Never underestimate those miniscule termites lounging somewhere in your property. They may be as small as a grain of rice but they can cause tremendous damage if you allow them to settle in. When you don’t want to deal with costly structural damage, calling a termite inspection will be crucial.
Before you ask the inspectors to come over, you may want to have an idea of how the inspection will be done. Read on to know what to expect from this kind of timber pest inspection.
One important thing to keep in mind is that the Australian standards require pest inspectors to possess an ample amount of technical knowledge and experience. They should be knowledgeable about local building practices as well as termite habits e.g. where they’re found and how they make their presence known.
With this in mind, ask the technician about their licence and inspections performed. While the minimum licensing requirements for timber pest management will vary from state to state, it’s best to ask them about such pre-requisites as this helps gauge the inspector’s competency with the job.
During an inspection, the technician will often examine every accessible area on the property, including the following: underneath the home, the roof void (space between the roof and ceiling), external timbers, internal timbers, as well as suspected trees and stumps.
Everything from the flooring, fences, door/window frames, skirting boards, as well as retaining walls will be checked. The inspection will also cover the basements, lofts/attics, sub-areas, cellars, etc. In most cases, the inspector will require an empty area around the entrance door to access a raised foundation crawl space, aso request for access to roof space entry points.
For a thorough inspection, the technician will definitely not leave any stones unturned.
To go about this part of the inspection, the technician brings along a ladder, torch, Termitrac motion detector and a tapping tool called a donger. But keep in mind that the latter and a moisture meter are the two required by the Australian standard 4349.3.
There are more sophisticated tools and equipment besides these but they’re two of the ones you’ll easily recognise. He or she will then use the sounding stick to gently tap on wood features, looking for signs of a termite invasion. If a tap on a piece of wood produces a hollow sound, then the area will be checked for damage from termites, rot or wood borer.
With the proper equipment in tow, the inspector can now thoroughly check every room as well as wooden features inside a building. He or she will look at closets, water heater enclosures, cabinets, etc. Every time the donger punches a hole in wood, the inspector will take note and interpret each instance as an indicator of possible extensive termite damage, rot or borer.
Speaking of sophisticated tools and equipment, some companies invest in more than the required instruments. Most of these additional electronic devices are options so you’ll find some companies that don’t bother bringing them along.
A popular one you’ll see an inspector bring is a thermal imaging camera. A Termatrac, a sounding device, is another. No matter how sophisticated the tools are, the most important one in respect to the inspection is the technician themselves. Their sound understanding of many different types of termites in the country allows them to maximise the use of every device in their arsenal.
Besides looking at a property’s interior, the termite inspector will also walk around to check the exterior areas. This part of the inspection will have them looking at walls/dividers, foundation, and any accessible plumbing. During this phase, the technician will open the electrical meter box lids to check for stickers supplied by previous inspections.
Although inspectors may move certain items around to get better access to some areas, it may be best if the property owners will take the time to tidy up the place beforehand. That way, visual access wouldn’t stand in the way of a comprehensive inspection. In some cases, a lack of visual access in certain areas can result in a less-than-thorough report.
Most termite inspections take anywhere between an hour or two. For larger properties, the job naturally takes longer to finish. Once the technician is done checking for signs of infestation, he or she will explain the situation in detail in a written report.
The said report should be able to disclose the types of termites found, where they’ve been seen at the property, as well as the severity of the termite infestation. He or she will then recommend treatment options and how to go about the next steps. In case of extensive structural damage, the inspector can also inform the homeowner of what parts may need immediate attention from other professionals.
After the initial termite treatment is performed, it’s recommended that a full termite inspection be done every 12 months. The goal here is to ensure that the treated zones haven’t been disturbed by undetected water leaks, growing tree roots, new garden beds, or tradesmen who have worked on the home, etc.
In case you’re not aware, these things can disturb the preventative measures put in place in your property and allow the termites to re-enter and invade the property once more.
By gaining a better understanding of how a termite inspection is done, we’re hoping customers like you can consequently protect yourself from any sub-standard inspection service.
Keep in mind that the inspector has to follow the Australian standard to be sure that you get a fighting chance against any termite invasion, too. But putting in place a termite management system or chemical barrier treatment may be the better recourse as it’ll give you peace of mind and save you a substantial amount down the track.