Red flags of problems with drainage under house
Allotment, Building Inspection Tips, Underfloor Areas

Red Flags of Under House Drainage Problems

Beware of the Red Flags of Under House Drainage Problems

Drainage under house problems can be a red flag indicator for a building inspector when assessing a new property for purchase.  

Any type of drainage issues to a home can require extensive investigation. They can also incur significant costs to rectify. If they aren’t fixed in the short term, issues with under house drainage can cause structural damage to the property.  

Our Ultimate Guide to Open House Inspections gives you some tips on what to look for on your initial walk through.  When a pre-purchase inspection is booked, the builder will be able to assess when the drainage onsite may require further investigation.  

Common under house drainage issues building inspectors see

When it comes to drainage under house, a pre-purchase inspection may uncover the following common issues: 

  • Unusual sewer or drain smell in the property 
  • Water marks, stains and decay under the flooring if visible or accessible underneath  
  • Wet patches or greener grass areas in the front and/or backyard – indicator of stormwater drainage problems. 

A building inspector is not licensed to diagnose the cause of the drainage issue if there is one at the property. They will recommend a plumbing inspection to further investigate under house drainage issues which could be a red flag for significant problems at the property.  

When to organise a drainage inspection

A drainage inspection will be conducted by a licensed plumber who has the equipment to insert a drain camera down the property’s main sewer line.  

The drain camera can also be put down a stormwater drain. Not all drainage issues are from the sewer. The drain camera can find tree roots in the pipes, blockages and even cracks which could be causing the drainage issues to the property.  

While it may seem like extra expense for a separate inspection by a plumber, it can give peace of mind to know what rectifications may be needed at the property if you become the new owner.  

Before thinking the worst about a property with a known drainage issue, it’s best to diagnose the problem with an inspection from a drainage specialist.  

The most common causes of drainage issues are: 

  • Blockages – whether from tree roots or foreign objects in the sewer or stormwater lines. 
  • Broken pipes – which allow tree roots and debris to enter the pipe line. 
  • Bowed or misaligned pipes – if there is a dip in the pipework or it has misaligned due to subsidence or earth movement, a full excavation and new drainage installation may be required for the repair.  
  • A plumbing inspection may also find illegal plumbing connections. 

Issues with drainage under house can mean defects that cause major headaches and cost to the owners to rectify.  

It’s important to always book a building inspection to identify any water damage red flags which can then be referred to a plumber to investigate further.  

If you’re purchasing a new family home, always book a pre-purchase building inspection with an experienced Brisbane building inspector. It can certainly help in identifying red flags which may have been missed during your own inspection. 

Catch problems with under house drainage and so much more
BEFORE you buy a house– book a thorough pre-purchase inspection.
Contact Action Property Inspections today.



About Andrew Mackintosh

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.

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