03 9899 7980
03 9859 7043
02 7200 7658
07 3114 2344

10 major building defects found during home inspections in melbourne

For most people, a home is one of the biggest investments they’ll ever make. It makes sense to seek the best service possible while constructing a new house, upgrading an existing home or buying.

You have every right to demand the greatest level of craftsmanship. However, this is not always the case. The unfortunate but true reality is that thousands of homes erected in Melbourne each year have serious flaws.

There are numerous ways for things to go wrong, ranging from structural defects that leave people shivering in the cold to dangerous electrical failures.

We provide a range of services to suit your budgets, such as pre-purchase inspections, new home inspections, rental property inspections, and more. If you’re building a new home, looking to purchase, or renovating in Victoria, get in touch with our team at Landmark Building Inspections to book an inspection.

We cover the 10 most common problems identified during home inspections in Melbourne and what to look for in a new home inspection. We’ll also give you some pointers on what to do if you run across one or more of these problems.

What is considered a major defect?

Major defects are significant problems with a building that may make it unsafe. They’re most commonly related to the structure of the building, including the foundations, floors, walls, and roof and are often caused by issues with design, poor construction, or faulty materials.

Major defects can be dangerous, potentially causing the building to collapse, and can also be costly to fix. It’s important to identify and address these defects as soon as possible.

Issues with “Load-bearing” components such as foundations, floors, walls, joints, piles, plates, and roof trusses can be considered a major defect. To prevent major defects, it’s important to follow the National Construction Code, which provides guidelines for designing and constructing buildings in Australia. These guidelines cover the strength and stability of buildings, as well as fire safety and waterproofing.

What is considered a minor defect?

Minor defects are small damages that can affect the appearance or functionality of a building but don’t compromise structural integrity. Examples include blemishes, thin cracks, corrosion, wall dents, general wear and tear, and uneven finishes.

While these issues may not require immediate attention, they should be inspected by a professional and included in a building and inspection report.

Common major building defects in melbourne homes

1. Subfloor structural timber defects

It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of your new home and forget about the intricacies of construction. Behind every wall, ceiling, and floor, is a complicated network of structural timber joists that supports everything above them. While they may not appear to be much, they are absolutely essential for holding your home upright!

Although the majority of new homes in Melbourne are of high quality, there have been cases when builders cut corners or neglected to adequately treat and maintain structural timber against moisture damage. This can lead to major issues later on, such as sinking floors, cracked walls, and even collapse!

If you suspect that your home may be affected, you should have it checked out by a professional as soon as possible.

2. Defects in stumps, especially rotten timber stumps

Timber stumps act as pillars that support the floor joists in your home. It’s critical to keep them in good working order because they are critical to the stability and safety of your home.

Unfortunately, there have been cases of some builders cutting corners by using poor materials or failing to treat the timber properly. This can lead to major rot and deterioration problems such as sagging floors and cracked walls, which can be costly to repair. Do yourself a favour and have any timber stumps examined by a specialist.

3. Water damage

Water damage is a problem that can occur when water enters a building and causes damage to the structure or its contents. Water damage can be caused by a variety of things, such as leaks in pipes, roof damage, or flooding.

One sign of water damage is visible damage to walls, ceilings, or floors. This can include things like discolouration, peeling paint, or warping. Water damage can also cause mould to grow in hidden areas of the building, such as behind walls or under flooring. Mould can be dangerous to your health, so it’s important to address water damage as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading.

If you suspect that you have water damage in your home, it’s important to act quickly to fix the problem and prevent further damage. This may involve calling a professional to repair any leaks or damages, and cleaning and drying out affected areas to prevent mould growth. Ignoring water damage can lead to more serious problems and costly repairs down the line, so it’s important to take care of it as soon as possible.

4. Roof damage

The roof sheets show traces of damage from a falling limb, according to an inspection of the external roofing. Due to the age of the materials and a lack of regular care, the roofing has developed a variety of problems, including loose sheeting, sheet lifting and sagging, chemical delignification, and deterioration of adjacent building elements.

Water has gotten through the compromised roof sheets. This has resulted in internal roof leaks and water damage in the surrounding region.

