Roof Crocodiling or Alligatoring

WHAT IS ROOF CROCODILING AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR FLAT ROOF?

flat roof crocodiling of waterproofing
Flat roof waterproofing looking like crocodile skin. This is crocodiling!

Waterproofed concrete and composite flat roofs on residential and commercial buildings require more maintenance than sloped roofs. They react differently to sun and moisture than tiled or sheeted roofs and require more frequent maintenance to ensure they function as they should. One common problem with many flat roofs is crocodiling.

What is Crocodiling?

Crocodiling is a crazed cracking pattern in the surface of the waterproofing. It looks like crocodile skin, which is where the name comes from.

Crocodiling is a sign that your waterproofing is ageing. The sun’s UV rays dry out and damage the waterproofed surface, and after five years or more years, the coating may develop small cracks. The older your roof gets before you repair the crocodiling, the more expensive it will get.

Extreme temperature changes, changing from hot sunshine to sudden cloudbursts and rain, and even hot winter days and very cold nighttime temperatures will cause new cracks to appear and will make existing cracks worse. 

Leaves and debris will allow water to pool on the membrane which, together with the elements, will hasten the deterioration of protective coating and waterproofing itself.

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Boundary Walls

Preventing and Repairing Cracks in Boundary Walls

Damaged boundary walls around your property can spoil the whole look and feel of your property. Furthermore, cracked and leaning walls can also pose a danger to passers-by should the wall fall over.

boundary wall
This was a wall that was butt jointed against the neighbour’s wall. The danger here is that when the wall falls over portions of the wall will be spread over the pavement and possibly into the road. If a pedestrian is close by serious injury could result!

This article explains the correct way to repair boundary walls and install expansion joints!

Firstly, if your walls have ugly cracks and broken plasterwork and brickwork at the expansion joints do not plaster them up as shown in the photos below!

boundary wall
This expansion joint was chopped open and plastered up. The joint will crack at the joint again. This is a waste of time and money and will cause more problems than before!

Furthermore, the work done on these boundary walls will result in more cracking in the walls!

Many boundary walls and retaining walls may fail prematurely due to the lack of provision for movement. However, this is usually not a fault in the materials used, but usually a lack of proper design. Even when the design is correct, the construction of the boundary wall and expansion joints are often faulty.

What is an expansion joint?

It is a separation between two portions of the same structure. A butt joint in a boundary wall is not an expansion joint!

Expansion joints in boundary walls

When building a boundary wall, an expansion joint is a separation designed to relieve stress on building materials caused by movement induced by thermal expansion and contraction. They are therefore specifically provided in boundary walls to avoid cracks occurring in the wall.

Temperature changes and seasonal changes mostly cause the movement in the boundary walls. However, expansion joints also permit movement due to ground settlement, seismic events and expansive soils.

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Consumers and the Property Practitioners Bill

Has the Property Practitioners Bill missed the point?

consumers

Are consumers offered more protection?

Parliament passed the new Property Practitioners Bill on Tuesday 4th December 2018. This bill has been on the cards before 2011!

The Bill was supposed to finally provide buyers (consumers) more protection in the secondary housing market.

However, it appears the Minister of Human Settlements and his staff and the National Assembly totally missed the point!

Here is that portion of the Bill:

CHAPTER 10

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Mandatory disclosure form

  1. A property practitioner –
    1. may not accept a mandate unless the seller or lessor of the property has provided him or her with a fully completed and signed mandatory disclosure in the prescribed form; and
    2. must provide a copy of the completed mandatory disclosure form to a prospective purchaser or lessee who intends to make an offer for the purchase or lease of a property.
  2. The completed mandatory disclosure form signed by all relevant parties must be attached to any agreement for the sale or lease of property and forms an integral part of that agreement, but if such a disclosure form was not completed, signed or attached, the agreement must be interpreted as if no defects or deficiencies of the property were disclosed to the purchaser.
  3. A property practitioner who fails to comply with subsection (1) may be held liable by any affected consumer.
  4. Nothing in this section prevents the Authority from taking action against a property practitioner or imposing an appropriate sanction.
  5. Nothing in this section prevents a consumer, for his or her own account, from undertaking a private property inspection to confirm the state of the property before finalising the transaction.

This is the protection this Bill offers to buyers (consumers) who buy properties from sellers.

So what has changed? Continue reading “Consumers and the Property Practitioners Bill”

Snag Inspection and Report

New Homeowners Should Have a Professional Snag Inspection

snag inspection

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Do you believe that you are protected by buying from a reputable developer or builder? Will you be able to identify all the snags without a professional snag inspection?

