Showing posts with label Building Inspection services Perth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Building Inspection services Perth. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Footing design for home

By: Peter Huber
Posted By: BHIS

What is probably as important as consistent compaction is the design of the footings and the actual digging and pouring is equally as important. Firstly footings should be designed according to the nature of the soil. For example you would not design the same size footing when building in clay soils as you would if you were to build on sandy well drained soil.

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It has always been our advise to firstly sample and categorise the soil, if you are to build on clay or loamy soil, especially where drainage is poor. This will then determine the type of footing design for the home and will minimize any settling or cracking that would normally occur.

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Well we now have got, consistent compaction and a footing, designed specifically for the soil and a slab to match. The next step is to examine the perimeter masonry walls to see if and what type of settling cracks have occurred if any.

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The settling cracks that are visible on the brick work or internal walls are a signature or blue print as to what has occurred under the slab.

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The walls are a reflection or and indication as to the stability of the foundation. Below are some diagrams showing the different type of cracks that can occur and why.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What to inspect when buying a home?

By: Peter Huber
Posted By: BHIS

It goes like this, before you buy something, and a friend had described it to you in detail ”warts and all”, it would have helped in shaping your ideas in the purchase of that something.

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Well the same goes for when buying a car or a house. These are major purchases for most people and for some it is the single most important investment in their live. This being the case then, would it then not make sense that before buying, some one thoroughly checks out your proposed purchase before a final commitment is made on paper in the form of an offer to purchase. Preferably a mate in the building industry or a professional inspection institution can be called upon to give an unbiased opinion based on the structural nature of the building.

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The things that a buyer should be aware of is that firstly the foundation, walls and roof construction are sound, as theses components constitute the shell and anything else is purely cosmetic.

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Firstly the foundations:- If they are Limestone, then one would have to appreciate that they are large chunks of rock, shaped and placed into a hand dug trench and mortared into position, there was never any compaction carried out to the soil below the first laid limestone, hence the ground could move and settle as the weight of the walls was placed upon the Limestone. Large homes were built upon the limestone foundations and later the settling took place and was and still is evidenced in settling cracks noted on wall.

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These days we build the foundations a different way, mostly it is a concrete perimeter beam and a floating slab is resting on top of these footings. This latter method is built on soil that has been compacted to a uniform compaction. If this compaction is not uniform then uneven settling can be the major source of settling cracks, as the foundation settles under the weight of the walls and roof. The importance of uniform compaction is so vital that theoretically, if the compaction was uniform then no settling would occur.

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The importance of keeping the perimeter foundation at a constant moisture level is equally as important since a constant change in concentrated moisture levels content will cause the soils supporting the perimeter footing beam to move. This movement is transferred to the walls and settling cracks appear over windows and doors as these are the most vulnerable areas. So it is important that the down pipes are connected to soakwells which are at least 1.8 meters away from any footing.

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Next week we will continue with this, so that by the end, you will have a comprehensive check list.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Overcoming damp problems in your house | Professional Home Inspections Perth

By:Peter Huber
posted by:

From time to time the CSIRO is asked to suggest remedies for dampness caused by rain penetrating solid masonry walls, below are some of their invaluable findings and suggestions which are worth passing on.
Single-leaf construction cannot be expected to be water-tight, especially if it is subjected to wind-driven rain. If the wall thickness is increased it should be more resistant to rain penetration, but poor workmanship in the form of unfilled joints and un-tooled face joints can result in walls that are prone to dampness despite their thickness and apparent solidity.

Often people seek a quick and easy “brush-on” treatment, preferably to be applied from the inside, but we consider the latter to be unrealistic and a false economy. External treatment aimed at preventing the masonry from becoming damp in the first place is a more sound approach. Some possibilities are described:



Silicone formulations brushed or sprayed onto porous surfaces make them water repellent, so that water then runs down treated walls instead of being absorbed. There is a risk in this, however, because fissures wider than hairline crack are not bridged by these materials. The increased amount of water running down the wall during a shower can result in more water penetrating the wall, via such fissures, than before the treatment. With this in mind walls should be examined carefully, and repaired if necessary, before silicone is applied. Silicones deteriorate in sunlight and periodic reapplication is required if the wall is to remain water repellent.


