Most drivers have their car serviced every 6 months or so and many visit their doctor at least once a year. We find it easy to look after ourselves and our cars this way but how often do we get the house inspected for infestations? Unfortunately, homeowners who don’t get their house inspected will find it a very expensive mistake to correct, especially when there are termites to contend with.
In Australia, the chance that your home will be invaded by termites is 12 times greater than suffering a house fire and yet termite damage isn’t covered by most home insurance. But with most termite species capable of wreaking havoc and doing significant damage in as little as 6 months, it’s crucial for homeowners to have a termite management plan in place.
For the most part, an effective termite management plan combines regular termite inspections and installation of a suitable termite management system. The plan is set into motion, however, by a timely termite inspection. Naturally, property owners like yourself would want to know how inspectors do their investigation and make a thorough inspection.
The Standard Inspection Process
Pre purchase termite inspections are mostly a visual process where the technician checks accessible areas of the property. The technician’s skill, knowledge, and experience are critical in making sure he or she doesn’t miss out the numerous signs of termite activity.
Before the inspection proceeds, however, the technician has to explain the areas to inspect and those that he or she can’t. Typically, a note of the areas that were inaccessible at the time of the inspection will be made on the final inspection report. An explanation will also be provided why such nooks weren’t inspected.
In case of heavy infestation, the inspector may ask permission to access private areas or remove necessary panels.
A termite inspection will start from the outside of the property. The technician will have a careful look at the gardens, fences, any existing tree stumps, etc. It is worth noting that these areas are often susceptible to a termite attack or worse, contain a termite nest.
In addition to these, the inspection will cover structures (e.g. outhouses, sheds, garages, etc.) that are within the property’s boundaries.
After checking the outdoor spaces, the internal inspection can then begin. The procedure involves checking every room that is accessible i.e. window frames, door frames, all available skirting boards, etc. Roof voids and sub-floors will have to be accessed for proper assessment, too. In case the said areas are hard to reach, it pays to note that Australian standards 4349.3 has set guidelines on what may be considered a reasonable access to such crawl spaces.
Every area of the property has to be inspected but two areas inspectors may skip are the sub-floor space and the roof void. There has to be a good reason for them not to check these places, though. The guidelines for such exceptions are as follows:
- Sub-Floor Space
For a house that has a sub-floor (not a slab), it has to be checked during the termite inspection. The standard crawl space for sub-floors has to be a minimum of 400mm because anything below that makes it difficult for any inspector to check the area.
In case the sub-floor is below 400mm, it can be considered a limitation. However, this has to be written into the final report.
- Roof Void
No termite inspection should be complete without an assessment of this part, especially whenever access is possible. A reasonable access to the roof void should have the following criteria: the manhole cover leading to it has to be 400×500 and it must be accessible from a 3.6-meter ladder. In addition, the crawl space for the roof void has to be no less than 600×600 or the inspector may refuse access to the area due to a lack of accessibility.
A typical termite inspection can be broken down into key areas:
- Sub-floor (if present and accessible) – All corners of the sub-floor will have to be inspected to check the supporting structures, drainage, and flooring timbers. This area is the most critical area to be inspected as termites are subterranean and come from the ground, and then work their way up.
- Building interior – Each room has to be checked but most especially the wet areas (the laundry, kitchen, and bathroom, for instance). A moisture meter will often be used to detect potential leaks and that’s because dampness attracts termites.
- Exterior areas – The soil level and external structures can conceal potential termite entry points and that’s something the termite inspector has to look out for. As he or she goes around the place, observing elevated moisture levels due to nearby watering systems and drainage issues will be a crucial assessment since it makes the area even more attractive to white ants. Needless to say, special attention has to be given to the areas adjacent to the building being inspected.
- Nearby vegetation – Termites exist where food sources are readily available. That’s why pest inspectors typically check any existing trees, stumps, and garden beds around the property. Timber retaining walls, fences, and structures have to be assessed as well as these are food to such destructive pests and could pretty much make the place a hotbed for potential infestation.
- Roof space – Crawling from one end of the roof space to the other is crucial to inspect each timber structure holding the place up. It is for this reason that inspectors may require power shut off as they check the said area. However, the presence of unresolved safety concerns or limited access at the time of the inspection could be grounds for the technician to skip seeing the space entirely.
After the ocular inspection, the termite inspection caps with a detailed report of the technician’s findings. The report has to use formats that are approved by insurance firms and should meet Australian standards. Detailed in the document are the observations of the inspector and the areas that were checked. The termite risk level will be indicated there, too, along with recommendations on how to minimise such a risk.
In addition, the termite species found residing in a property will be identified in the resulting inspection report. This goes a long way into understanding how to effectively control the termite population in the long term. The pest control Melbourne technician may also recommend the treatment options best suited for managing the existing termite infestation.
A Thorough Termite Inspection at Your Disposal
As you’re about to purchase a new property or have a current investment checked for termites, look no further if you want to work with a team that delivers a detailed termite inspection report. Call us and our technicians will do a thorough assessment of your asset and explain their findings along with precise recommendations to achieve long-term termite control.