Definition of building defect
Defects within new buildings are areas of non-compliance with the Building Code of Australia, various Australian Standards and published acceptable tolerances and standards. Older buildings, or buildings out of warranty period, may not comply with these standards but must be judged against the standard at the time of construction or refurbishment.
Obvious examples of a defect are cracked, damaged or deteriorated brick walls,
dampness to a building
as well as, excessive sagging to a roof or ceiling.
To determine the actual defect requires a professional inspection to find the cause of the problem and to provide the right information for remedial works.
Also, defects may exist in areas not accessed by a homeowner such as
Roof construction can also be affected by fire damage and must be assessed as structurally adequate.
A defect within a building may be a result of sub-standard work or lack of expertise at time of construction. Examples are concrete cancer (spalling), mainly to units and are a result of poor building practices during the 1960's and 1970's, but was amended with a new Concrete Code in the 1980's.
An example of non-compliance is roof construction to buildings older than 1930 where the framework does not comply with current standards. The framework is adequate for the original roof loads, but may be inadequate if the roof is changed. The changing of the roofing can create a building defect.
A defect in an older building may also be caused by lack of adequate maintenance. General maintenance items, such as rebedding and repointing of roof hip and ridge tiles, repainting, normal wear and tear as well as ageing are not a defect. Typical cracks to brickwork and contours of timber floors affected by clay soil movement is not structural and therefore not a defect.
A building, product or application can become defective through age and lack of maintenance and professional advice should be obtained to ensure that replacement or works undertaken are using materials and current systems of application that are appropriate to the building.
Examples of building defects are where structural settlement cracks are occurring to brickwork, non-compliance with termite systems, excessive structural sagging to a roof, ill-fitting windows and doors, leaking showers and sagging ceilings.
A professional inspection and report will not only provide accurate information on defects, as well as maintenance items that require attention so that remedial works are undertaken to a suitable standard.
Defective or inadequate termite systems can allow termites to access a building and cause substantial damage including structural damage to timbers.
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