Structural Defects are a fault or deviation from the intended structural performance of a building element. Structural normally means a part of the home that is carrying some type of weight or load. For example the homes stumps are structural, the carport posts are structural as they bear the load of the roof and perimeter wall frames behind the plaster lining are structural as they carry the load of the roof. Structural defects can be expensive to fix. Re-stumping can cost between $8000 and $20,000 depending on size of home and ease of access to carry out the works. Replacing of a carport post that has rot or has been eaten by termites may only cost $400.00

Inspection Defects

Test before you buy - Mr Inspector recently conducted a house inspection in Melbourne and came across an engaged pier that had detached from the main wall.

An inspection of the sub floor is essential during any building inspection as this is where many defects can surface that no one actually sees.  The photo shoes the defect and this is considered a structural issue and floor loads (bearers/joists) and wall frames all load onto the area of the permitter wall.  Roof loads sit on the walls and thus if this got worse or other piers detached the expense to repair would be substantial. Fortunately this did not cause to much grief as the span between the other piers was small.  A brick layer would be required to re-attach the pier at a small cost. If you are looking at buying a home, it is important to have someone qualified, knowledgable and experienced to assess before you purchase.

Building Inspection Brunswick – Stumping Defect

The above photograph was taken by Mr Inspector, a qualified building inspector and depicts a non compliant stump footing found at a building inspection in Brunswick.

This stump footing has not been adequately footed in the ground, rather it has been placed onto a timber off cut.  Stumps carry load and are required to be footed as per a geotech or engineers computations. This is considered a structural defect although it is rather easy and cheaply rectifed if it is only one stump as in the case above. It is important that your building inspector is qualified having completed a degree in Building Surveying and equally important that they access the sub floor to inspect a homes footings.

Building Inspection in Elwood – Major Cracking

The above photograph was taken by Mr Inspector, a qualified building inspector in Melbourne, during a recent inspection in Elwood, Melbourne.  The photo shows large excessive cracking and movement in the external masonry wall.  Three other areas had the same cracking.

The end result was a quote in excess of $45,000 to rectify the footings settlements alone.  After that the walls would require to be re-built, the home needed re-stumping and the rear sun room slab had basically cracked in half. Unfortunately for our client who resided interstate, they purchased the home subject to no  conditions and outside the cooling off period as they were unaware of the standard house buying process.  The client arrived from interstate and saw the cracking and engaged us to assess. This is an expensive reminder that you must do your due diligence before buying a home, including engaging a solicitor or conveyancer to go over the contract of sale and to have the home assessed for building defects and termites.

House Inspections Melbourne – Wall Cracking

Mr Inspector, a qualified building and pest inspector in Melbourne conducts pre-purchase inspections around Melbourne assisting home owners and purchasers make the right decision. Recently Mr Inspector was lucky enough to be engaged by a property developer to travel to New York and assess an apartment block he was considering investing in.  The above photograph shows some large patched areas and unevenness in the external mason walls. The wall would need extensive works carried out to straighten and stabilise. A structural engineer would need to be engaged to assess and offer rectification methods.

House Inspections in Melbourne – Wall Cracking

During our house inspections in Melbourne, we frequently comes across patched wall cracks either internally or externally and the difficultly lies in whether or not these cracks are dormant or live. Apart from the normal house inspection process, further enquires need to be made with tenants or vendors to ascertain when the cracks appeared, when they were patched and if they have been opening up over time.  FurtheraAssessment of the footings, foundation, drainage, trees, plumbing etc. is required.  This enables a more accurate assessment and solution. The above photograph was taken by Mr Inspector, a qualified building inspector in Melbourne after being engaged by a property developer to assess a number of dwellings in Soho, New York in December, 2014. The photograph depicts a masonry wall that has experienced some significant settlement and unevenness.   Extensive patching has taken place.  After consultation with a structural engineer the wall needed to be re-built at quite a large expense.

