Ipswich Building Inspector

DedAnt Building and Pest Inspections is your trusted Building and Pest Inspector Ipswich.  Ipswich City located in the South East Queensland region of Australia. To the east is the capital city Brisbane, and to the west are the rural and agricultural areas of the Brisbane, Lockyer Valley and Fassifern Valley.  An easy  40 minutes drive from Brisbane, an hours drive from the Gold Coast and 60 minutes drive from domestic and international air and sea ports, Ipswich has a lot going for it.

Ipswich  has a population of around 210,000 people. Ipswich enjoys a subtropical climate and is a safe, friendly and multicultural city.

As Queensland’s oldest provincial city, Ipswich has a rich history. It is renowned for its architectural, natural and cultural heritage. Ipswich proudly preserves and still operates from many of its historical buildings and homes, with more than 6000 heritage-listed sites. Ipswich also has a range of charming townships within the western rural areas of the city, each with its own legitimate claims of historical significance.

Why choose DedAnt Building and Pest for your Ipswich Inspection?

Buying a property could well be one of  the largest investments you will make in your life. That’s why we deliver easy-to-read reports to help you make the right decision.  Our building and timber pest inspection reports are in line with the Australian Standards, giving you peace of mind that you are making an informed decision on your purchase and getting what you are paying for.

Dedant is your trusted Ipswich Building Inspector . With knowledgeable, local, trade qualified inspectors and friendly, helpful customer service staff, you can be 100% guaranteed that your Brisbane inspection will be thorough and our reports comprehensive.   Our inspectors are trade qualified builders, so can provide general advice about maintenance and repairs.  Each report contains the inspectors personal phone number, so they can answer any further questions that you have.

At DedAnt Building and Pest Inspections, we guarantee easy to read, fast turnaround, building and pest reports in Ipswich.  Our inspections are comprehensive and very thorougher however our building reports and inspection reports are delivered quickly, usually within 24 hours of completion of the inspection.

Need an urgent Building and Pest Inspection in Ipswich?

If you need a same day building and pest inspection in Brisbane, call us and we will do our best to schedule it.  Our easy to read reports contain a summary of all major and minor defects for quick reference.

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steel corrosion

Steel Corrosion

Steel corrosion is a common household problem. This is particularly evident in steel column corrosion.

In this blog, we will examine the corrosion of structural steel, what problems can result and how to prevent it.

But first, it is important to understand what structural steel.

Structural steel

Structural steel is a type of steel that is used in construction.

In households, structural steel can be used in frames, beams to support and hold up decks, columns that make up deck railings and more.

Steel has many benefits.

Firstly, it is very durable and resistant to damage.

Compared to wood, steel is more resistant to the effects of weather, fires, termites, splitting, creeping and rotting.

As such, this means that steel lasts longer before requiring repairs. This in turn makes steel a more effective in the long-term, as the cost of repairs can quickly add up.

Steel is also 100% recyclable, making it more beneficial for the environment.

Steel also gives homes a straighter finish along roof lines, ceilings and walls, while timber rooves, ceilings and walls are more prone to warping as time goes by.

steel corrosion

The metal frame of a house that is being constructed.

The cause of steel corrosion

While there are many benefits to structural steel, it is not without problems.

The most serious of these is corrosion.

Corrosion of steel is caused when moisture and oxygen react with the metal.

Upon being exposed to moisture and oxygen, the iron in steel oxidises to produce rust.

Rust is an example of corrosion that impacts iron-containing metals.

steel corrosion

Rust on the roof of a house that Dedant inspected

The effects of rust

The impact of rust on steel is very serious. It causes a flaky reddish-brown coating to form on metal.

This rapidly reduces the durability of the steel, making it thinner and prone to damage.

If left to spread, rust can destroy even the largest of steel structures.

steel corrosion

Rust has completely broken a metal support beam and separated it from the ground

Rust in the home

In terms of a residential house, rust is generally found in a few common areas.

These include rust in corrugated roof, steel columns and beams, railings, nuts and bolts, water heaters, gutters and downpipes, ant caps, and door hinges

The impact of rust can include:

  • Rust can cause holes to form in rooves.
  • Beams and columns can become damaged at the base or top, disconnecting them from the ground or the house
  • Railings can become flimsy and hazardous
  • Nuts and bolts can degrade and break apart, making structures come apart
  • Water heaters get rusted and become defective – this can cause the water itself to become rusty
  • Gutters and downpipes can leak as a result of result
  • Holes can form in ant caps, making them ineffective at exposing infestations
  • Rust on metal hinges can cause the hinges to snap off when you try and open the door

The impact of rust can range from minor annoyance to major health hazard, but even minor issues can become major if left unaddressed.

steel corrosion

Rust on a water heater. This can cause your water to become rusty.

How to prevent rust

The best way to protect your home from steel corrosion is to prevent rust from occurring.

The number one way to prevent rust is to keep steel clean and dry.

