New construction Stage Inspections

It is important to carry out stage inspections during your new build, as each stage of new construction progresses, certain building elements will be concealed and not able to be inspected or assessed for installation or compliancy.

By having staged inspections, if any defects are encountered, they can be rectified before progressing to the next stage of construction and before these items, become concealed and covered over. If these defects are not uncovered during the building stage, these defects, can cause issues or structural defects, down the track and lead to costly repairs.

plan

The new construction stage inspections that are available include.

  • Base stage ( Pre- slab pour )
  • Slab ( after the pour )
  • Plate height ( Completion of Brickwork)
  • Roof frame ( before the roof cover goes on )
  • Lock – up ( once waterproofing has been complete )
  • PCI-Handover
  • Warranty Maintenance Defect Period

Base Stage Inspection

The base stage inspection,  is one of the most important part of any new construction, as this is the foundations, that the building will be sitting on. Once the concrete has been poured, the re-enforcement’s, slab/footings preparation and specific engineering requirement’s, will be concealed.

A list of some of the items that are inspected prior to slab pour:

  1. Site compaction
  2. Footing and slab thickness
  3. Slab thickening were required.
  4. Set down to wet areas and other areas (were required) also being recessed in base to maintain slab thickness.
  5. Slab beams
  6. Re-enforcements as per engineers’ details and specifications
  7. Re-entrant bars were required.
  8. Reinforcements tied off were required
  9. Moisture Vapor barrier
  10. Bar chairs
  11. Pipe penetration’s through slab (thickening were required)
  12. Termite barriers to slab or termite fittings to penetrations through slabs. ( pre slab spray or termite collars to pipe penetration’s.

The same applies to suspended concrete slabs for double storeys.

With many WA builders adopting Deemed to Satisfy or Alternative Solutions,  it is extremely important that the building has been constructed as per engineers details and specifications.

One of the common DTS provisions being adopted by some project builders are, constructing house slabs to 75mm thick. The Australian standards is a minimum of 85mm thick. 

Extract from AS 2870. Residential slabs and footings.

“ In Western Australia, for slabs under 25 m in length, where specified by an appropriately qualified engineer, the slab thickness may be reduced to 85 mm (from 100mm) with reinforcement as specified below”. All other details remain the same as follows.

  1. (a) SL53 when maximum slab length≤12 m.
  2. (b) SL63 when maximum slab length >12 m and <18 m.
  3. (c) SL62 when maximum slab length≥18 m and <25 m

Slab inspection

This stage is to assess the completion and finish of the slab.

Items inspected include:

  1. Levelness of slab and footings ( using electronic equipment and 2m level )
  2. Overall measurements to slab and footings
  3. Setbacks from boundaries
  4. Setdown to wet areas.
  5. Pipe penetrations through slab
  6. Slab edge moisture barrier ( if being sprayed )
  7. Assess any cracking if any.

Plate height inspection

This is also another important critical stage of construction, as the brick work or framing of your house is another key structural component of the build.

Items inspected include:-

  1. Mortar joints & masonry appearance (Brickwork workmanship)
  2. All internal and external measurements. Check measurements of site and compare to final construction plans/drawings
  3. Elevations to ensure, correct heights have been built.
  4. Levelness of window frames, door frames, Tbars and lintels, including, they have been installed as per plans and manufacturers guidelines.
  5.  Check that window and door frames have been installed the correct opening.
  6. Lintels Adequate bearing and coverage, over openings or frames.
  7. Roof tie down straps (Adequate tiedowns installed)
  8. Wall tie spacing
  9. Wall Cavities (Not blocked and free from obstructions)
  10. Structural columns, rods, wall stiffeners, wind posts, pwps, (Installed as per engineers Specifications)
  11. Flashings & weepholes to the perimeter of the building and over openings were required.
  12. Concrete slab (for damage)

Roof frame Inspection

once roof frame is complete and before the roof cover goes on
Is another critical component to a new build. This is also another area were builders are adopting Deemed to satisfy provisions. The engineer’s details should be made available to access the construction method that has been certified from the engineer and adopted to the applicable construction method.

