Buying a Family Home? Building Inspections are Essential
Statistics show that most childhood injuries occur in the family home, especially during infancy and pre-school years. So, when attending an open house, buyers with a young family will have safety at the forefront of their minds.
The best way to determine whether a prospective property is a safe option for your family is to engage a professional to carry out a thorough building inspection. But here are some key areas that you can pay attention to during an open house walk-through.
Inspect the stairs, deck, and balustrade safety
Many homes have stairs, decks, and elevated floors. Combine that with the fact that the beautiful old Queenslanders are desired by families for their open spaces and generous rooms. So having a building inspection with child safety in mind is essential. The following is just a few of the many items to be aware of in these potentially hazardous areas.
- Decks higher than one metre must have a balustrade of at least one metre in height with an opening not less than 125mm.
- Decks higher than four metres must also comply with this and have no climbable components between 150-760mm from the floor to avoid children climbing up and falling over the railings.
- Check the stairs are to standards by ensuring the railing is a minimum of 865 mm above the nosing (the vertical line of the stairs from the top of each step to the next)
- Stairs higher than four metres must also not have any vertical or climbable points that can lead to climbing and falling)
- There should be no gap greater than 125mm between the step treads or handrails
Water safety and pool compliance
There are strict safety regulations for pools in residential homes in Queensland, with fencing to protect young children from drowning being the paramount safety issue. Check if the pool is registered on the pool safety register, make sure the pool barrier complies with the law, and ask about a pool safety certificate from the agent showing you the home.
Inspect for outside safety
Do a perimeter walk and check the yard for hazards.
- Is the perimeter fence sturdy, can it be climbed easily, or is it damaged and rotten in places? Are there retaining walls, and how high are they?
- Although retaining walls generally do not require a safety barrier or railing, you may want to consider installing one or checking that the current one can withstand being leaned into or pushed against without the risk of giving way. A handrail will be required if the retaining wall is greater than 1m in height and in a walkway or play area.
- Check the trees in the yard for rotten branches. Rotten branches can create a falling hazard that can make a shady tree a danger to climb.
At Action Property Inspections, our licensed inspector will complete a thorough and professional building inspection to ensure that you and your family purchase a house that will be a safe haven.