turn a granny flat into a man cave

Making Of A Man Cave

The man cave is an Australian man’s dream to be able to have a building dedicated to watching sport, playing video games and catching up with mates while enjoying a beer or two.  Not everyone has the room or the space in which they can create such a space.  Fortunately, our new clients in Burnside have the perfect opportunity to create the ultimate man cave.

 

the making of a man cave

Renovation Of Granny Flat Into A Man Cave

A property recently purchased has a family room/granny flat on site which has long been neglected and in need of renovation or in this case a transformation.  This building is about to undergo the ultimate makeover and become a man cave many men will envy for years to come.  In order to get the perfect space, there will need to be a few important items addressed.

The Man Cave Features

As the name suggests “man cave” it must accommodate all things which you would expect to find in such a place and, in this case, a few little added extras:

  • Bathroom:  Because men cannot always remember to put the seat down will be adding a wall hung urinal.  The flushing of the urinal will be controlled via a sensor mounted in the ceiling ensuring the urinal is always flushed after being used.  Along with this work there will be new wall mounted toilet suite, new vanity unit and chrome basin mixer tap.
  • The Bar:  Where all the fun happens.  This will become the focal point of this room.  A new purpose-built wooden bar with sinks, beer taps and post mix system.  Behind the bar will shelving for some higher end drinking products and selection of South Australian wines.  Below the shelving will be fridges to keep a few more boutique style beverages on chill.
  • Electrical:  Without the power there will be nothing happening inside this renovation.  Given the increase in fixtures and now the addition of a powerful reverse cycle air conditioner there is going to be significant power upgrades which will include a new sub board and dedicated circuits to feed the reverse cycle air conditioner, fridges and lighting.
  • Smoke Detectors:  Like every other renovation we perform in Adelaide once you start a home improvement it becomes our responsibility to now bring the building up to the current Australian Standards and the current edition of the NCC.  This room will now require a hard-wired smoke alarm with lithium battery for back up in the event of a power outage.
  • Thermal Protection:  Due to the age of the building any insulation that may have once been installed has certainly decreased in its R value.  The insulation where accessible will be replaced.  Along with this will also be the windows.  The current windows will be replaced with new double-glazed glass with argon gas in between both sheets.  Through creating a better insulated building will decrease energy consumption because the overall buildings internal temperature will not fluctuate as much.
  • Gutters and Down Pipes:  As the owners are investing so much money into the internals and its fixtures we have recommended a upgrade of the gutters and downpipes to ensure that the in the case of a huge storm all the items that are inside remain dry at all times.  This will involve new half round guttering and new 90mm down pipes connecting to the under ground 100mm PVC lines which run out to the street connection on Kings Avenue.

renovating a man cave

 

We will probably miss the AFL grand final as its fast approaching but certainly it will be ready for a summer of cricket this will be a true entertainer and one our client’s friends will be envious for certain.  Watch this space for more exciting news from the Mayfair Building Group.

rental property repairs adelaide

Rental Property Nightmares

Self-managed rental properties across Adelaide can be some of the worst looked after by the tenants. Unfortunately, if a homeowner lives interstate or far away from the property it can be hard to always check on the property and if the rent gets paid each week majority of landlords are led to believe everything is ok! Unfortunately, this is not always the case as we have found out over the years performing maintenance and building repairs to various residential and commercially tenanted buildings.

Insurance For Rental Property Problems

Its not until the landlord gets a phone call from the South Australian Police that all is discovered and it’s where the nightmare starts to unravel itself! As a preferred insurance builder across Adelaide and in the Adelaide Hills, we come across many scenarios like I have just described above and each one leaves the owners in a sad situation. The results can be truly disastrous and very depressing, finding a place to start over is a challenge, but if you contact the right insurance builder such as Mayfair Building Group the process will feel seamless and move in a fast pace enabling the quickest result possible, a reputation we have built upon over the years. If it’s illegal it’s going to be a headache.