Areas inspected include:

  1. Perimeter roof tie downs
  2. Eave construction
  3. Strut connections
  4. Rafter connections
  5. Batten connections
  6. Collar ties
  7. Rafter, ceiling and battens spacing
  8. Beam installation as per engineers details.
  9. Additional fixings or tie downs as per engineers details.
  10. Over all workmanship

Lock-up Inspection

This is carried out, when the waterproofing has been applied to the wet areas and is inspected before the tiler starts.

This is another area, that can’t be assessed once the tiling has been complete and can also result in leaking shower recesses, if not done, in accordance to AS3740 or the NCC part 3.8.1.

Areas inspected at this stage include:

  1. Water proofing to all wet areas.
  2. Installation of all internal cabinetry and shelving.
  3. Electrical plan checks to ensure that all fittings and GPOs have been installed or provisions been allowed for. (These sometimes get plastered over and filled in, or just missed.)
  4. Down pipes and external tap fittings.
  5. General finish to the ceiling linings and internal walls.  

PCI ( Practical completion Inspection) Handover Inspection

This is a very detailed Inspection, to inspect on all the finishing touches to the construction of the main building.

Areas Inspected Internally include: 

  • Painting to all areas (including bottom of door edges)
  • Window treatments and glazing
  • Floor coverings
  • Internal cabinetry
  • Falls in tiling to wet areas
  • Sealant to junctions in wet areas and cabinetry
  • Cracked, scratched or pitted tiling
  • Blocked drain wastes
  • Operation of general plumbing items
  • Scratches or damages to building elements.
  • Electrical plan check
  • Sealing of penetrations through internal cabinetry

Roof Void

  • Installation of insulation
  • Downlights not covered by insulation
  • Connections of ducting to flues
  • Aircon ducting
  • Roof frame if not assed prior ( however access is greatly restricted by this time )

Roof covering

  • Condition of gutters, fascia’s, valleys, flashings
  • Overhang of roof sheeting or tiling into the gutters
  • Pointing to ridges were required (tiled roof)
  • Cracked or damaged tiling
  • Joints sealed were required.
  • Paint to flues/pipes if required

Exterior of main building

  • Finish to exterior walls, any signs of damage
  • Exterior painting
  • Eaves lining
  • Penetrations through walls sealed
  • Finish to paving/concrete
  • Vanadium staining to brick work
  • HWS or aircon overflows connected to suitable drainage.
  • Condition of down pipes and connected to drainage.
  • Weepholes
  • Evidence of Termite management
  • Site clean and tidy and free from builder’s debris

Builders warranty Maintenance period

This inspection is carried out months after the handover inspection. Generally, most builders offer their clients a 3-12 month warranty maintenance period.

This is to address any defects that have become apparent as a result of general building settlement or warranty items that are covered under the builder’s warranty maintenance period.

It is recommended that this inspection be carried prior to the warranty maintenance dead line.

This is the last time the builder will be interested in addressing these issues, therefore it is essential to identify any maintenance and warranty issues, so they can be rectified. When the home-owner presents their issues to the builder’s, they are often told that it is not a warranty item, and therefore it usually doesn’t get addressed or fixed.

The benefit of having an experienced, professional and completely independent inspector prepare a Maintenance & Warranty report for you, is to ensure that you are not misled about the responsibility of the builder.

The following, are an example of areas inspected during this stage.

  • All external brickwork
  • Fascia, gutters, eaves and roof areas
  • Window and door frames/glazing
  • All internal walls, cornices and ceilings
  • Doors, architraves & skirtings
  • Floor coverings
  • Test all taps and waste pipes
  • Kitchen and bathroom cupboards
  • Appliances if installed
  • Painting and timber staining
  • Check wet areas for possible leaks using moisture meters
  • Wall & floor tiling
  • Garage and carport areas
  • Concrete driveways and paving
  • Roof void.