Should I get my own timber pest inspection report?

When purchasing a home, a building and timber pest inspection are required to find out if there are any problems with the structure or if there are any timber pests.  

Who should organise this? 

Inspections can be organised by a number of parties, but some present a conflict of interest.

i) The Vendor - The vendor is ideally looking for a report that says the home has a "clean bill of health"; as such, if they engage a pest and/or building inspector, there is a possibility that the inspector is put under duress to present the report in the most favourable possible light. 

ii) The real estate agent -  is looking primarily after the interests of a vendor. By definition, the real estate agent has the primary role of selling the property. If they engage an inspector, they could possibly try to engage one that will be more "easy going", less fastidious in finding potential problems with the property. 

iii) The purchases conveyancer - If you're buying, then your conveyancer may organise the Inspection as a matter of due diligence. This wholesale outsourcing of inspections can present a problem if the inspector is possibly asked to provide cut price inspections or is too busy to perform thorough inspections. Although acting in your behalf, it's just a matter of a few minutes whilst your discussing the purchase with your conveyancer to find out who they use and check a few reviews. 👌🏻

iv) The purchaser - this is the most ideal candidate for organising a timber pest and building inspection, but there are potential pitfalls. Often, the purchaser can be financially stretched to the limit, especially with real estate prices rocketing. The temptation can be to find the "best deal", not all timber pest inspectors are created equal. The cheaper the price, the quicker the report, the quicker the report, the greater the possibility something will be missed. You're better off spending a bit more and getting a quality, detailed report rather than a cheap one.  

Will your Inspection include photos and inform you of potential problems? The best way to know may be to organise it yourself.

Will your Inspection include photos and inform you of potential problems? The best way to know may be to organise it yourself.

 

There are potential problems in each of these scenarios, and not all inspectors are created equal, a conflict of interest can arise in each case.

Ideally, its best to look into each scenario and make an informed decision that you're comfortable with. In theory, there isn't a problem with each of these options, in practice, our experience has been otherwise. 

Either way, do your homework, use reputable, licenced and insured inspectors and your possibility of surprises will be reduced.  

 

The Area around the property should also be checked to reveal potential threats.

The Area around the property should also be checked to reveal potential threats.

Signs of Termites in walls

How do you know if you have termites in your wall? 

There are tell tale signs that are specific to termites.

Cracking in walls can be a sign that something sinister is happening behind the wall. The mud spots confirm that it's termites.

Cracking in walls can be a sign that something sinister is happening behind the wall. The mud spots confirm that it's termites.

Termites will always seal any opening with their mud, here you can see tightly packed mud filling in the gaps.

Termites will always seal any opening with their mud, here you can see tightly packed mud filling in the gaps.

Subtle changes in timber cover strips can be a dead giveaway. Here the vertical timber strip and the one to the left has been eaten out, the strip on the right remains intact.

Subtle changes in timber cover strips can be a dead giveaway. Here the vertical timber strip and the one to the left has been eaten out, the strip on the right remains intact.

Inside this built in wardrobe you can see evidence of termite workings. There is a tiny bit of mud right in the middle of the corner at the top and spots of mud/mould is visible on the Left Hand side. This is a clear indication of termite activity behind the walls.

Inside this built in wardrobe you can see evidence of termite workings. There is a tiny bit of mud right in the middle of the corner at the top and spots of mud/mould is visible on the Left Hand side. This is a clear indication of termite activity behind the walls.

Delignification - or chemical defibration.

Chemical delignification is a process that breaks down the lignin in timber. Lignin is an organic polymer that acts as a glue in timber (amongst other things), giving structural integrity to cell walls and thus holding the fibres together. It's the same material that gets attacked by fungal decay. The result is similar, the timber loses its structural integrity and slowly flakes apart. 

Chemical delignification gives this roof batten its "hairy" appearance.  

Chemical delignification gives this roof batten its "hairy" appearance.  

Delignification is often found in roof timber battens as depicted in these pictures, being caused by chemicals in the air. Often it is found near heavy industry, major roads or not far from the Sea.  

If there is significant damage caused by delignification then it's best to get it checked for structural integrity by a builder, seeing that roof battens are often affected by this phenomenon, caution should be exercised when walking around on roofs.

This chemical defibration was discovered in Newcastle, an area with historically a lot of heavy industry and is not too far from the ocean!

This chemical defibration was discovered in Newcastle, an area with historically a lot of heavy industry and is not too far from the ocean!

See a video showing the obvious effects of chemical defibration on roof battens.  

Chemical Termite treatments after heavy rain and flooding.

Following the East Coast Low, heavy rainfall has battered a large portion of the East Coast of Australia. Many homes were flooded and a large portion of land was inundated with water, both moving and standing. Does this flooding and saturation affect chemical termite treatments?

A technical note from BASF regarding Termidor treatments can be found here.