Significant Repairs

The majority of the time we get involved with an insurance job which requires significant repairs is because something illegal has been going on inside the building and depending on the length of time it can be a real eye opener. Typically, it will be related to some form of drug business, whether it be growing of marijuana or creating drugs using chemicals such as ice. The entire home or building is recreated and made into a manufacturing plant for illegal purposes. Unfortunately, the alterations performed are then left to the homeowner to take care of once the operation is ceased by the police (as seen in images on this page from a recent marijuana raid where all the rooms where converted into grow rooms).

 

drug lab setup in rental house

Repairs & Maintenance Tasks That May Be Required

What are the likely tasks needed to be performed to make good? When it comes to making a building good again there are numerous tasks which need to be performed, but in general they will be as follows:

  • Complete testing of electrical wiring and switch boards as these always get altered to allow for significant power distribution inside the home. The switchboard and its circuit breakers all need to be inspected by a licensed electrician and any necessary repairs performed to make it all safe again. This can also involve the isolation of the power to the property temporarily by SA Power Networks. There can in some cases also be security cameras installed and these will also need to removed along with the wiring associated to these appliances and any kind of monitoring devices and screens.

 

fuse box repair

 

  • CCTV Camera Investigations of all drains to identify whether there has been any damage caused from the chemicals going into the drains. This can then lead to hydro jet cleaning and further repair work to the sewer pipes whether they are pvc or earthenware. Occasionally we find objects such as syringes and small tools stuck around the S trap of sinks which needs careful removal.
  • Certification of Backflow Prevention Devices on the property to ensure the potable water being delivered to premises is still ok and in tacked. Because of the high level of chemicals being used during these processes its important to check that all backflow prevention valves are still ok and meeting the manufacturers specifications. If there is a failing device a registered plumber who can certify backflow valves will need to used and perform the relevant repairs and tests.
  • Gyprock patching and repairs is almost a given due to the holes put in walls to hang items and then the removal of items stuck to the walls the gyprock will need repairing. In some cases, due to high levels of moisture content in the rooms the wall and ceiling linings may need complete removal and reinstated again in order to get a good result, this would also include any new insulation materials (external walls and ceilings typically).

 

rental property repairs adelaide

 

  • 100% the building will need a full repaint internally. Once all repairs are done to walls, door frames, windows and ceilings we would typically come in and spray paint the entire internals. Every situation is different but if all the rooms are the same colour before any floor coverings go down, we would have everything sprayed. The advantage of this is that it is fast and allows a project to move quickly.
  • Floor coverings are another given these will either be completely ripped up to allow flood modifications or have been ruined due to chemicals etc having been dropped onto them. If the floor has been modified for ventilation purposes, then there will need to be some carpentry works. Depending on the alterations some structural components may need to be repaired or it may just be non-structural repairs. Once these areas have been addressed then the new carpet or floating floors can be reinstalled.

Each building insurance job we perform in Adelaide is always unique in one way or another and certainly it’s not always covered by the owner’s insurance. Some of the tasks needed to be done may not be covered by the policy or in the worst case the owner may not have insurance leaving all the costs for them to have to pay out of their own bank accounts.

At Mayfair Building Group we pride ourselves on speedy turn arounds with high end finishes. When a scenario such as these arise at a property, the owners want the repairs done fast as they are losing money each week there is no tenants in the building. What sets us apart from our competitors is our prompt approach to assessing the insurance building repairs, submitting our findings and recommendations and then once approved getting the job started. Find out for yourself today why we are a preferred insurance builder in Adelaide.

renovation of a beach side home in Glenelg

A Coastal Renovation That’s All About The View

When you hear real estate agents talking about a properties worth, they will often reference the location if it has any bearing on the value, well this up coming project is all about the location.  Situated in the heart of Glenelg this two-storey home is everything about the view and more.

We have recently been given the go ahead from the owners to now start work on their rejuvenation of there two storey property which couldn’t be any closer to the beach if you wanted it to be.  The owners are keen to see the works started and completed for summer which is approximately 4 months away so they can enjoy their home over the warmer months and show it off to the relatives who will be visiting from Canada for Christmas.

