Defects found this week in a Pre Purchase Building Inspection in Aberfoyle Park, Adelaide
As a busy and growing local business we do many Pre Purchase Building Inspections in Adelaide on a weekly basis. We love what we do because of the variety that being a residential building inspector affords. Every house and its location is different, and although defects can be similar from property to property, there is always a uniqueness about each issue that is peculiar to every home we inspect. ‘They are all hard’… one of our building inspectors is quoted as saying, but that is the challenge that makes our job so interesting and keeps us on our toes.
Minor defects are to be expected with this aged Aberfoyle Park residential property
Our first example is a 40 year property deep in the heart of the original, established area of Aberfoyle Park. Double brick and constructed on a concrete slab, the interior and exterior walls revealed no movement cracking which is a good start to determining the structural integrity of the main building. The renovated kitchen was the highlight of this home, and compared with properties of similar age and construction, this dwelling could be considered as average, or right on the money. The usual suspects of minor loose cornice and splitting at the ceiling lining joins, as well as damaged or missing hardware to the windows and doors was observed to some rooms. It’s not often we come across a property that has no skirting boards, and it was suggested that installation may be desired in the future to create a quality finish.
One of the most important aspects to any internal building and pest inspection is the examination of the wet areas, particularly the shower recess and its adjacent walls. What we found was not unusual for a house that is this old with double brick walls. The lower wall areas within the hallway and rear bedroom directly on the other side of the shower were displaying evidence of moisture damage in the form of blistering plaster. This usually indicates that the shower is leaking due to a breakdown of the membrane. However, what is crucial in this instance is that moisture readings taken on the day were normal. Added to this, the joint sealant and grouting within the recess appeared to be recently repaired.
When you put all this together the moisture damage that was found was more than likely the result of past, rather than recent leakage. We duly advised our client to monitor these wall areas and look out for any further deterioration caused by ongoing moisture leakage. We also recommended that the flexible sealant within the shower recess wall joints be replaced every three to five years, as this material is prone to shrinkage in time which makes the shower susceptible to leakage.
Don’t take chances with damaged roof frame trusses
Next we found the manhole and duly entered the roof void to conduct the all important inspection of the roof frame. It consisted of a series of roof trusses spaced at 600mm apart which fulfilled the BCA code requirement for a concrete tiled roof covering. At first glance everything appeared to be in order, and generally the framing components were adequate enough to support the weight of the roof covering.
However, as we continued our crawl through the roof space we discovered a potentially serious structural defect. In order to facilitate the installation of a hot water service storage tank, some webbing members of a truss situated over the laundry have been removed. This has caused severe damage to the associated nail plates, particularly at the apex where the top cords meet, and as such these members were beginning to separate.
What needs to be understood about roof trusses is that they are a specifically engineered product, and they rely on all the components, and the nail plates that connect them, to be in good order to enable the truss to meet its design requirements. If these are tampered with, there is a potential that the truss in question may fail and localised, or more serious general collapse can result. We are not saying that this will be the case at some stage in the future, however, as a good building inspector, it is our duty to appropriately alert and warn our clients of any serious defects and the potential consequences of that problem. Particularly if it may present as a safety issue to the occupants of the dwelling.
We recommended that the unused hot water storage tank be removed by a suitable tradesman, and a licensed builder conduct appropriate repairs to reinstate the truss, and then have it certified by a structural engineer to ensure that it is able to meet its originally designed capabilities.
It is best to be safe than sorry and to ere on the side of caution when it comes to roof trusses. To ensure you are buying a roof frame that is in good condition when purchasing your next property, call Buy Spect Adelaide House Inspections today on 0451 070 398.