To guarantee that no further damage occurs, all loose roof sheets should be re-fixed as quickly as possible. Replacement of parts of roof sheets or associated components may be required, depending on the amount of damage. It is always recommended that you hire a roofing restoration contractor to do any essential repairs.

5. Plumbing defects or issues

If you do not have breather pipes installed in your home, you will most likely have plumbing issues. Breather pipes are crucial for allowing air to flow around the system and avoiding water from becoming trapped.

Without them, water can accumulate and cause significant damage to your property. If you believe that your property lacks breather pipes, waiting until the situation worsens might rapidly become costly.

Therefore, it is critical to contact a plumber as soon as possible so that they can analyse the situation and prescribe a plan of action.

6. Retaining walls that were inadequately constructed

Retaining walls are built to keep soil and water in place. However, if they are not properly constructed, they can cause more harm than help. If a retaining wall is excessively tall or lacks adequate support, it may collapse and cause significant damage to your home.

Incorrectly constructed retaining walls can also let water seep through and lead to erosion. Therefore, it’s crucial to guarantee that any retaining walls on your property are built correctly by a skilled landscaper or builder.

7. No insulation in the roof void

Insulating your roof is important as it helps to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you don’t have appropriate insulation in your roof, heat can escape, which makes it hard to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. This can lead to higher energy bills as you’ll use more heat or air conditioning to make up for the heat that’s escaping.

Insulating your roof is especially important if you live in a cold climate, such as in Victoria, as without enough insulation, your home can lose heat easily. This can make it harder and more expensive to keep your home warm during the winter.

Or, during the summer months, an insulated roof can help to keep your home cool by preventing heat from entering the house through the roof. This can save you money on air conditioning costs in the summer.

It’s important to make sure your roof is properly insulated to help keep your home comfortable and energy efficient. This will save you money on energy bills and makes your home more comfortable to live in.

8. Electrical problems

The switchboard is the most typical source of electrical problems in new homes. A switchboard is a junction box through which all the energy in the home flows, powering appliances and lights.

If you’ve been involved in new home construction, you’ve probably seen a lot of builders working on this portion of the house. It’s important to be mindful of problems with your switchboard at all times, not just when your house is under construction.

Your builder can leave behind some serious and perhaps dangerous electrical flaws when they leave. To save time and money, inexperienced contractors might install inferior switches and connecting units rather than high-quality, long-lasting components.

This can lead to serious issues down the road, such as:

  • Faulty wiring
  • Fire hazards
  • Burnt-out lights
  • Defective breakers

It’s a good idea to start with your switchboard when investigating these potential problems. Look for indications of corrosion such as rust, dents, or bent pins; any of these things could suggest that your switchboard is compromised.

If you observe any of these problems, you should have an electrician look at them as soon as possible.

9. Insect and pest infestations

Getting a termite inspection before putting your house on the market is critical. If an inspector discovers termite damage or infestations, you’ll be able to hire professional infestation services to fix the issue before it is discovered during the selling process.

Finding a termite infestation during the selling process could seriously jeopardize your chances of completing a smooth transaction. That is why it is critical to have a termite inspection before listing your home for sale. This gives the homeowner the opportunity to hire professional home infestation services to address and resolve the problem.

Despite the absence of live termites or timber pest activity, previous termite damage was discovered on a rafter above the en-suite and a top wall plate above the study sliding door. The owner, on the other hand, hired Landmark Inspections who were able to repair and reinforce the damaged timbers right away. Before and after pictures are included below.

10. Broken sash cords on the windows

Sashes are the sliding window panes that slide vertically over one another to reveal one-half of the window space. Steel weights or counterbalances are frequently used to balance the weight of the glazed panel during this operation. A cord passes across a pulley at the top of the frame to connect the sash weight. These cords will degrade with time and will need to be replaced.

Repairing or replacing sash cords is a labour-intensive task that is best left to an expert carpenter or window restorer. It is recommended that such repairs be completed in order to improve the window’s operating state.

Professional building inspection services

A building inspection is one step you should never skip. It’s one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that your new home is a good investment, and it’s critical to do your research before making such a large purchase.

Anyone looking to buy a home or fix up an existing one should seek the advice of a professional building inspector in order to make a well-informed decision. For professional building inspection services in Melbourne, get in touch with Landmark Building Inspections.