What buyers don’t realise is that other building contractors sub-contract to the developer or builder. Both the developer and builders are under pressure to complete the units or homes within a contractual timeframe. Often, the builders take shortcuts resulting in best building practices falling by the wayside.

In addition, most new homebuyers believe the NHBRC, bank and municipal building inspectors provide them with this sort of protection.

This is not the case!

Inspectors duties

Bank inspectors

Your bank inspector determines the market value of property, land, and improvements for the bank. Therefore, he is not concerned with the state of the property unless it affects the value of the property.

Municipal Building Inspectors

The municipal building inspector checks your building to ensure it complies with approved construction drawings, local bylaws and zoning regulations. In addition, he or she is also responsible for ensuring compliance with local and national building regulations.

Engineers

Structural engineers inspect and evaluate the structures of your home only. These are the foundations, slabs, walls and roof.  They are not concerned with the installations and finishes which make up more than half the value of your house.

NHBRC inspectors

NHBRC inspectors inspect all new homes to check that the builder is complying with the NHBRC requirements on site

The NHBRC Warranty Fund covers you against major and defined structural defects for up to five years. Enrolling your new home with the NHBRC is a statutory requirement. Theoretically, this affords you protection against contractors who deliver substandard design, workmanship and poor quality materials.

As a new homeowner, you have the right to instruct your developer or builder to rectify shoddy and defective work. This includes non-compliance or deviation from the terms, plans and specifications of your building agreement with him.

However, the required NHBRC inspections are seldom all done.

Continue reading “Snag Inspection and Report”

About Property Inspection

property inspection and maintenance issues

About Home and Property Inspection In Gauteng

Property inspection and maintenance issues

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Having a property inspection advises you of the condition of the property before you buy it. In addition, an inspection makes you aware of the present maintenance problems and defects that may result in future maintenance problems. In other words, a property inspection helps you avoid problems and extra costs you have not budgeted for.

Different categories of a home inspection are available:

The most popular category of inspection is a Comprehensive Property Inspection or Comprehensive Home Inspection.

The following information explains what you need to know about the different types of property inspection that I can offer you.

A Home Inspection or Comprehensive Property Inspection

It’s one category of home inspection you can have done. Six different variations of comprehensive inspections are available.

  1. Home Buyers Inspection
  2. Snag Inspection
  3. Home Sellers Inspection
  4. Homeowner’s Maintenance Inspection
  5. Rental Inspection
  6. Commercial Property Inspection

Note: A property inspection report is different from a “pest inspection report”. A home inspection report will identify any visual damage caused by termites or wood borer. However, it usually won’t include a full report on the existence of termites or other timber destroying pests.

1) Home Buyers Inspection

Why do you need one?

A home inspection is your protection against the ‘voetstoots’ clause. Consequently, when you have made your purchase subject to a home inspection contingency, with a contingency period, you have this inspection done. Furthermore, a Buyer’s Property Inspection report is a written account, with photos, of the condition of the property. It will tell you about any significant building defects or problems such as rising damp, movement in the walls (cracking), safety hazards or a faulty roof to name a few. Accordingly, you would have this done as part of your condition of the sale so you can identify any problems with the property which, if left unchecked, could prove costly to repair.

Four good reasons why you need a buyer’s home inspection done:

  1. Protection against the voetstoots clause in your Offer to Purchase.
  2. You will know in advance what the problems are.
  3. This allows you to negotiate a lower price for the property i.e. you may have to pay to repair some of the problems.
  4. You can get specialist advice about any major problems and maintenance issues, and how they will affect the property over time.

Of course, the home inspection will be one of many things you will need to consider before buying a property.

2) New Property Inspection (snag inspection)

A snag or new property inspection and report cover the same items as a comprehensive property inspection report but it also includes more detail:

  1. A list of minor problems
  2. Recommendation of the repairs and replacement work needed.

What is a snag?

A snag is a small defect or problem that remains on your property after the building work has been completed. Therefore, it is typically something that is damaged or broken, not fitted properly or looks unfinished. Some examples are a scratch on a window, a missing screw in a hinge on a door or a chipped tile.

Most snags are cosmetic. However, more serious defects can arise from poor workmanship such as cracks, hollow floor tiles, kitchen, cupboard, plumbing and electrical fixtures that are not fitted properly.

When’s the best time to make a snagging list?

When the property is completely finished and ready to move into. At this stage, you have not moved in so that there is no furniture or stored items that may hide or cover defects.