Cracks and scratches expose metal and hold more water, so you should avoid anything that damages the metal. Smoother surfaces also do not trap and hold water the way rougher metal surfaces

You can apply a protective coating to the steel around your home using rust preventing sprays, wipes and paints.

Using stainless steel and galvanized metals in construction can also make your home more rust resistant.

Rusted gutters and downpipes. This is caused by leakages.

How to fix rust

If you notice rust around the home that you were unable to prevent, you can take steps to fix the problem.

Your first option is to simply get rid of the rusty fixture and purchase another one. This may be necessary for objects like water heaters, screws or columns that have been damaged beyond repair.

However, for items like rooves that have suffered damage, they may be salvageable.

If you notice rust, you should scrape, grind or scout it off as soon as it appears. Alternately, you can use chemicals to remove rust.

Smooth out any bumps from the removal and wash the area with warm water and soap. After this, apply an anti-rust coating and new paint.

 

settlement crack woodridge

Cracking in houses, when do I need to worry?

Australia has been experiencing one of the worst droughts in history, causing more and bigger cracking in houses than has been seen previously.

When you first notice a crack, it might not seem like much. Before too long, that annoying little crack creeps further and widens becoming concerning.

Depending on the size of the crack and where it is, it can indicate different things. However, all cracks need to be taken seriously. It is very common to notice cracking in houses during a building inspection.  Cracks can often be seen in flooring (particularly garage floors that are uncovered), walls, fences, and driveways.

In this blog we will discuss the causes of cracks what they mean for your property.

1)    Cracking in houses and hot, dry weather

Most house cracks are caused because of the ground under the foundation shifting.

This shifting is commonly caused by soil drying out and contracting, which moves the house footing. Often, this movement is uneven, and this is what causes cracks and fissures.

The type of soil your house is built om matters greatly.

Clay soils are slow to absorb water, while sand and loam absorb water quickly.

As such clay soils are more prone to shrinkage due to lack of moisture, so cracks happen more often in houses built on clay.

cracking in houses

An example of a large crack in a brick wall.

2)  Cracking in houses and moist soil

Heavy rainfall and other sources of water can also cause soil to shift.

As soils such as sand and loam are quick to absorb water, they are quick to expand because of rainfall.

This shifting can also cause cracking in houses.

Quick changes from dry and hot weather to cold and damp weather can exacerbate this process and make cracks even worse.

3)     Other effects of water

Heavy rainfall, surface run-off, excessive use of garden sprinklers and leaky downpipes can cause soil to wash away from the foundation of your home, causing your home to shift.

As the house shifts due to changes in the soil, cracks may appear.

cracking in houses

An example of water leakage in a wooden deck. Water leakages around the home can cause cracks in floors and walls.

4)     Trees and shrubs

The roots of trees and shrubs located around your property draw moisture away from the foundations of your home.

The way tree roots draw moisture away from the foundations causes soil shrinkage and therefore, cracks.

Conversely, removing tree roots will cause the soil to reabsorb lost moisture, causing soil to expand and creating movement.

5)     Cracking in houses caused by vibrations

Houses can also move and shift because of nearby ground vibrations caused by nearby construction and heavy traffic.

These vibrations can move the foundation of your home and cause cracks.

6)     Uneven settlement

If a house is built on uneven ground, as it settles this can cause stress on the structure will quickly cause cracks.

Generally, this problem occurs in newly build properties, however it can also occur when a new extension is added to a home.

cracking in houses

An example of a settlement crack in the ceiling of a home.

7)     Cracks as the building ages

As your home ages, it will adjust to environmental conditions which will result in shrinkage and warping, which can cause cracks.

8)     Poor structural design

Structural design can influence the rate at which the house cracks, particularly if the design is poor or has significant faults.

Insufficient bracing and support can cause movement while the concrete is green, resulting in cracks.

The removal or cutting of too much wall framing can also result in sagging and cracking.

Inadequate protective covering against heat on the roof can cause heat to warp the house, particularly if the building has a metal frame.

9)     Cracks in driveways

Driveways often become cracked because heavy vehicles drive on them, day after day.

Over time, this causes the concrete to crack and buckle.

cracking in houses

A crack in a driveway.

10)  House cracks in vacant homes

If you leave a house unoccupied for too long, this can result in cracks in both the ceiling and the walls.

This is because that when people are home, they will always be adjusting the temperature of the building to ensure comfort.

However, when no one is at home, the building can become very hot, very quickly. This extreme temperature can cause cracks.

During particularly hot summers, residents can leave for two weeks and return to find large cracks in the wall.

How to find cracking in houses

If you are concerned about cracks, you can engage a building inspector or engineer for more information.

They can conduct pre-purchase and pre-sale building inspections, dilapidation reports, new construction reports, as well as renovation reports.

Building reports examine faults around in and around the property including cracks.

Dilapidation reports look at the condition of the building prior to renovation work and then examines if any damage because of construction. This is particularly helpful to determine cracks caused by vibrations.

New construction reports examine the quality of newly built homes, including whether any cracks have formed due to settlement or poor construction.

