We met our private building inspector today. He was fantastic and thorough. Obviously has done loads of these inspections before because he knew exactly what to look for. Every item I wanted to question, he had already noted in his report. He also had time to talk me through what he found and to answer my questions. I'll ask if he minds me referencing his company in this blog, because I'd highly recommend retaining him to do your frame inspections if you're planning on building (no matter who the builder).
Some of the items he noted during his inspection:
1. Exposed steel (reinforcement) in the side of the slab. Very obvious in both the base of the slab but also in the upper section of the slab. Concrete should surround the steel completely. In fact, there should be 40mm of concrete buffering the ends of any steel in the slab. This is how the concrete slab gets its strength. To have steel exposed, is like not having any steel there at all, because the concrete loses its torsional strength. As it stands, this is the biggest concern.
2. Some small discrepancies between the engineering report and what had actually been built. The inspector could identify where timber/steel/supports/bracing/etc were meant to be; he could even identify what type of timber should be used in certain areas of the frame from the engineering report (where I couldn't make sense of this report at all - it was was too technical for me).
3. An issue with one of the larger steel beams that supports part of the first floor of the house. Namely in the way it had been secured to the ground floor frame.
4. An issue with the engineering report and what could actually be achieved regarding the colourbond roof and how it attached to the house frame and roof trusses. Obviously, it's very important the roof is secured adequately to the house (he'd seen instances where strong wind has lifted an entire colourbond roof off a house) - he had questions regarding this.
5. The concern I noted in an earlier post regarding the steel upright beam supporting the steel beam spanning the garage entry. Since posting the photo (see post 8/9/12), it is apparent some work has been done to attempt to rectify the problem (see photo below). However, I got the feeling our inspector still had an issue with this item. We do too. Although they have obviously fixed up the overhang, the concrete still appears to be crumbling and not that strong. What are your thoughts?
In summary, we are very glad we used a private building inspector at frame stage. He identified items we would simply have missed or not known to question. My understanding is that his report will strongly recommend CG get their inspector, surveyor and/or engineer back out to give their opinion on the items identified in the report. We'll see what happens and how CG respond.