This is a useful treatment. Two coats should be applied on the wall after the necessary preparation. A minimum preparation would be to repair gaps and defects in the mortar joints, but in practice “bagging” of the whole wall is advisable. A mixture of 1:4 cement: plasterer’s sand is suggested for this, the wall being “wetted down” before starting.


If organic paints are to be used “bagging” is an essential preparation. As long as the paint film is intact the system will be effective, but once cracking starts water will be trapped behind the paint. This water will take a long time to evaporate and, under adverse conditions, the wall can become progressively damper. In any case the life of the paint system there-after is likely to be short.


This treatment is virtually permanent and should be effective in all but the most severe conditions. For resistance to rain penetration a rough-textured and porous rendering is normally more effective than a dense and impermeable plain finish. Suitable cement: l lime: sand mixes are given in the British Standard Code of Practice CP 221, “External rendered finishes”, available from the Standards Association of Australia.

The discussions and hint given above will suit most homes that have damp problems, in fact silicone treatment seems to be the most popular, especially in the case where the external walls are face bricks.

If you have any further questions please call our office.

We want you the reader to write to us on, any Building matters, and questions or if you seek advice, we will gladly answer any topic that you wish us to discuss, so please send your letters to “B. & H. I. S.” C/O. 17 Battye Road, Kardinya, W.A. 6163 or fax/ph (09) 331-3031

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Best Wall Coverings practices | Pre Purchase Building Inspections Perth

By:Peter Huber

Vinyl wall coverings (vinyl laminated to paper or fabric) have become very popular over the last few years, largely because they are more easily cleaned than the uncoated open-textured types. Yet it is just this impervious, otherwise-desirable surface that sometimes creates a mould problem.

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In one home examined by the Division of CSIRO, red and purple stains were found to be showing through from behind a light coloured vinyl wall covering within two weeks of application. The stains, which originated in the paste layer, were identified as a type of mould. The key factor in this rapid mould growth was the fact that paste had been sandwiched between a painted wall and a sub-substantial vinyl membrane.

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On one hand, the impervious vinyl layer prevented evaporation of moisture from the paste layer while on the other hand, the painted background drastically reduced absorption of water into the wall. Thus, the paste was kept moist long enough for mould growth to start. Had an adhesive offering less nourishment to moulds been used, mould growth would have been unlikely. Similarly, had the wall covering been a plain paper or one of the “spongeable” wallpapers (papers with a very thin plastic film on the surface), or one of the “breathable” vinyls, mould growth would again have been unlikely since such coverings “breathe”, enabling the paste to dry by evaporation.

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When hanging wall coverings of solid vinyl sheet laminated to paper, it is a wise precaution to apply a fungicidal wash such as two percent sodium hypochlorite solution to the wall before sizing it with a dilute solution of a cellulose adhesive with fungicide added. For best results manufacturers suggest applying lining paper to the wall before finally hanging the wall covering, using the heavy-duty cellulose adhesive for both operations. In the case of mould staining described above the vinyl wall overing had been hung, without a preliminary fungicidal ash, using a starch paste (instead of a cellulose adhesive) with fungicide added. Obviously this was not enough protection.

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When the weather is very cold and damp the cellulose adhesive may take a long time to set, so an acrylic-reinforced latex adhesive might be advisable under such conditions, to avoid lifting of the seams. Alternatively, he cellulose adhesive could be used and, if the seams do lift, they could be bonded to the wall with the latex. When hanging wall coverings of vinyl sheet laminated to fabric, only the specially formulated adhesives recommended by the manufacturers should be used.

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Normally, coverings are not hung on absorbent surfaces. Manufacturers recommend that bare surfaces be painted with a flat oil paint, and it has been assumed in the above that this has been done.

For now till next week when we will discuss

your “Handy Jock”.

Any questions that our readers may have would be gladly welcomed and endeavoured to be answered as seen fit.