How building inspectors can avert costly and unsafe building code violations
All building and construction works must comply with the Building Code of Australia. The Building Code contains the minimum requirements to ensure the safety, health, sustainability, and functionality of new buildings and that of the public.
However, with that said, building code violations are not new. These violations can bring risks to the occupants of the building and the public.
Building code violations can include electrical hazards, fire hazards, structural unreliability, plumbing problems, and accessibility difficulties. It is therefore necessary to hire professionals who understand and abide by the building code during the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings. When purchasing existing structures, hiring building inspectors is also essential. It will help identify existing problem areas before the buyer can sign any contract.
Life without electricity is, without a doubt, unimaginable. It makes life so much easier and more comfortable for everyone. Electricity is a reliable source of energy for various daily living activities. However, it comes with its own set of hazards.
Electrical hazards can cause serious injuries and even death. However, they are not uncommon. Electrical code violations can bring serious risks to the occupants of the building. Here are some of the most common electrical code violations in residential structures:
- Faulty circuit breaker installed or none at all.
- Electrical outlets are not child-proof.
- Electrical switches have no neutral wiring.
- Outdoor electrical outlets are exposed.
- No ground fault circuit interrupters were installed.
- Wrong configuration of electrical panels
- Overloaded circuits
- Using non-compliant electrical components
It is important that electrical works and installations are performed by licensed and experienced professionals. In addition, every electrical work should be compliant with the Australian electrical code standards.
Building inspections can help ensure that electrical installations are safe and compliant with the code. Inspectors can help identify issues and violations so they can be rectified before they harm the occupants of the building. Aside from electrical shock, electrical hazards are also serious fire hazards. Electrical malfunctions can lead to fire, bringing harm to the building’s occupants and neighbours.
Structural wear and tear are normal over time. Building materials naturally deteriorate as years go by. However, new structures are not immune to structural damage. Substandard materials, poor workmanship, insufficient foundation and support, and negligence can all result in structural issues.
It is crucial to identify the signs of structural issues before they bring significant risks to the occupants of the building. Some signs of structural problems include:
- Cracks in the foundation
- Uneven and sagging floors
- Problematic doors and windows
- Cracking, bowing, and leaning walls
- Damp ceilings and walls
- Mouldy smells
These are just some of the common signs of structural damage that must be immediately addressed. A building inspection ensures that the structure adheres to the Australian Building Code.
Use of Asbestos
Another violation that buyers of old homes should watch out for is the presence of asbestos. Asbestos contains fibres that can lead to life-threatening conditions when breathed in. As of December 2003, asbestos has been totally banned in Australia. Using, re-using, importing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, and selling asbestos is illegal. Before it was banned, asbestos could be found in thousands of construction materials. Thus, a home built before 1990 likely contains asbestos.
Except for the age of the structure, it is next to impossible to confirm if an existing structure contains asbestos. Fortunately, a professional building inspector can identify and confirm its presence, helping clients make better buying decisions.
Non-compliant doorways, ramps, and hallways can pose difficulties for persons with disabilities. It is essential that persons with disabilities can independently go around the building as they need.
People who are investing in real estate, whether for commercial or residential purposes, should ensure that the structure meets the required accessibility of the building. There must be adequate spaces for wheelchairs, appropriate signage, and sufficient parking spaces.
A building inspection can help identify accessibility deficiencies before they can become a major challenge for building occupants.
Violations of the fire code are serious violations. Fire brings significant danger to the occupants of a building and those nearby as well.
Violations that can bring fire hazards include:
- Use of non-compliant non-fire-resistant materials
- Insufficient fire safety tools and equipment
- Poor fire safety measures and planning
- Holes in drywalls
Structures built must meet the fire hazard specifications to help ensure the safety and health of the occupants. They must use fire-resistant materials for drywalls, windows, and doors. In the event of a fire, these materials should slow the spread of fire, giving the occupants more time to vacate the building and flee to safety. In other words, it is not enough to use fire-retardant paint to meet compliance.
Holes in dry walls may seem like a simple problem, but they are actually fire hazards. Holes allow oxygen to flow freely into the room, aiding in the growth and spread of the fire.
It is vital to hire professionals during the construction of a building so that the structure meets the fire safety provisions of the code. It is not just for the sake of compliance but to ensure the safety of everyone in the community.
When purchasing an existing structure, seek the services of a professional building inspector. An experienced inspector has the skill and the eye to identify possible fire hazards so they can be remedied before the buyer pays for the building.
Decks add value, beauty, and functionality to a home. However, if not built properly and according to standards, they can bring more harm than good. Be wary of decks, as some may have been DIY-ed by the previous owner.
Some omissions and mistakes may seem minor, but they can pose serious risks to the occupants of the house. For example, a deck collapsing can cause not just repair expenses but injuries as well.
Seek the Help of a Professional Building Inspector in Sydney.
While knowing the entire history of an existing building is impracticable, you can reduce your risks by hiring a professional building inspector. Vital Building Inspections Sydney offers pre-purchase inspection services, helping buyers save lives and thousands of dollars. We provide you with a detailed report of the inspection including details such as major and minor defects, safety hazards, presence of pests, and photographs of said defects. Call us on 0401 012 074 to book an appointment with our experienced building inspectors.