Renovation Close To The Beach

As I briefly touched on in the previous paragraph the property is very close to the beach and history tells us that anything close to coastal environments will come under strain from salt, moisture, sand and wind.  There are specific building methods which should be applied according the NCC which assist in protecting these buildings but after time everything needs some renovating.

The agenda for this project is to make everything open and shut properly again along with a complete freshen up of internal rooms and external finishes.

Swollen And Rotted Timbers

Timber balustrades, window frames and door frames are ok to be installed by the beach but there are better products that can be used which will last longer and perform better.  Probably the biggest task on this project will be the removal of the timber balustrades for the balcony and replacement with 316 stainless steel.  The windows are being removed and replaced with double glazed glass accompanied by aluminium frames.  The old wooden doors and frames will also be removed and replaced with aluminium frames and doors.  The doors will have decorative glass inserts frosted for privacy but still allow some natural light into the entrance hallway.

Tiling

Due to the disruption to the balcony with the new balustrades the old tiled floor will be lifted and replaced.  There will be new screed installed along with non-slip tiles.  There will be a new non slip heel guard strip drain installed from ACO.  This manufacturer typically supplies to the commercial sector due to there high quality and it will ideally suit this situation given the high level of corrosion in this zone.

Down Pipes

Surprisingly the gutters are in good condition which would probably be due to the fact they get washed when ever it rains.  The down pipes at the lower level close to the ground have taken a beating.  These will be removed and replaced with new 90mm pvc pipes which eventually get painted.  The brackets will also be replaced with hot dip galvanised brackets to provide etc corrosion resistance.

Rendering And Painting

With the removal of the window frames and door frames there will be some rectification works required to have the new frames match the existing building.  Once the frames are installed, we will render around them and have locked into place and made weather tight.  Painting the entire external of the building is part of the scope of work and will get done once all maintenance is performed to the external of the home.  The internal of the home will also be given a fresh coat of paint from Dulux.

Plumbing

In order to give the bathrooms, laundry and kitchen a feeling of being freshened up there will range of tasks performed.  All tapware will be swapped out with new chrome tapware from Caroma.  There will be new toilet suites supplied and installed by Villeroy and Boch (total of 4).  The kitchen will get a new dishwasher from Smeg along with a 900mm Smeg gas cook top and Electric fan assisted oven.

 

new toilet installation

smeg gas cooker bench top installation

Floor Coverings

Carpet and the beach are not the ideal match.  The sand and the water tend to get engrained into the carpet and make it hard to get clean and it looks dirty fast.  The rooms which are currently carpeted will be replaced with floating floorboards.  There will be one exception to this and that will be the stairs.  The stairs will remain carpeted except it will be new carpet.

 

floor renovation in Glenelg Beach

Owning a property this close to the beach at Glenelg you will never loose money when renovating.  The gain in property value for these clients will be huge.  The appeal from the beach and inside will resemble a fully renovated home and if they were ever to sell the house it will put them in a fantastic place to get the best price at the time.

At Mayfair Building Group we take pride in offering our clients high end finishes with schedules and budgets that are always met.  We offer the Monopoly on excellence.

heritage power points

The St Peters Transformation

A fantastic start to the new financial year with the recent signing of contracts for a small facelift to an original sandstone home in the heart of St Peters.  A location tightly held by homeowners with its location perfectly placed being so close to the City and the shopping precinct of Norwood.  St Peters is home to some of Adelaide’s oldest houses and some of the states highest regarded private schools.

Like many of our projects no one is ever the same and each of our clients have a unique list of priorities for what they want performed around their homes.  In this up and coming project majority of the work will be cosmetic, but it will make this home unrecognisable internally when completed.

Maximum Impact With Minimum Spend

Unfortunately, this St Peters property hasn’t undergone much if any home improvements during its 80 plus years of life so now is the time to finally gives this beautiful property some TLC.  The goal for our clients was to achieve the most impact from there budget.  Below is a list of what we will be doing in order to get the best ROI.