If you leave it until you have moved in, it becomes harder as your housebuilder could argue that you have caused the damage when you moved in. In addition, it is also easier for contractors to work in an empty property for obvious reasons.

However, the builder/developer can refuse to give you access to the property before completion, which they are legally allowed to do because they still own the property.

Leaving your snag list to be rectified after you have taken occupation of your unit or home can be problematic. This may cause the disruption of your time if you have to be present while the builder rectifies the defects. Furthermore, the builder may have moved on to the next phase of housing or to another completely new development.

However, you do have 3 months from your occupation date to report any defects and maintenance problems to your builder/developer which they are legally obliged to fix as part of your NHBRC warranty.

3) Home Seller’s Inspection

A seller’s inspection (sometimes referred to as a pre-listing inspection) is becoming more popular because it virtually eliminates all the pitfalls and hassles associated with having the buyer do the home inspection.

This is an effective marketing tool allowing your estate agent and prospective buyers to access the report on the internet.

You share multiple copies of the report with potential buyers who tour the home for sale. Alternatively, the report can be hosted at  www.FetchReport.com. A sellers inspection is a benefit to all parties in a real estate transaction. It is a win-win-win-win situation.

A sellers inspection doesn’t kill deals by forcing you to disclose defects you otherwise wouldn’t have known about. Any defect that is serious enough to kill a real estate transaction is likely going to be uncovered eventually anyway. It is best to discover the problem ahead of time before it can kill the deal.

The inspection report becomes a great marketing piece if your property is truly in great shape. In addition, I provide you with a banner to place at the entrance to your home which certifies that your home is “Move-In Ready”.

A Seller’s Inspection reveals problems ahead of time, which:

  1. Might make the home show better.
  2. Gives you time to make repairs and shop for competitive contractors.
  3. Permits you to attach repair estimates or paid invoices to the inspection report.
  4. Removes over-inflated buyer-procured estimates from the negotiation table.
  5. The report might alert you to any immediate safety issues found, before agents and visitors tour the home.
  6. The report provides a third-party, unbiased opinion to offer to potential buyers.
  7. Your estate agent can use a clean seller inspection report as a marketing tool.
  8. A sellers inspection is the ultimate gesture in forthrightness on your part.
  9. The report might relieve a prospective buyer’s unfounded suspicions before they walk away.
  10. A sellers inspection lightens negotiations and 11th-hour re-negotiations.
  11. The report might encourage the buyer to waive the inspection contingency.
  12. The deal is less likely to fall apart, the way they often do, when a buyer’s inspection unexpectedly reveals a last-minute problem.

The report also provides full-disclosure protection from future legal claims.

4) Home Owners Maintenance Inspection

A maintenance inspection is an ideal inspection for newer homeowners and busy homeowners who don’t have the experience or the time to maintain their homes themselves. Furthermore, this type of inspection is especially suited for older or physically handicapped homeowners who, nevertheless, want to know what their home’s condition is. It’s the home’s equivalent of a medical checkup.

A Home Maintenance Inspection gives you a full picture of any below-the-radar repairs that need to be completed before they become major repairs.

What is a home maintenance inspection?

A Home Maintenance Inspection is a comprehensive inspection just like home buyers or sellers inspection.

I will uncover problems you have not noticed. Furthermore, I will detect the little signs that something is starting to go wrong. This may be small cracks, spots, uneven wear, or fixtures such as a faulty geyser installation. In addition, I will also make you aware of the regular maintenance you should be doing in your house.

Like an annual physical, my maintenance inspection catches maintenance issues early on. Therefore, a maintenance inspection can give you the peace of mind of a clean bill of health. Moreover, it’s a practical way to keep little problems from turning into big problems.

What happens during a home maintenance inspection?

I will inspect your home with you, showing you what I find and explaining what it means. You will have a chance to ask questions or get clarifications. Moreover, I will point out things you should be doing regularly to keep all of your home’s systems functioning properly.

Furthermore, you’ll get a written report detailing everything I have found. It will be an itemized punch list to address whenever you choose or have the finances available to do maintenance.

What are the advantages of having a home maintenance inspection?

Once every three to five years, you should have me come out and do a maintenance inspection.

  1. I detect minor defects can be repaired before they become major issues.
  2. You receive an unbiased opinion. I have no gain out of the evaluation of things that need repair (e.g., your roof or foundation).
  3. If you do suspect something is in disrepair, it’s wise to call me before you call a repair company. Repair companies have a vested interest in getting work. As a result, you have to careful in accepting what they say requires repair or replacement.