Renovation reports will inform you what parts of your home are structurally safe and which parts should not be touched.

Cracking in houses can become a major issue if left unaddressed, so do not leave it until it is too late.

 

water leaking loganlea

10 tips for spotting water damage when buying

When house hunting, looking out for water damage when buying is essential.

Water is the cause of many major household problems that can end up costing you thousands of dollars down the line.

As such, it is vital that you know what signs to look for so you can spot water damage when buying.

1)     Musty smell

Before even walking through the door, one obvious sign of water damage when buying might be the smell.

Houses with water damage produce a smell like wet cardboard or paper.

The smell can waft through the entire property, but it is strongest in areas that have water damage. These are generally the bathroom, kitchen and laundry.

2)     Poorly maintained gutters

Poorly maintained gutters are another sign of water damage.

Gutters are designed to divert water away from the house and safely into the garden or municipal damage.

When they are damaged, this can cause rainwater to spill onto your property and damage it.

3)     Pools of water near the foundation

Tying into the gutters issue is the existence of polls of water near the foundation of the home.

Pools of water near the home’s foundation is a sign the yard isn’t draining away properly, which can lead to a build up of moisture

Water leakage in the sub floor of a home.

4)     Appearance of mould

Mould is a type of discoloured, fuzzy fungal growth that forms in the home due to excessive moisture and humidity.

Mould spreads over time and can have major health effects on people living in an infested home.

Such health effects include breathing problems, nasal congestion, coughing, throat irritation and other respiratory issues.

Look for dark coloured spots on the walls, like so:

An example of mould growth on the ceiling.

5)     Condensation

Windows can show signs of moisture through condensation.

If you see windows becoming cloudy or wet and it hasn’t rained recently, this is a sign that there is an issue with the plumbing, pipes or drainage.

6)     Warped floors

Warped floors are a sign that underfloor drainage issues. Such warping includes uneven tiling, carpet lifting, damp carpets and soft spots in wooden floorboards.

Uneven flooring creates a tripping hazard and moisture often makes surfaces dangerous to walk on due to the threat of slipping.

Uneven tiles near a pool. Can be a sign of issues with plumbing.

7)     Rust

Rust on metal objects are a tell-tale sign of excess moisture. This is doubly true if rust can be found in areas not exposed to the outside.

Rust forms when iron and oxygen react to water or moisture in the air.

Rust generally manifest as brown-orange mark. If left unchecked, it can make metal corrode over time.

This ultimately makes appliances fragile and can even make the structure of your home unsafe.

Checking for rust is a must-do when looking to buy a home.

Rust on a water heater in a residential home.

8)     Outdated water supply system

When buying a home, you should ensure the quality of the water supply system is assured.

If left too long without a proper inspection, your pipes can rust, get damaged by tree roots growing into them or face some other form of damage.

Even if the pipes are in good condition, the connections and faucets can still leak.

As such, getting a pre-purchase plumbing inspection is essential.

9)     Sound of running water

One often unnoticed sign of water damage is the sound.

If you hear dripping or even the rush of running mater, this is a sign that there may be a leak or burst pipe.

A creaking sound coming from your floors can also be a sign of underfloor drainage issues.

10)  Flaking paint

Water damage can also manifest behind walls and ceilings, causing the paint to flake away.

It may also crack or bubble.

Paint flaking in Hillcrest.

What to do if you find evidence of water damage

Firstly, you should book a further inspection to assess the extent of the damage.

If you find water damage when buying, or looking to buy a home, this can influence the price of the home.

From there, negotiate with the seller to see about fixing the problems, or depending on the extent of damage, lowering the price.

If you cannot come to an agreement with the seller about these things, it is best to move on.

pool fence sunshine coast

Buying a house in Queensland with a pool – What do you need to know?

Almost 20% of Brisbane residents have a pool.

If you are looking at buying a house with a pool in Brisbane, it is a great idea to get some advice from a pool professional.

Like a pre-purchase building inspection, a pre-purchase pool inspection can save you from costly repairs that you might miss when looking at the property.

In addition, all residential pools must comply with state government regulations by having a pool safety certificate and be registered on the Government’s pool safety register.

Having an unregistered pool is both dangerous and can result in a fine of $235.60-$2356 to the owner.

Pool Safety Certificate

A pool safety certificate is given to properties that pass a pool safety inspection. It is evidence that the pool meets government standards.

When buying a home with a pool, it can be sold to you with or without a pool safety certificate.

The seller must give you a copy of the certificate, which they can access on the pool register which is kept by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

However if you are not given a pool safety certificate you must receive a Form 36-notice of no pool safety certificate prior to entering a contract of sale.

The seller must send a completed copy of the form to the QBCC, before the settlement of the property.

However, if you are renting, the owner must give you a pool safety certificate.

Some pools have clear barriers rather than traditional fences. They still need to comply with the standards set by the QLD government.

Certification

A pool must be pass inspection before it be certified.  As such, a pool safety inspection should be carried out.

