Downlight Hazard

I’m sure you’ve heard about the various incidents of house fires being caused by unprotected downlights. This is a common issue I come across during my building inspections, regardless of the age of the house, with the ever increasing popularity of halogen globes.

Even though the transformers are low voltage, the globes themselves can heat to very high temperatures. Often the insulation in the roof space moves around over time and comes in contact with either the globe or the transformer (or both) which can easily cause a fire, especially if the house is a few years old and has the blow in paper insulation which was popular a few years ago.Even though this insulation was deemed to be treated with a fire retardant, the retardant has a limited lifespan.Even the timber beams, dust, or rodent nests are known to have caused fires.

The photo below shows the transformer in contact with the light fitting. As you can see from the photo to the right the transformer has significantly melted away.

So how do you protect yourself?The first thing is to ensure all electrical work is carried out by a qualified experienced electrician.As a registered builder with many years’ experience doing pre-purchase building inspections and general building inspections to check the structural building elements of a home, I would always recommend the installation of heat shields to prevent the risk of fire.Depending on the age of the house and the type of insulation installed, it may also be worthwhile considering changing the insulation or light fitting to an LED type.

This would be noted as a Safety Defect by an experienced Home Integrity Registered Building Inspector when doing a Pre-Purchase Building Inspection – Structural, Structural Plus or Structural Premium

The above describes a scenario which has been observed during a particular building inspection by a Home Integrity Registered Building Inspector, however every situation is unique and your circumstances may differ.We would always recommend engagement of an experienced, qualified electrician to provide advice to resolve the issue.

A Home Integrity Registered Building Inspector can also inspect and report on spas and swimming pools including safety barriers, arrange retrospective approvals on all structures by local Council and Shires, inspect and report for insurers to take out Home Owner Warranty Builders Warranty Insurance, Handover and Defects Building Inspection Reports, and Building Consulting.

What is Delignification and how it might affect you

After the growing trend of new builds in the outer suburbs over the last few years, a lot of clients are now looking to stay closer to the city, which can mean the purchase of an older home.As a Home Integrity experienced registered builder doing pre purchase building inspections every day; I see age deterioration causing all sorts of issues, affecting areas that the untrained eye would not normally notice.

Terracotta tiles are one of the big items that will deteriorate with age – the weather, temperature extremes and movement, will all cause a tile to deteriorate, crack and chip, and overall movement away from the roof battens.

This means the roof timbers are exposed to the elements, and could be continually getting wet and drying out, getting wet and drying out, not just by exposure but also condensation, causing delignification of the timber.

Delignification is the result of breakdown of the fibres which creates a furry finish to the outside of the affected timber. Where delignification is only minor there won’t be any structural issues, however in extreme cases, over a prolonged period, this can result in significant structural loss of strength and could eventually cause a roof to collapse.This is one of the key inspections performed by an experienced Home Integrity Registered Building Inspector when a Structural Plus Pre Purchase Building Inspection or a Structural Premium Pre Purchase Building Inspection is requested.

The above describes a scenario which has been observed during a particular Pre Purchase Building Inspection performed by one of our registered experienced Home Integrity Building Inspectors, however every situation is unique and your circumstances may differ. As you can see the tile in the top photo has significantly deteriorated compared to the tiles in the photo at the bottom. Water ingress into the roof space is possible as too is the further deterioration of the tile battens and structural roof frame members. Home Integrity would always recommend consultation with an experienced, qualified roofing tiler to provide advice to resolve the issue.

Home Integrity can also inspect and report on spas and swimming pools including safety barriers, arrange retrospective approvals by local Council and Shires on all structures, inspect and report for insurers to take out Home Owner Warranty Builders Warranty Insurance, Handover and Defects Building Inspection Reports, and provide Building Consulting on individual issues around the home.