission:

Our reporting system is designed to comply with the format required by the Building Commission of WA when lodging a complaint with them. The building commission is usually the next avenue for people having disputes with a builder, but sometimes the building commission will not take on your complaint.  Instead you may be asked to provide evidence by way of an independent evaluation. To put forward a complaint is not just a matter of stating that an item is wrong. Correct wording, thorough investigation and knowledge of Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia are needed to word the report correctly.

Leaking Showers:

Waterproofing methods and standards have improved in Western Australia over the years, however we still find a high percentage of shower enclosures with moisture problems. 

During our pre purchase building inspections, we perform moisture testing to check for leaking shower enclosures. Undetected leaks, if not attended to over a period of time, may cause deterioration of structural elements, surrounding surfaces and possible health issues. Moisture presence is not always apparent to the naked eye, therefore we use an electronic moisture meter during our inspections to detect moisture problems.

Replacing tiles and installing a waterproofing membrane in a shower enclosure to alleviate moisture problems can be a costly exercise. Depending on the severity of the deterioration within the shower recess, one option may be to seal the tile joints. Companies such as http://www.megasealed.com.au perform non destructive waterproofing of shower enclosures without the mess and expense of re tiling the shower enclosure.

Keeping up with current  Australian Standards and Building Codes:

Australian building standards are prepared by Standards Australia http://www.standards.org.au

Standards Australia is the nation's peak non-government Standards organization. It is charged by the Commonwealth Government to meet Australia's need for contemporary, internationally aligned Standards and related services.

When buildings are being constructed they should conform to a set of building standards, provided in the form of the Building Code of Australia and the relevant Australian Standards. These specify the minimum building requirements that should be adhered to during construction.

These standards get updated periodically. It is possible, due to the work load of some builders and building supervisors, that they may be unable to keep abreast of these updates, which in turn may lead to the building not conforming to the minimum building standards required during construction.

Using a professional building inspector who is knowledgeable with current building standards is a worthwhile expense if you are unfamiliar with the construction process of your intended house or building purchase.

Pre Purchase Building Inspection:

The purchase of a home is probably the single largest investment you will ever make. A home inspection by a professional helps you protect that investment. 

Because the quality of some building consultants reports have been an issue for the West Australian Building Disputes Tribunal, it is important to choose wisely.

A large number of people are unaware that in Western Australia there is no registration requirement to become a building inspector, therefore we suggest asking if the inspector is a registered builder who has constructed buildings and worked in this state as a builder, someone who knows and understands building codes and standards. 

How thorough is the report and how easy is it to understand? These are valid questions which will help you choose the correct inspector for your purchase.

Practical Completion Inspection:

This is a term that is applied by the builder to state that all building work is complete or all but completed, in accordance with the contract, and the house is reasonably fit for occupation.

A building contract usually defines practical completion as when all works are completed except for any defects or omissions which do not prevent the home from being used for its intended purpose. This is also defined in the Home Building Contracts Act. In other words, if the unfinished items prevent the home from being “lived in” then practical completion could be deemed not to have occurred.

Usually the builder shall notify the owner when the builder considers that practical completion has occurred and with FIVE (5) days the builder or their representative shall meet at the works to carry out a pre-handover inspection. During the pre-handover inspection the parties shall agree to a list of items which may require completion or rectification and should be signed by both parties as an acknowledgement of items to be attended to. 

At this stage the final progress claim becomes due within FIVE (5) days after practical completion. Even though minor works may still need to be carried out, withholding some or all of the final payment until they are completed is considered a breach of contract, because this is not what they have agreed to.

The builder has a contractual obligation to repair these minor defects, but this may not necessarily happen before handover although most builders would attempt to do so. Many items are attended to in or at the end of the defects liability period (usually a period of four months after practical completion for many residential contracts and sometimes called the maintenance period).

Practical completion is an important stage of the building process but buyers must understand that not every last detail will necessarily be completed at that time. In short, at practical completion, the builder is paid in full, the owner takes occupancy and the defects liability period starts. The Building Disputes Tribunal or the courts will act if the builder does not meet the defects liability obligations.

Connections:

www.lacartes.com

Swimming Pool Inspection:

During our Comprehensive inspections we will check around pool areas. We look at the paving and also the height and stability of fences and gates. We are not pool technicians though and if you do require an examination of your pool, or perhaps someone to show you how your pool works, then you might need to try a specialist in the field like poolwerx.