This must be conducted by a qualified professional and can cost anywhere from $100 to $250, depending on the size of the pool.

To become an accredited pool safety inspector, they must complete the 10660NAT Course in Swimming Pool Safety Inspections.

Always ensure any inspector you hire has this course completed.

The main issues of pool safety include fences, climbable objects, gates, doors, signage, doors and windows.

Most compliance is based around making sure the pool is not easily accessible to children.

Fences

Fences must be at least 1200mm from the top to the ground level. The gap between the bottom of the fence and the ground should be 100mm.

There must be a gap of at least 900mm between any horizontal railings on the outside, while gaps for vertical railings cannot exceed 100mm.

If the horizontal rails do not have a gap of at least 900mm, then they must be on the inside and the gaps between vertical rails still cannot exceed 100mm.

Claimable objects must be at least 900mm away from the outside of any fence that is less than 1800mm high. For climbable objects inside the fence, climbable objects must be 300mm away.

For fences that are 1800mm high or more, all climbable objects in the pool area should be 900mm from the fence.

Any climbable object too close to the fence effectively reduces the effective height of the fence for the purposes of an inspection.

A pool with a tall fence.

Gates

The pool gate must not open inwards and must be self-closing and self-latching from all positions.

Latches must be at least 1500mm from the ground and 1400mm above the highest horizontal bar.

If not, it must be necessary to reach over through the fence at a height of 1200mm off the ground in order to open.

Alternately, it must be at least 1000m above the highest horizontal bar of the fence and 150mm below the top of the gate.

It may also be necessary to put a 450mm radius shield around the latch with no openings larger than 10mm.

Pool gate hinges thicker than 100mm must be 900mm apart, or more. If this is not possible, the lower hinge must have a non-climbable safety cap to prevent climbing.

Signage

A compliant CPR sign must be displayed near the pool so that it is easily visible near the pool.

Doors and windows

As per the guidelines, no door from the house or other building should lead directly into the pool area. Any entrant should always be required to go through the proper gate.

Any window that opens into the pool area must have a security screen or must not open wider than 100mm.

Provided all these elements of your pool meet the standards, you pool will receive a Pool Safety Certificate.

Pre-Purchase Pool Inspection

A pre-purchase pool inspection determines the integrity of the pool and ensures everything is working as it should.

This inspection looks at elements such as the appearance of the pool surface, pool filtration, pumps, light, water/chemical balance, pool cleaner, skimmer box, baskets and more.

The underground plumbing might also be inspected, checking for leaks.

Upon completion of an inspection, you will be issued a full written report that will go over the details.

Using information about any faults, you can negotiate with the seller about the price of the home.

pool inspection

Equipment used to service and clean pools.

Pool Handover Inspection

If you are new to owning a pool, a pool handover inspection is a great way to learn how to properly maintain and care for your new pool.

The technician will teach you how to clean the pool, including cleaning the filter and pump.

You will also learn about chlorination and whether to use salt, chlorine or some other form.

You will be taught when and how to empty baskets.

Furthermore, the training will teach you how to adjust timers and setting.

Different pools have different needs, so it is vital to contact an expert and get a pool handover.

asbestos

What is involved with Asbestos Testing

From the 1940s up until the mid-1990s, asbestos was a common fixture in the Australian building industry. This is due to its durability, insulating properties and fireproof nature.

However, it was eventually found that the fibres of asbestos were toxic to humans.

As such, production of asbestos was stopped and using all forms of asbestos was banned.

Any houses in Australia built pre 1995 likely contain asbestos material.

The Dangers of Asbestos

Asbestos is safe if it is undamaged and undisturbed.

However, once it is damaged, fibres are released into the air that are invisible to the human eye and float through the air.

If breathed in, these fibres could cause lung scarring, lung cancer, mesothelioma and various other lung related issues.

The health impacts from asbestos can take 50 years to show, but asbestos has been linked to hundreds of deaths a year in Australia and kills 90,000 people per year across the world.

asbestos testing

Asbestos is a deadly hazard.

Asbestos in construction

Prior to the mid-1980s, it was common practice for houses to have had asbestos used to construct the home.

From the mid-1980s to 1995, it is still possible that asbestos was used to build your home.

If your house was built after 1995, it is much less likely that your home would contain asbestos, though it is not impossible.

In 2003 it was made illegal to buy, sell, import, supply, use or re-use asbestos.

Asbestos in the home

Asbestos was generally used in areas where water was likely to be used, such as the kitchen, bathroom or laundry as a form of waterproofing.

The fireproof properties of asbestos made it a popular form of insulation for heaters, stoves, fuse holders, hot water piping.

Asbestos was a popular material for rooves and walls too.

Wall sheeting, roof sheeting and capping, guttering, outbuildings (sheds, dog kennels etc), eaves and stormwater pipes are just some of the places that may contain asbestos.

Many vinyl and linoleum sheets and carpet floorings also contained asbestos-felt.