I am not trying to sell you anything.  Furthermore, I’m not getting commissions out of repairs that need to be done. All I sell is the truth!

Rental Inspection

A home inspection is vital to ensure that the interests of both the landlord and tenant are protected.

The property inspection can be used to check the condition of the property to identify new issues. Furthermore, rental inspections will provide useful evidence if problems or disputes arise later on.

Initial, midterm and follow-up inspections when tenants are leaving and new tenants are occupying the premises are very affordable.

Commercial Property Inspection

Whether you are considering buying or renting a commercial property it advisable to have a Commercial Property Inspection. As part of your “due diligence”, I can provide you with a detailed evaluation of the building and its components. Furthermore, I will advise you of the overall condition and make recommendations regarding maintenance and improvements.

Choosing the right inspector to inspect the property

You should always use a suitably certified home inspector. A Certified Professional Inspector and a member of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) is the best choice. An InterNACHI certified inspector will see through any cosmetic improvements covering up faults that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye. I am your local Certified Professional Inspector in Gauteng.

Contents of my property inspection reports

The format and amount of detail in my report will depend on your property type, its size, age and condition. As a result, these factors will also influence the cost of my inspection and report.

My home inspection reports adopt a standard format recommended by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. In addition, all my reports include marked-up photographs.

My home inspection report will include the information to make you aware of the property’s condition and identify any significant problems.

However, a home inspection report is generally a visual inspection only. Therefore, problems that are hidden inside walls and inaccessible areas may not be identified. Also, most deliberately disguised or hidden defects leave clues which can be detected.

General information

I inspect all accessible parts of the property. These include the following areas:

  • all the interior of the building
  • the exterior of the building
  • roof space and roof structure
  • under-floor space (if it exists)
  • roof exterior
  • the site.

The site

My home inspection report includes the following:

  • garage, carport and garden shed
  • separate laundry or toilet
  • small retaining walls (ie. non-structural)
  • steps
  • fencing and boundary walls
  • surface water drainage
  • stormwater run-off
  • paving and driveways.

Make sure you specify any particular items or areas on the site that you want to have inspected.

Other details in the inspection report

The report includes the following information:

  • your name
  • the address of the inspected property
  • the reason for the inspection
  • date of the inspection
  • the scope of the inspection
  • a summary of the overall condition of the property
  • a list of any significant problems that need fixing
  • if necessary, a recommendation that a further inspection or assessment be carried out by a suitably qualified specialist. This can be a suitably qualified electrician, plumber, roofing contractor, structural engineer etc.

The inspection report summary

The summary is possibly the most important part of the report. It lists the major faults found in the property and its condition considering its age and type.

Things not included in a property inspection

A home inspection report usually will not include:

  • parts of the property that were not or could not be inspected
  • matters outside my expertise
  • an estimate of repair costs
  • minor defects (chipped paint, corners or tiles unless they are structural issues)
  • termite detection.

A home inspection report is not an all-encompassing report dealing with every aspect of the property. Therefore, it’s a report to identify any major and minor problems that are visible at the time of the inspection. In addition, the extent of any problem will depend to a large extent upon the age and type of property.

While the report will give you valuable expert advice, it will not cover everything. To clarify, this is explained by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors’ Standards of Practice.

I normally would not check things such as:

  • foundation footings (below the ground, cannot be inspected visually)
  • hidden damp-proofing
  • concealed electrical wiring. However, I do inspect lights, switches, plug points and distribution boards
  • concealed plumbing, drainage and gas installations
  • watering systems
  • alarm and intercom systems
  • appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers, ducted vacuum systems or hot plates (stoves, hobs and extractors are inspected)
  • television reception

Sectional title properties

With sectional title properties, I inspect and assess the condition of the interior and immediate exterior of the unit. I also include the exclusive use areas in my report. If you want me to inspect other common property areas you will need to request a ‘special-purpose’ or ‘single component’ property inspection report.

Minor defects

Most older properties will have minor defects such as blemishes and physical damage to materials and finishes. Therefore, with older houses, I would not normally report on minor defects, minor wear and tear, and minor imperfections. I will only report minor defects if the property is a new home or building.

Factors affecting the inspection report

There are certain conditions you should be aware of that will affect the final report.

These include:

  • problems that are difficult to detect due to weather or other conditions. These conditions can be rising damp or leaks if there has not been any rain
  • the information you provide to the home inspector
  • defects that are deliberately covered up to make an area appear problem-free.

