Inspection of the subfloor in the photograph above identified moisture ingress to the underside of the bathroom timber flooring where the timber had begun to deteriorate due to inadequate waterproofing.
Inspection of the roof space in the photograph above identified that the ceiling straps were fretted which had resulted in the plasterglass ceiling detaching from the ceiling joist framing.
The moderate external wall cracking showed little evidence of the costly rectification works required to the inexperienced purchasers, however the nature of the cracking and plaster fretting demonstrated the extent of concrete cancer to the porch and window beams.
Inspection of the roof space in the above photograph identified a common safety issue found in many homes where insulation is in contact with the recessed halogen downlights. This is a cause of many house fires and does not comply with the minimum clearance and protection requirements stated in Australian Standard 3000.
Inspection of the roof space to the alfresco area in the above photograph identified the plasterboard ceiling lining had begun to detach from the ceiling joist framing due to the fixing method not complying to the manufacturers recommendations of screw fixing only. .
The photograph above shows a single central roof strut supporting the hip rafters and a 4m purlin span. This is a common defect found in older homes and although this roof framing has essentially maintained its structural integrity over a considerable time period additional roof strutting was recommended to prevent further deflection of the underpurlin and maintain the structural integrity into the future.
Inspection of the roof space to the Bunbury residence above identified that the structural integrity of the roof truss had been compromised due to a number of web chords not secured to the top chord.
The photograph above demonstrates on site modifications to the two intersecting roof beams. Although the correct size, the steel universal beam's load bearing capacity has been greatly reduced by the cutting of two thirds of the upright which resulted in only the top section of the beam bearing onto the brickwork.
If you are planning to purchase an existing residence it is wise to consider making the offer subject to a building inspection which includes not only structural defects but also significant defects as these items can also be costly to rectify.
Below are some defects commonly observed during inspections in existing homes.
Advice: The following recommendations formed part of the scope of works that was implemented.
The main living area pictured right formed part of the rear extension which was orientated to face north. This was to allow the low angled 34 degree sun to penetrate into the living area through the large north facing windows and heat up the thermal mass which consisted of a concrete slab on ground covered in dark travertine stone tiles and masonry walls. This allows the stored heat to slowly re-radiate into the living area during the cool night.
To prevent the high angled 81 degree summer sun penetrating the north facing glass and overheating the residence, the correct eaves width was incorporated to provide summer shading as pictured in the design brief on the right.
Smaller south facing windows with casement sashes were installed to the living area to capture cooling south westerly breezes in summer and ensure good cross flow ventilation.
High performance window frames and glazing units were specified which consisted of cedar timber frames with 6mm laminated double glazed sealed units. A low E coating was incorporated to the double glazed units in the living area for its reflective properties. Timber frames were selected over aluminium frames for their superior thermal performance. The installation of heavy block-out drapes provided further resistance to heat flow.
The outdoor covered alfresco was situated on the east side of the living area to ensure that the living was bathed in natural light and the warm northern winter sun was not restricted from heating the thermal mass
As older homes generally have large amounts of uncontrolled air leakage through open chimneys, unsealed wall vents, windows and doors, draft seals were installed together with balanced flue gas log fires which do not require wall and ceiling vents like general gas heating does.
Thermal resistance to heat flow through the ceiling was provided by R3.5 insulation batts, anticon blankets and reflective sarking.
Energy efficient appliances, lighting and variable speed pumps were selected. The use of pendant lighting and LED downlights protected by non vented fire rated covers greatly reduced air leakage commonly associated with the poor performance of halogen downlights that penetrate the ceiling and require a 200mm clearance from insulating materials.
The installation of ceiling fans to all bedrooms and the family room provides low cost cooling to supplement the solar passive design principles.
A 3kW solar panel system was installed on the northern elevation to take advantage of Perths sunny climate and reduce energy costs.
Water conservation was achieved by connecting all the roof stormwater run off into a large underground water tank that feeds the water supply to the laundry and WC's. Water efficient plumbing fixtures were selected through out. The installation of a hidden pool blanket was provided to reduce evaporation.
A low maintenance and drought tolerant native verge and front landscaped garden was incorporated to further assist in water conservation with higher water use plants such as fruit trees, herbs and ornamentals grouped together at the rear of the property
The result: The completed residence has now achieved a energy rating of 8 stars despite its large footprint which has greatly reduced the occupiers reliance on artificial heating and cooling and ensures considerable cost savings into the future.
Whether you are considering renovating your home or need to carry out some maintenance or remedial works to your home, we can assist. We provide independent advice to help you make an informed decision on the most cost effective ways to improve your residence or rectifying any existing building defects.
Case study 1: Sustainablility Assessment and project management to an existing 1930's Art Deco renovation and extension.
Brief: To create a modern contemporary extension to seamlessly merge into the original Art Deco residence where the original front façade and four rooms were to be retained. The primary focus was to incorporate energy efficiency and sustainability into the design.
History: The original 1930's residence which was located in Wembley was typical for its era, consisting of 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and a lean-to sleep-out. The rooms were poorly orientated, dark, cold in winter and hot in summer.
The residence was rated for energy efficiency and achieved a poor rating of only 1 star. The more stars a home rates the better the thermal performance will be which results in less reliance on mechanical heating and cooling thus saving money on running costs.