The rubble of older buildings was often very dangerous due to the presence of asbestos fibres.

What if I have asbestos?

If you are worried about asbestos, you should be very careful. Do not try and remove it yourself, as you could break it and inhale the dangerous fibres.

Instead, contact an expert to conduct asbestos testing.

The Steps of Asbestos Testing

A trained inspector will conduct a multistep process when carrying out an asbestos test.

Asbestos Testing – Step 1: Preparation

Firstly, the safety of anyone nearby should be considered.

The area where a sample is being taken should be clear of other people.

Fans, air conditioners, heaters and any other device that might spread fibres should be turned off.

asbestos testing

Asbestos testing requires inspectors to wear protective gear, such as this.

Asbestos Testing – Step 2: Taking the Sample

Next, the act of asbestos testing should be carried out. This involves cutting a sample of material out of your wall that you suspect to be asbestos.

Before this however, the inspector should wear all necessary protective gear (mask, overalls and gloves) and place down the plastic drop sheet to catch any material that falls on the floor.

The area where the sample will be taken is dampened to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres.

After this, the inspector will use the pliers to cut a hole in your wall that is roughly the size of a thumbnail but extends the whole depth of the material.

The sample is removed from the hole and stored away safely.

A piece of duct tape will then be placed over the hole area to stop asbestos fibres from being released and spread.

Asbestos being safely removed.

Asbestos Testing – Step 3: Cleaning Up

The drop sheet is carefully collected and placed into a heavy-duty bag to be disposed of. All tools are wiped down and cleaned.

Asbestos Testing – Step 4: Sending it to the lab

The safely stored sample will be sent to a lab for proper testing to determine whether it is asbestos or not.

We then give you a report outlining the findings and the lab results.

ant capping

Ant Capping

Termite capping is a reliable way to stop termites from entering your home undetected.

Ant capping is a very necessary precaution that all responsible homeowners should take.

Experienced building and pest inspectors will not only examine faults around the home and signs of termites, but also whether your ant caps have been breached.

Poor quality caps can increase the risk of a termite infestation substantially, so it is important that you know the facts.

About termites

To understand ant caps, you must first understand termites.

Termites are pests that eat wood – if they get into your home, they will destroy wooden support beams, furniture and more.

Termites thrive in hot, moist environments.

As termites travel, they create tunnels out of their droppings called “mudding” which protects them and traps heat and moisture. This leaves brown mud-like stains in your home that resemble trails.

While termites can eat through wooden house stumps, they can also travel through cracks in concrete stumps and enter your home as well.

For more info, we have a comprehensive blog on termites which goes into detail about termites.

ant capping

A termite infestation found during a house inspection.

What is Ant Capping?

Ant capping is when metal sheets are placed in between the stumps of your home and the lower framing timber.

“Ant caps” refer to the metal plates that are used in this process.

ant caps

An example of ant caps under a house.

About Ant Caps

Contrary to popular belief, ant caps do not block termites from entering your home.

Instead, they block termites from being able to travel into your home through the stump, unseen.

This forces the termites to go around the ant cap, exposing their mudding to the naked eye.

As such, it is not a matter of installing the caps and forgetting – ant caps need to be inspected regularly.

ant capping

An example of termite mudding being built around the ant cap, exposing an infestation.

What happens if I don’t have ant capping?

Without ant caps, ants will travel through cracks or burrow though stumps from the inside, without ever being visible.

You might get a termite infestation and not even know it until the damage is too late.

Damaged ant caps

The condition of your ant caps matters greatly in terms of its overall effectiveness.

As they are metal, they can rust over time and holes can be created.

A damaged cap can present gaps that termites can get through without being detected.

Alternately, the caps can become loose over time as your house moves and either become dislodged from their position.

If you are concerned about the condition of your ant caps, book an inspection soon.

ant capping

Rusted, damaged ant caps can have holes that termites can move through without being detected.

Building over ant caps

Installing timber fixtures over your ant caps allows termites to circumvent the ant cap and travel through the wooden fixtures without being detected.

If you have an ant cap, ensure they are unobstructed and there is no wooden fixture that allows termites a path to burrow inside your home unseen.

Timber has been installed over this ant cap, allowing termites to bypass it without being seen.

The ant capping process

Ant capping involves lifting the floor of house up, generally using a jack, and fitting in the ant cap.

If there are old, damaged caps these are replaced wit new ones.

The galvanised caps themselves are not expensive, however you’ll want to hire an expert to know that the process was done properly, lest a termite infestation goes undetected.

Do I need to have ant caps?

All homes in Queensland must have a termite management system, as per the Building Code of Australia.

There are many different types of termite management systems including physical barriers and chemical barriers, however ant capping is one of the more common types.

Ant caps offer peace of mind, so you know that you will be able to see a termite infestation as soon as it occurs and contact a qualified pest inspector.

What if termites are discovered?

If ant capping works as it should, a termite inspection should be discoverable by checking the area around the metal cap. This can be done yourself or through a pest inspection, but if termites are found your next stop should be treatment.