House Inspection in Ormond – Inadequate Footing

Mr Inspector is a fully qualified Building Inspector operating in Melbourne with over 11 years experience in the building inspection industry. The above photograph was taken during a building inspection in Ormond, Melbourne and depicts a timber off-cut placed onto the ground with a stump footing which is supporting the floor under a bathroom. Technically, although possibly doing its job of supporting, this does not comply with AS 2870 - 1996 Residential slabs and footings construction. Stumps must be designed for vertical gravity loads, vertical uplift loads and horizontal forces. The timber plate the stump was resting on had signs of decay and eventually the stump will move or collapse.  The house won't fall over but likely symptoms will be floor unevenness and wall cracks.  This is classed as a structural defect, however is relatively cheap and easy to rectify. It is important that every older home have a qualified building inspector (must have Diploma Building Surveying) assess the dwelling before buying.  Please contact Peter and Mr Inspector and he will be able to assist.

House Inspections Seaford – Sub Floor Defects

The most important area a building inspector should assess during any building inspection in Melbourne is the sub-floor or under the house.

Rarely is the sub floor inspected because rarely is this area inspected by home owners unless something goes wrong. The above photo was taken by Mr Inspector during a building and pest inspection in Seaford and shows an inadequate stump footing. Three bricks have been placed on top of a piece of timber to support the bearer and load.  This does not comply with current footing requirements and is a structural defect requiring assessing by a stumping contractor.  It may seem a minor fix but when re-stumping of a home is required you will need to obtain a building permit to carry out these works which is an additional cost. Mr Inspector has assessed numerous homes in the Bayside suburbs and often the building inspector a locates defects in the sub floor.

Building Inspections Springvale South – Sub Floor Defect

This above is a photograph taken by Mr Inspector, a qualified building inspector in Melbourne and shows excess water ponding under a home during a house inspection in Springvale South and considered a major structural defect.
A few years ago a particular civil case between a vendor and a purchaser ended up in the Supreme Court.  In summary, the purchaser had signed a contract to buy the vendors home subject to a building inspection with a "major structural fault" clause.  The building inspector found damp similar to the photo above and the purchaser wanted to opt out of the purchase. The vendor argued that water ponding in the sub floor was not a structural defect.  The Judge hearing the case basically made a finding that the water ponding under the home was not in itself a structural defect but if left as is, had the potential to cause a major structural defect. The end result of course was that the purchaser did not purchase the home. This portrays the importance of having Mr Inspector, a qualified building inspector in Melbourne, to carry out your building and pest inspections to locate defects that normally would not be picked up.

Building Inspections Sandringham – Cracked Concrete Stump

Mr Inspector, a qualified Building Inspector conducts professional pre-purchase Building and Pest Inspections in the Sandringham area and surrounds. The above photograph was taken by Mr Inspector during one of his many building inspections in Sandringham.
The cracked stump should be replaced although in this instance the defect had yet to cause any internal unevenness in floors or wall cracking.   It is better to be safe than sorry and have this stump replaced by a registered stumping contractor before any further problems appear. This shows the importance of having a qualified building inspector assess a property before you purchase, especially under the house.  Having all house defects known to you enables you to be in a better position to negotiate the sale price.

Building Inspections Sandringham – Sagging roof

Mr Inspector is a qualified building inspector who conducts building inspections in Sandringham and surrounding suburbs. The above photograph was taken during one of his building inspections in Sandringham.
The roof line is sagging and can be caused by weight gain in tiles over time or framing defects.  Mr Inspector observes this often during his house inspection on attached dwellings where brick party wall meets with the roof tiles and as you get further from the party wall you see some sagging due to tile weight gain over years. The structural integrity of the roof frame requires assessing and most times this can be monitored. Mr Inspector, who is located in Cheltenham believes a building inspection is imperative before you buy a home so all defects can be exposed, thus putting you in an informed position before buying.
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