It may be difficult to detect leaks and other problems if services have not been used for some time. For example, if the shower has not been used recently or if it has not rained recently, leaks or dampness may not be obvious. However, even under these conditions, there are normally many clues of such defects that I will detect and report.

Using the inspection report for other purposes

Your property inspection is carried out specifically for your information. It gives you an expert’s view of the condition of the property you are interested in buying.

It is not a certificate of compliance with any law, warranty or insurance policy against future problems. Nor is it intended to estimate the cost of fixing problems. However, with my report, you will be able to get a rough estimate of the repair cost.

Ordering an inspection

Depending on my workload I will need a minimum of 1½ days notice to do a property inspection.

When ordering your home inspection, make sure you give yourself enough time to make a purchase decision. Also, you should get the seller’s permission to have the property inspected as early in the sale negotiations as possible. This will help you decide if the property is worth buying. There may be little point in spending money on conveyancing until you know the condition of the property.

Other types of inspection reports

Different types of property inspections and property inspection reports  are  available depending on your requirements:

Walkthrough Inspections

Walkthrough inspections are for you if you don’t, at this point, want a full home or commercial property inspection.  This type of inspection can be performed with you, or for you, if you live elsewhere, and you need nothing more than subjective observations. 

Therefore, a walk-through is less formal and does not require me to adhere to a Standards of Practice or to generate a written report.  I will perform a visual walk-through of the home and provide you with oral or written comments summarizing my observations.

This type of inspection costs far less than a Comprehensive or Critical Home Inspection and about half (50%) the cost of a comprehensive inspection and report. Again, the cost depends on where the property is in my inspection area.

Single Component or Itemised Limited Inspection

I often receive calls from clients who are looking for a home inspection for a single component in the home. For instance, this can be a roof leak, a bulging ceiling, or damp problems and so on.

My itemised limited inspection and report is also the cheapest inspection. This inspection costs R1500.00 depending on where you are in my inspection area. Moreover, if you want adittional components inspected at the same time, this will only cost an additional R750.00 per component.

However, if I need to travel further than 5 kilometres to the inspection an additional charge may be applicable.

Critical Property Inspection

This is the home inspection for the budget-conscious!  Comparatively, Critical Home Inspections costs about ¾ of the price of a Comprehensive Property Inspection.

A critical home inspection covers the major components which are the roof, structure, windows and doors, electrical and plumbing.

Damp and Mould Inspection

You should have a mould inspection when you suspect you might have a mould problem in your property. Furthermore, have your property inspected when you experience breathing difficulties (shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, or respiratory irritation). In addition, you may also experience neurological difficulties (headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, sleep loss, nausea).

If your house has obvious mould contamination such as parts of the wall or ceiling, an inspection is essential. My mould inspection will identify and confirm the true extent of the problem. Furthermore, I will provide recommendations on how to rectify it.

Building Progress Inspection

When you are building your own home or alterations and extensions are being constructed you need progress inspections.

No matter how big or small I can help you.

Give yourself that extra peace of mind by contacting me to supervise your project.

I inspect each step during the construction process step to ensure that there is no sub-standard building. Furthermore, I will check whether the correct ratios of the different mixes are used. I will ensure that levels and depths of foundations are correct, walls are built straight, plumb and square according to the construction drawings.

My services are not limited to building construction. I can assist in ensuring the correct standard of electrical SABS installations and plumbing regulations are followed

I can inspect the building site on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis or on a call-out basis, where I check only on key points of your building project so that you have peace of mind that your investment is getting built to the standards required by the South African Building Regulations.

Furthermore, pricing is negotiable depending on the number of inspections you require.

Pest inspection report

My Pest Home Inspection report identifies any visual damage caused by termite activity. However, it won’t include the detection of whether termites and other timber destroying pests still exist.

You should have a pest inspection done as well as the property inspection.  A pest inspection is necessary where termites are a problem.

Fixing problems after having a home inspection

If you end up buying the property you may need to organise repairs or renovations before you move in. If this is the case, there are some important things you should know.

When using a builder or tradesperson for work where the value is over R1,000 the builder or tradesperson must:

  • be correctly licensed for the work they are doing.
  • provide you with a written contract where the value of work (labour and materials) is over R1,000.00.
  • issue or provide you with certificates of compliance or conformity for electrical, electric fencing, plumbing and gas installations. This applies to any repair or change made to the installation. Furthermore, you must obtain an occupation certificate from the builder for extensions and renovations.

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