Chemical treatments such as spot treatments, chemical barriers and bait stations are generally the best treatment options.

House Restumping

You are looking at purchasing a house and your building and pest inspection has noted that there is evidence of cracking in the stumps or house footings and you should engage a qualified house restumping contractor.  What does this mean?

House foundations are a crucial part of the construction process.

What are stumps?

Typically houses in Australia in 1950’s-1970’s were built on timber or concrete stumps.  There are a range of reasons why this was done and may be still done when building today.

For one thing, the earth naturally has lots of uneven ground and many foundations can slope or be unstable.

Furthermore, the ground has pests like ants and termites that would have an easier time entering your home undetected if they sat on the ground. It also helps protect against groundwater and flooding.

Thus, stumps were created to allow for houses to be elevated off the ground. They are pillars made from wood, steel or concrete.

Stumps also elevate a house and allow for more views, more ventilation and greater space.

house restumping

Built-in stumps under a house. They are pillars that keep your house stable.

What does it mean when your house needs restumping?

It is evitable that your house stumps will degrade over time. If they are made from timber and concrete, weather and general age wear them down.

Alternately, the soil supporting the stumps can erode and the ground can shift, causing the stumps to shift.

In the event this happens, a building inspector can identify this.

From there, this old stump is replaced with a new stump that better supports your home.

What are the tell-tale signs that a house needs restumping?

There are several key signs to look out for that suggest your house is ready for restumping.

Sloping floors

One of the more extreme signs is if you your floors start to feel as though they are on a slope.

Dropping a marble and seeing if it rolls one way – this is a sign that shifting stumps have causes your house to sag. You may feel the sloping floor beneath your feet as you walk.

Visible damage

Am eye test can reveal damage. Though you may not be a trained inspector, even a layperson can see issues such as cracks, holes, mould an various other forms of visible damage.

house restumping

A tracked stump at a house we inspected.

Presence of moisture

Look for moisture around stumps.

Moisture around your foundation can be a sign of termites in wooden stumps. However, termites can travel up cracked concrete stumps too and access wood from there.

house restumping

Dark patches on the ground around a stump can be a sign of excess moisture.

Doors and windows difficult to close

If your windows suddenly become hard to close, this can be a sign of degrading stumps.

This is because as stumps degrade, this causes the house to shift which warps the way doors and windows move.

The restumping process in action

Once you know that your house requires restumping, you should hire a contractor to carry out the work.

Removing the old stump

Restumping can be compared to changing the tire on a car.

The house is lifted, generally with some sort of hydraulic press, so the weight can be supported when the stump is lifted away.

Replacing the stump

To make way for the new stump, the hole left behind is cleaned out and concrete footing is put in to support the new stump.

The size of the footing depends on how tall the house. Ultimately, it will be the exact height to ensure the floors of your home are all on an even level.

Using the right material

Wood stumps are susceptible to termite infestations, so generally new stumps are made with steel.

These are not in danger of being eaten by termites and they do not decay like concrete.

A termite nest on a wooden stump. They will eventually eat through and hollow it out.

Lowering the house

Once the new stumps are in place, the house is lowered back ensuring the stumps are in place.

Stumps can be installed with tie down brackets to ensure that the stumps are completely secure.

Why is restumping so important?

If you do not restump your home, this will have major long-term effects.

Deteriorated stumps can move and warp your home, which will eventually cause damage that will need to be repaired.

Inevitably, these costs will exceed the cost of restumping.

Beyond the financial aspect, a failure to restump will cause damage that could completely destroy your home.

drugs

Meth Testing

Meth testing is the best way to protect yourself from the very real threat of meth residue, which can endanger the health of you and your family.

Meth use and manufacture is a real danger in South East Queensland, with the incidence on the rise over the last 10 years.  Home buyers, investors and renters should consider the potential that the property they are looking to purchase or living in might have been contaminated with meth.  Meth residue can cause ill health.

Meth in Queensland

Methamphetamine, also called meth or ice, is an illegal stimulant which looks like crystals, shards, a brown oily substance or off-white powder depending on the form it takes.

The most recent statics taken on meth labs per state revealed that Queensland contained almost half of all discovered meth labs in Australia.

Areas such as Logan, Redland, Yarrabilba and the Sunshine Coast were the areas with the highest drug labs recorded in South East Queensland.

meth testing

The products used to make meth are toxic chemicals. They can contaminate a home for years.

Meth labs in houses

As meth is illegal in Australia, people who want to sell meth must produce it in hidden locations. 64% of meth labs are in residential dwellings, such as houses.

Kitchens and bathrooms are converted into crude, makeshift labs to illegally produce methamphetamine.

The products used to make meth are hazardous and contaminate the surrounding area.

If your property was once used as a meth lab, toxic fumes can contaminate a home for years after the lab is gone.

Dangers of meth

The dangers of meth contamination are very real. This is especially true for children, who are more sensitive to the effects of drugs compared to adults.

