Well, today was the day we had booked in our independent inspector to have a lockup/preplaster inspection - and of course, the best-laid plans are laid to waste by plasterers who decided to start on our house EARLY - thus our "preplaster inspection" is more of a "mid-plaster inspection". I missed a call from Alex (our inspector) this morning - turns out he arrived at our house early, and he started his inspection early because he found the plasterers already sticking up the ceiling and walls!
I didn't make it to the inspection due to work, but Tina met Monique and Alex on site to have a look around. Anyway, let's start with the plaster pics first.
Kitchen/family room area.
Kitchen window splashback, surrounded (mostly) by plaster. Long cornices sitting on the floor.
Dining room with plaster waiting to be installed, home theatre room off to the left.
Bathroom - not "normal" plaster used here, special wet-area sheeting used.
Anyway, back to the inspection. To be honest, quite annoyed at the plaster going up ahead of schedule, as we were very clear that we wanted the inspection done prior to any plaster being put up so that the frame could be inspected as well. However, the plasterers (being third party subcontractors) seem to do what they feel like, and what can we do about that?
Alex picked up on 18 items on his inspection, some easy to fix and trivial, some a little more involved. Anyway, let's do a brief assessment and my layperson's assessment of the seriousness of each.
1) Garage internal access door - gap between the bricks and frame. Easy - timber infill or similar to fix.
2) Some bricks on the garage slab stained from brick cleaners acid. Easy - just need recleaning.
3) Garage boundary brickwork substantially overhanging slab. Medium-Hard - need an engineer to design a rectification solution to support the brickwork.
4) Holes in mortar around the house. Easy -just needs new mortar added.
5) Perpends in alfresco piers over tolerance. Easy (apparently.) Tina says it's a minor cosmetic issue.
6) Timber quads to be installed around afresco beams. Easy -again, a cosmetic issue.
7) Timber infill needed over alfresco door/window. Easy.
8) Powder room window damaged along top edge. Easy (apparently), Monique will get that fixed.
9) Render splatters on brickwork to be cleaned. Easy.
10) Brickwork short of entry frame. Medium - needs door frame adjustment, or infill to match doorframe.
11) Kitchen bulkheads (not load bearing) are in contact with floor joists, need to have a clearance between these two. Medium-Hard -not sure how this can be fixed?
12) Sewer waste pipe (from upstairs toilet) cuts through top of Smart Joist truss - not allowed. Hard? I googled the manufacturers data, and apparently they need a photo and description of the damage to the joist so they can say what needs to be done to fix it. A similar situation was seen with the ensuite shower waste cutting through the joist, and a new beam was fixed adjacent to that, so I suspect a similar fix is needed.
13) Heating ducts are installed through a number of joists, with the holes beyond the maximum size allowed for these joists. Hard? Maybe needs reinforcement of joists where the holes have been cut. Alex only noticed the heating ducts in the family room, but there are a number of other heating ducts through the ground floor which have also been cut through joists, and would need similar rectification. (Of course, to fix all these things the ceiling will have to be pulled off, the rectifications done, and ceiling replastered. Not our fault the plasterers started early!)
14) Tension bracing not adequately fixed to top & bottom plates. Easy - Hard? Monique reckons they're to manufacturers spec, so we'll see what the documentation says.
15) Ply brace in kitchen not nailed in. Easy - just nail in some more nails!
16) Lintels missing over openings in non load-bearing walls (doorways, robes etc). Medium - Hard. Because the plastering is mostly done upstairs, the plaster needs to be removed, lintels installed and replastered. See why the plasterers shouldn't have been booked until the result of our independent inspection?
17) Noggin missing in kitchen wall. Medium. Remove plaster, add noggin, replaster. Sigh... would've been easier... if the plaster wasn't put up early! Spot a trend here?
18) Floor waste to laundry in wrong spot. Medium. Move floor waste, get engineer to approve modification to slab and termite protection is intact. Alex recommends viewing proof all this has been done (eg engineer's report) which is a good idea.
Things weren't all bad though - Alex did state that the brickwork was done to a very high standard, which we're both extremely happy with!
Soooooo... things were going too well I guess to not have some hiccups! On the whole, about half the things Alex picked up were minor and easily fixed. However, the remainder are slightly more complicated, and would be MUCH easier to fix, if the plaster hadn't been installed.
However, the outcome of having this inspection done is that we're going to follow up on the items identified, and ensure that things are made good to standards. I doubt there's ever been a house built that was constructed 110% correct from the outset, and providing that these items are corrected to the relevant standards, we'll be happy still! I reckon there'll be a significant amount of plaster removal and replacement - however that's not our problem!
So, finally a plug for Alex at urbaninspectreport.com.au for doing a thorough job. Stay tuned for followup regarding what happens next. I'll be emailing Alex's report to our construction CSC (I'm not sure who that is this week, it seems to change every month) and will call Monique tomorrow morning to ensure she has a copy of the report, and find out her plans for rectification. Plastering (except cornices) is 99% complete (in one day!) but there's not much point doing any further work until these items are rectified to our satisfaction.
Wish us luck everyone!