Termite Risk and Poor Building Practice
Ask the Inspector, Building & Renovating

Termite Risk and Poor Building Practice

One of the primary concerns when purchasing a house is the risk of termite attack. Pest inspections are usually undertaken to determine not only whether the house has previously succumbed to termite attack but also to establish whether the house has adequate termite protection to prevent a future attack. Providing adequate termite protection can be achieved in many ways and is an in-depth topic in itself. In this blog I would however like to highlight an issue that seems to be overlooked by many builders and building certifiers, and that is what is commonly referred to poor building practice.

Some builders have the attitude that provided they implement termite protection to prevent Structural termite damage then they have met the requirements of the building code. This is however poor building practice and not satisfactory. We see time and again houses constructed out of non-susceptible materials such as treated timbers or steel framing only to find termite damage within the house. Whilst the damage to the house may not be structural it could nevertheless be significant in cost to rectify and devastating to the homeowner.

Termite Risk and Poor Building PracticeA classic example we see every day is where termite resistant cladding has direct ground contact. The cladding and wall framing may not be susceptible to termite attack however the cladding can provide a concealed termite entry point into the house where termites could destroy timber architraves, timber flooring and plasterboard etc. On a recent pre-purchase building inspection in North Lakes, the downstairs renovation had sustained significant termite damage. Termites substantially damaged the polished timber floor and started attacking the timber cabinets within the kitchen. The downstairs framework was H2F treated timber and the external cladding was termite resistant. However because of direct ground contact the termites found easy concealed entry into the house. External cladding should always have 75 mm of ground clearance to help provide a visual means of termite detection.

Termite Risk and Poor Building PracticeAnother common area where we see regular termite entry is around veranda and deck structures. Deck structures are often directly connected to a house and unfortunately often have ground contact. The deck structure should always be offset from the house to prevent direct entry into the walls of the house. All too often termites will attack a susceptible timber deck structure and then move on to the house only to continue their concealed rampage until discovered.

It should also be noted that many timbers used in the construction industry are termite resistant not termite proof. We often see treated timber succumb to termite attack.

Whilst it is good to build a home in materials that are not susceptible to termite attack, it is imperative still to maintain best building practices to minimise the risk of termite entry to prevent damage to other susceptible components within the house.

It is a sad indictment of our industry that quite often chasing the dollar leads to shortcuts and issues with quality control.

When you next purchase a house in Brisbane, book your detailed building and pest inspections through Action Property Inspections and protect your investment.



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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