Babies and toddlers who crawl along the floor are at increased risk of ingesting meth residue.

Common symptoms of meth residue exposure include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, eye irritation, coughing, stomach aches and a sore throat.

The dangers of meth are not as extreme if residents have smoked meth, but the manufacture of meth is what causes dangerous contamination.

An example of a meth rock.

Signs of meth contamination

There are some signs that suggest a home was once a meth lab.

Firstly, meth labs have a very specific smell. The ground will generally smell like ammonia, ether, cat pee or rotten eggs.

If the windows are covered up, this can be a sign people are trying to hide something, such as a meth lab.

Meth labs are generally very messy and unclean, so if your prospective home matches this description it might be best to watch out.

Furthermore, if you live in an idea known to have a history of police involvement or low prices, it may be worth investigating whether or a meth lab was present.

Researching the area, as well as asking local police and neighbours can be helpful to know who previous occupants where.

What to do about meth contamination?

If you suspect that meth has been used or cooked in your potential purchase or rental property, you should seek to get meth testing done.

Meth testing involves a non-invasive swab of the property’s inner wall and they send the swab away to get tested in a lab.

This can be done for one swab in each room to find exactly which room the meth lab was in.

Alternately, you can do an indicative test which is one swab in multiple rooms which only gives a general reading that there is meth contamination somewhere in the house.

Property law

There has been a recent push by the state government to have local council in areas like Logan take the responsibility of doing mandatory testing and the clean up of properties where meth labs have been.

Depending on your role, your legal obligations can change.

Landlords/property managers

Landlords have a legal responsibility to provide tenants with a safe property.

If a property is found to be contaminated, landlords can be exposed to liability and litigation.

Furthermore, landlords have the responsibility of cleaning up after a contamination is found.

Many insurance policies do not cover drug-related claims. Thus, landlords can be forced to pay out of pocket for the expense of cleaning up.

As such, to protect yourself if you are a landlord you should get meth testing done before and after every tenant moves in.

Also, having a clause in your contract that outlines you will regularly conduct meth testing and they will be liable for any clean up costs.

Before you hand over the keys to a new tenant, make sure meth testing is done.

Meth Testing for Tenants

As a tenant, if you suspect that your rental property is contaminated, it is reasonable to have the property tested and see if the levels of residue could be risky to your health.

Likewise, if you are experiencing unexplained health issues, a meth test in your rental property could identify the cause of your ill health.

Meth Testing for Home Buyers

When looking to buy a new home, you will conduct a pre-purchase building inspection. More prudent home buyers will also consider meth testing.

A meth contamination could be utterly devastating both in terms of the health of occupants but also the financial situation of the owner.

termites in ground

Termites

Termites in Queensland

Termites are small, wood eating pests that cause thousands of dollars in damage to homes across Queensland ever year.

While most areas of coastal Australia are at high risk of termite attacks, Queensland is a hotbed for these pests.

This is because the natural conditions of Queensland, such as humidity, alternating periods of dry weather and stormy downpours, as well as the high number of trees. Queenslander style homes are especially at risk, given the amount of wood used in their construction.

There are 10 native species of termites in Queensland and many more that have been introduced over time. Queensland is home to the largest and most aggressive species of termite, the mastotermes darwiniensis.

How to recognise termites

There are several tell-tale signs that your house has been stricken by a termite infestation.

  • Easily damaged wood: The most obvious sign of termites can be when your foot goes through the wooden staircase.
  • Trails of mud going up or around walls: Termites create pencil-sized tunnels out of soil and mud to protect themselves from predators and the environment.
  • Piles of sawdust-type pellets around wood: This is not actual sawdust, but frass which is termite excrement.
  • Discarded wings: Winged termites will fly around and look for places to start a colony, after which they discard their wings. Seeing these wings around your home is a sign of termite infestation
  • Hollow sounding wood: Termites generally eat wood from the inside out. When you knock on wood and it sounds hollow, this is a sign of termite damage.
  • Doors, walls and windows change shape: If your doors become sagged or windows become harder to open or paintwork is cracked, this is a sign that termite damage has warped your doors and windows.

If you see signs of termites, then damage has no doubt already been done. As such, it is always better to try and avoid a termite infestation before it happens.

termites entering through crack in bricks

Termites can enter through cracks in brickwork, as seen in this image.

How to reduce risk of termites

There are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of a termite attack around your home.

  • Reduce risk of moisture: Termites are attracted to moisture. If wood is damp, they will have an easier time eating it. As such, you should fix poor drainage, keep gutters clear, and leaky pipes and improve ventilation in areas where it is poor.
  • Remove dead tree stumps: Decaying wood is attractive to termites. If you have a dead tree stump in your yard, remove it quickly.
  • Reduce wood-to-ground contact: Remove wood, mulch, paper and cardboard away from the foundation of your home. If you’re creating a garden, place it away from your dwelling.
  • Point sprinklers away from your foundation: Reduces moisture in at risk area.
  • Get annual inspections: Through regular inspections from a licensed inspector, you will get expert check-ups to ensure your home is termite free

Another effective deterrent for termites is the Termite Management System.

moisture and decay kingston

Decay and damage like this can be evidence of termites.

