Many common and potentially costly building defects are not likely to be seen during an Open Property Inspection by yourself or other non-trained persons. We are not talking about the obvious defects that can be seen in a property that is falling apart. We are talking about defects that are typically in hard to reach spaces such as roof voids and sub-floor areas or defects that have been covered up, either intentionally or unintentionally.
- Water Damage
A common problem in older homes, water damage can be caused by a whole myriad of sources and can often be difficult to detect. For example, dampness inside walls that have been recently painted might show no signs of damage. Roof timbers that are suffering from “timber defibration” can also be very difficult to observe.Timber defibration is a condition of decay that causes a breakdown of the timber fibre and generally results from long-term exposure of the timber to the elements. Complete replacement of all damaged timbers is generally the only viable option. Other common culprits of water damage are storm water getting into the foundation and the breakdown of bathroom or shower floor membranes. This can cause wet-rot decay of the subfloor and/or supporting timbers.
- Termite Damage
Australia is home to more than 350 species of termites, 20 of which can seriously damage timber found in homes. While very beneficial out in nature with their role of recycling organic matter into nutrients for the soil, they can be quite problematic in a home. Unfortunately their infestations in homes are typically in the darkest, hardest to reach areas where they can avoid light. Thus, their damage often goes unnoticed unless the homeowner has professional inspections done on a periodic basis.Termite damage generally takes the form of timbers where there is only a wafer thin layer left to protect the termites from the elements and light. They also sometimes conceal themselves in mud-like tubes. In addition to eradication of the termites, replacement of damaged timbers is often required.
- Structural Damage
Structural damage can be caused by a number of factors and can be the most expensive type of defect to deal with since it may require the involvement of licensed engineers. It’s not just older or cheaper homes that can have these types of problems as they are also found in new million dollar homes as well. Improper application of materials and hardware, i.e. joist hangars, can happen on any job site and can go unnoticed, or certainly unreported, until a professional inspection occurs at a later date. Another common cause of structural damage is the proliferation of do-it-yourself homeowners.Wanting to save money, many homeowners attempt to do repairs themselves, often without consulting properly licensed professionals. Of course there will also be no paper trail associated with the repair, so it would likely go unnoticed by the untrained eye.
Considering what is on the line when buying a new property, it makes sense to bring in a professional who can provide a thorough inspection for any property you may be interested in.