An Adelaide Building Inspection in Andrews Farm detects slab edge dampness

An Adelaide Building Inspection in Andrews Farm detects slab edge dampness

It’s a long drive to conduct a building inspection in Andrews Farm, a small suburb north of Adelaide, but for our client, who was purchasing the first house he didn’t have built, it was certainly well worth the trip. This two storey townhouse property was less than 10 years old, but a number of defects that needed immediate repairs to prevent further ongoing extensive damage occurring were identified. Although a pre purchase building inspection is not about providing clients quotes for building repairs, the potential cost for rectifying these issues would probably have been in the ball park of $3000 and upwards for the appropriate solutions to be carried out.

Building Inspections pay for themselves…

This is exactly why property buyers have an inspection service conducted, because as human beings we have this suspicious and inquiring nature, particularly when, and rightly so, it comes to purchasing something as expensive as a new house. We all have this healthy interest in protecting our hip pocket… the one where the wallet carrying our hard earned money sits!

In this example, our client, now armed with this new found knowledge of the defects provided within the pre purchase building inspection report, was able to re-negotiate the selling price with the agent and vendor from a position of power. You have probably heard the saying, knowledge is power, and as a result thousands of dollars were saved in this instance. This was far more than the cost of the report which obviously paid for itself many times over. As building inspectors who are client focused, we love satisfying and protecting our customers in this way.

The suburb of Andrews Farm as the name suggests was built upon previous farming land. With its proximity being well north of the Adelaide city, it means land is very affordable. As a result, many new housing developments have sprung up with the median price being a very comfortable $261,000.

Life is easier for a building inspector when furniture is not present…

The property was vacant on the day and no furniture was present, only some floor coverings in all the rooms including over the timber stairs. With these visual limitations reduced, this always makes conducting an inspection so much easier and a more complete report can be provided.

The interior appeared to be generally in good condition, with all the doors and windows operating as intended, and no significant issues were evident to the floors, walls and ceilings. Because it was a two storey dwelling, special attention is always given to the lower level ceilings, particularly below the wet areas of bathrooms. More often than not, if there are serious issues with plumbing or shower recesses, this will be reflected with leakage stains being evident to these areas.

No such evidence was present, and that’s why it came as a complete surprise when inspection of the upper level main bathroom revealed a major defect. The tiles to the shower recess floor were seen to be bulging upwards due to water penetrating beneath them via excessive cracking to the grouting. The bulging was severe enough to cause water to pool on the recess floor, rather than allow it to run freely with the gradient towards the waste drain.

Why you may ask? It is a relatively new bathroom…

Again, this is why it is prudent to obtain a building inspection before buying, the reasons may not always be obvious, but what is important is that the defects are found and rectified, before further damage occurs, and before the client commits to the property. However, in this case, what can happen is that the second level of a townhouse can be subject to the expansion and contraction of the structural components due to seasonal temperature changes. This can cause initial minor cracking to inflexible joints like grout between tiles. Moisture from the constant running showers begins to ingress, and the whole situation exacerbates over time with the cracking increasing, and the tile bulging becoming more pronounced. Fortunately, the shower membrane was probably still intact, and this is why no leakage or decay was visible to the downstairs ceilings. The advice to the client was that this shower should not be used until full repairs were conducted by a suitably qualified professional tiler.

Next came the garage inspection…

Inspection to the rear garage uncovered a particular defect that occurs occasionally, even with fairly recent constructions, called slab edge dampness. Efflorescence and minor surface spalling was present to the edge area of the concrete slab floor to the rear of the garage. This was also causing swelling and minor decay to the timber skirting board that was in contact with this floor area. Moisture ingress was obviously taking place from the edge of the concrete slab as it soaked up excess water from adjacent exterior garden areas.

There are many reasons for this issue which we will go into in more depth in later articles. What was causing the dampness in this instance was quite simply poor drainage where surface water was not effectively flowing away from the building, but rather was pooling. It was then soaking via capillary action into the slab edge and up into the edge area of the rear interior floor of the garage. The remedy for this was paving and additional drains, but obviously this was going to come at a cost to engage the relevant tradesman to conduct this work. This was going to be one less financial burden to surprise our client when she eventually moves into this property.

This was another good example why it’s imperative to have your potential new home inspected by a professional and experienced building inspector. To learn some more about how to avoid costly building defects read the article, Can property buyers afford a pre purchase building inspection in Adelaide.