Termite Management Systems

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) requires that all new homes must have termite management systems in place.

A termite management system comes in many different forms.

  • Physical barrier: A physical barrier generally takes the form of a concrete slab. This prevents termites from getting a concealed entry into your home – to get in, they must make themselves visible.
  • Chemical barrier: A chemical barrier is created through a moat-type ditch that is dug around a property, filled with chemicals and then covered over. These chemicals can do a variety of things, either deterring termites or slowly killing them and poisoning the nest over time
  • Stainless steel mesh: A steel mesh is placed under the slab and around the perimeter of the property.
  • Graded stone: A layer of graded stone is placed below the foundation and around the perimeter of the property
  • Termite resistant materials: Using materials such as treated timber, steel, concrete, reinforced cement and masonry in construction can protect from termites, as these are termite resistant.

Termite Management Systems are your best bet to protect your home, however it is important to have a durable notice.

What is a durable notice for my termite management system?

A durable notice is a record of the termite management system that is permanently and prominently displayed in the home.

The durable notice indicates the following:

  • The termite management system which is used
  • The date of installation of the system
  • What chemical was used and where, life expectancy of the chemical
  • The installer/manufacturers recommendations regarding future inspections

An example of a durable notice (with the address censored).

Who should install the termite management system?

Not just anyone can install termite management systems – it requires a qualified pest technician.

The average cost of termite treatment in Queensland is around $2000 – $4000.

When researching which expert to choose from, you should take the following steps:

  • Research: Investigate different companies, the services they offer and check the reviews of their services and see if they have an FAQ page.
  • Contact them: Once you have a list of options, call the business and ask questions such as how long they’ve been around and what training they have. You can also ask details about the inspection itself and what products are used.
  • Compare them: Once you are satisfied that you have conducted enough research, compare your options and choose the one you are most comfortable with.

Through these steps, you can hire someone qualified to both install your termite management system and conduct inspections.

Termite Inspections

As stated above, regular termite inspections are a necessary step to prevent and reduce the risk of a termite infestation.

An inspection can cost you as little as $250 depending on the size of the property.

Generally, it is recommended you get a pest inspection once annually, but if you live in a high-risk area you might be advised to get an inspection more often.

Inspectors will check the following aspects of the home:

  • All accessible rooms inside the home
  • All accessible spaces under the home
  • Timber around, in and under the home
  • The garden
  • Fences
  • Trees and tree stumps
  • Any structure within 30m of the property
  • If any termite damage was found
  • The existence of a previous termite management plan

You will receive recommendations on further investigations and repairs that may need to be done. A report will be given to you detailing the findings of the inspection.

5 ways to prepare for a building and pest inspection

A building and pest inspection is a very important procedure for anyone buying, selling or renovating a home. As suck, you should know how to prepare for a building and pest inspection.

In our blog, we will go through the most important steps you can take so you can make the most out of your inspection.

1)     Research different companies and services

One of the first things to do as you prepare for a building and pest inspection is to research.

You should investigate the different building and pest inspection companies, see the reviews and services they offer, along with price.

That way, you can be sure to get the best value for money.

The internet is the easiest way to get information quickly, but don’t be afraid to call either.

2)     Ask questions to prospective inspectors

Once you have settled on an inspector, you should call and speak to the staff.

We have previously released a blog about the 5 questions you should ask your building and pest inspector.

By getting in early and asking these questions before booking, you can be better informed about the inspection process.

3)     De-clutter your home

One of the biggest impediments to a building inspection is obstructions that prevent inspectors from getting in and looking at areas of the home.

As inspections are purely visual, inspectors cannot move, shift, destroy or alter any part of your home. Thus, they will not inspect an area they cannot access.

For example, if a garage is cluttered and inaccessible, an inspector will not move objects out of the way.

They will simply make a note in the report that they area was inaccessible, and the room may have faults.

Beyond the usual clutter like cardboard boxes, things like cars, rubbish bins and large bushes are all obstructions too. You should endeavour to remove these.

An example of clutter that prevents a full and proper inspection of a room.

4)     Unlock your home

Another obstruction that will prevent an inspector from looking at every possible area is locked doors.

Obviously, if I door is locked and we have no means of opening it, we will not inspect the room.

As such, you should unlock and open garages and any other doors you might normally lock, or at least provide keys to the inspector or selling agent.

5)     Remove pets

We love dogs and cats as much as anyone, but pets can be a major distraction to any building and pest inspection.

Furthermore, if they are conducting treatments for termites, it is wise to keep cats and dogs away from chemicals.

Contact Dedant today

Dedant offers high quality, value for money inspections. With over 10 years of experience, we are a local, family owned business you can trust.

Contact us on our website, Facebook or via our phone number, 07 3807 0122.