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    The importance of regular inspections for both new and old buildings

    Projex Group

    Early detection of problems during the construction process through regular inspections will ensure the builder can address identified issues early on, preventing unnecessary expenditure and potential loss to reputation and customer goodwill.

    This is especially true for buildings being constructed from the bottom up; regular inspections can help identify and resolve problems early on, making the construction process much cheaper and practical than having an inspection done on a completed building and discovering faults that may be difficult or impossible to rectify.

    Inspections for new buildings

    Inspections should be performed at five stages of construction of the new building to ensure quality and precision. These include the foundation stage, frame stage, waterproofing stage, pre-painting stage and handover stage.

    1. Foundation stage

    An inspection is advised on the foundations and footings before the slab is poured as certain soils and clays will be more reactive and may require extensive engineering to ensure the integrity of the building.

    At this stage, the inspector will be looking for appropriate safety signage around the building site; assessing the orientation of the building in relation to the access road, the position of the external wall location in relation to the footings, and the inclusion of reinforcement starter bars tied to the slab mesh; as well as checking for termite control and the location of the electrical metre box.

    2. Frame stage

    An inspection on completion of the frame will confirm the integrity of the foundation of the building, since it may not be possible to see if the right bolts or connections have been used once the gyprock has been added to the walls.

    At this stage, the inspector will be looking for straight framing and plumb connections; assessing structural steel members such as columns, beams, and lintels to be properly supporting the structure; and checking whether window and door openings are in place as required by the plans. A visual check will also be performed to confirm the installation of a perimeter termite barrier.

    3. Waterproofing stage

    Waterproofing is an important component of a building’s longevity; when not waterproofed properly, especially around the kitchen and bathroom areas, the building will eventually suffer the consequences of water damage, which can even impact its foundations.

    At this stage, the inspector will be checking that roofing is installed and completed to standards and manufacturer specifications; roof plumbing is appropriate; and damp proofing is in place. The inspection will additionally ensure there are appropriate weep holes to the perimeter and window openings, and that brickwork is straight and plumb with sound mortar.

    4. Pre-painting stage

    This inspection takes place on completion of construction including carpentry works to ensure that the workmanship is acceptable before issues are glossed over with paint.

    During this inspection the inspector will check that window openings to shower areas are appropriately sealed; doors are fitted properly and function correctly; and skirting is fitted to the appropriate standards of operation. The inspection will also check for structural adequacy in outdoor areas including any pergolas, decks, or patios, and ensure that the carport or garage is operable.

    5. Handover inspection

    Recommended to be carried out when the ground levels have been completed, this detailed inspection will ensure all-round satisfaction with the finalised version of the building. An inspection at this stage will ensure all issues are detected early and remedied at a relatively low cost than dealing with them when the issue has become more pronounced.

    Inspections for existing buildings

    A full inspection at the time of buying or selling an existing building benefits both the seller and the buyer to avoid any unexpected surprises that might affect the price or value of the property. Such building inspections should be carried out by properly qualified organisations that have the expertise to detect issues and also submit an inspection report compliant with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1). This will not only ensure peace of mind for the individual but will also serve as a reference document for the building’s condition.

    During these inspections, the qualified consultant will look at the interior and exterior of the building, as well as the roof space, the underfloor space, and the roof exterior. The building must be prepared for inspection prior to the arrival of the consultant.

    Sub-floors

    There needs to be easy access to the sub-floor areas of a building. This means that they should be unlocked and clear of obstacles, and the space should be uncluttered so as to allow ease of movement for the consultant.

    Furniture throughout the building

    When preparing the building for inspection, ideally the space must only have minimal furniture so that the consultant can inspect the area with an unobstructed view of everything they may want to see including the floors.

    Internal roof space

    It is important that the consultant is able to access any internal roof spaces. If such spaces are used for storage, it is advised that the space is cleared out so as not to obstruct the consultant’s movements during inspection.

    External roof

    The consultant must be provided access to the external roof. In the event the roof is unsafe to access, the report will be adversely affected.

    Projex Group distributes Wolfin, Cosmofin and Koster waterproofing systems in Australia and New Zealand.

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