Thursday, August 12, 2010

Inspecting your house: Australian Standards, Building Code Australia etc

OK, so I was trying to find a guide to doing a completion inspection - here's some of the useful things unearthed. Of course, anyone building a new house with any builder would be wise to sign up to homeone and read the forums thoroughly (and use the search facility before posting a question that has been answered many times before). Here's some of the useful ones we'll be adapting for our inspection;

A&E's guide on H1
Another H1 PCI checklist
Yet another H1 PCI checklist
Archicentre guide
Jay's comment on previous post

So "PCI" usually means "Practical Completion Inspection", but of course all the different builders use different terms for the same thing. We'll be getting our independent inspector in, as it will be money well spent. To be honest, I think we'll both be a little dazed at the fact our home is "practically completed" to be doing a thorough inspection, so having an experienced independent third party will be useful, plus will hopefully have better eyes than us.

The other thing having an independent inspector around for, will be his ability (I hope!) to back up any significant problem by referring to the relevant building standards. I spent ages trying to find our where to get these Australian Standards, or Building Code of Australia documents online - turns out it's not free access. But if you have access to a university library, they may have a licence to access the building code. Wonder why such an important document isn't freely available? The cynic in me would suggest it's a nationwide conspiracy to keep consumers in the dark and unaware of their rights to demand a product delivered within acceptable toleranes - but then again, that's just the cynic in me.

However, I was able to find a "Guide to Standards and Tolerances" - two links to the same document are:

which are useful to anyone at any stage of building, not just completion. Wish I'd read this 6 months ago!

I also spoke to someone at work today who's a residential electrician, and he agrees with me that our light positioning is rubbish and not to tolerances ("Just plain lazy and/or careless electricians" is his exact words), plus our powder room exhaust must be externally vented as there's no opening windows in the room, and the exhaust fan must also be wired in series with the light switch. More things to watch for at our completion inspection! I think the positioning of the lights is the thing that bugs me the most - to be fair, the builder/SS seems to be doing the right thing 95% of the time, but to not pick up that the lights are nowhere near the centre of the room is a fairly major oversight. Just fix that, and I'd be a super happy chappy!

Memo to self: Rod was meant to go to the house today and measure up the bit of fence that needs to be replaced adjacent to the garage, to be done ASAP! It's been down since November last year, and it's not fair on our long-suffering neighbours and their dog! Seems to me that they could've built that garage wall with the original fence intact, since all they did was replace my timber paling fence with a bit of temporary security fence anyway! Also to get carpet deposit confirmed/paid tomorrow.


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