Floor Coverings

Like nearly every old home around Adelaide they were built with floorboards rather than concrete slabs and then the owners opted to have carpet laid over the top.  This property is no exception and the owners want the carpet’s removed and the original jarrah hard wood boards sanded and polished, the transformation will be mind blowing.  There will be a total of six rooms getting polished including a huge grand central hallway approximately 2 metres in width.

floor coverings

Door And Window Hardware

Old houses are notorious for moving with age and items such as doors and windows which rely upon straight and level angles begin to squeak and not operate correctly as the building becomes misaligned over many years.  The windows have sash cord and weights in the external wall cavities which will be replaced with new sash cord and adjustments to weights to ensure correct balances.  The window hardware and door hardware will all be replaced with new antique style fittings to maintain the look of the building and character of the home.

sash cord replacements

Lead Lighting

Entrance doors to the property which there is 3 of these all have amazing lead lighting inserted into them.  Some of the glass pieces have cracked and others fallen out.  The glass panes will each be carefully removed and taken off site to be repaired. During this process temporary boards will be installed to maintain security at the home.  Once completed the new lead lighting panes will be installed and secured tightly to give many more years of vibrant entrances to the home.

lead light door fixtures

Electrical Light Switched And Power Points

Fortunately, at some stage approximately 20 years ago the property had undergone a full rewire of all electrical cables including a switch board upgrade.  The owners would now like the old Clipsal 200 series switches and power points replaced with antique heritage style looking hardware to compliment the home.  This upgrade will cover all power outlets, light switches and dimmers.

heritage power points

Internal Painting

I can’t recall a renovation we have undertaken where some form of painting wasn’t performed, and this will be no exception.  All internal surfaces will undergo a full repaint.  The doors, windows, architraves, cornices, window frames and ceilings are all getting a brand-new lease on life with neutral colourings which will bring ever room back from the dull yellow and apricot colours currently displayed.

A project such as this can be performed while the owner has occupancy but is more fluent when we have full site access.  With careful planning we have scheduled this project to take place while our client goes overseas for 6 weeks to escape the cold Adelaide winter and experience some European summer weather.  Although this project will not take 6 weeks it will mean the customer will come home to a transformed home.  We will begin by having a shipping container delivered to site to enable all furniture to be removed and stored at site and then reinstalled after a final clean at the end of the project.

 

kitchen counter top installation

Rose Park Reno Project – Bathroom & Kitchen Renovations

Building renovations are a fantastic way to add value to your existing home.  In locations such as Dulwich, Toorak Gardens and Rose Park the properties are significantly old and performing a non-structural home renovation can be a great way to improve a home’s value while still maintaining the beauty of these 100-year-old properties.

We have recently started a home renovation project which is in Rose Park located in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs.  Our customer has engaged our building services to perform the following tasks around the property just off Alexandra Avenue.

Rose Park, AdelaideBathroom Renovation

The existing bathroom has not had much attention now for around 30 years when it was renovated in the early 80’s.  With the huge change in market trends for bathrooms today this room will take on a whole new lease of life.  There will be a dual shower with frameless glass.  The glass will be frosted halfway up to still maintain a certain level of privacy and the floor will drain into a stainless-steel strip drain system.  There will be a double vanity unit installed off the ground and wall mounted, a wall hung toilet which will have a in wall Grohe cistern will complement the wall hung vanity in the room.  The walls will be completely tiled, and the floor will incorporate hydronic under floor heating which will be accompanied by a dedicated natural gas continuous flow water heater mounted externally.  All the tapware in the room will be Hansa mixer taps installed with water saving devices.

rapig hung wall installation

Re-Plastering Internal Walls

Like many of the older homes we renovate they have cracking internally which eventually makes the plaster fall off.  As part of this project we will be removing large sections of the walls plastering and have it reinstated.  Once the plaster has been installed and allowed to dry out our painters will re paint the entire rooms including new ceiling paint.

New Front Fence

If you are familiar with Rose Park you will see that many of the homes have low fences which provide security but still show these majestic houses.  At this home it only ever had a small steel mesh fence installed which has never done the home justice.  We will now have this old fence removed and new wooden post and rail style fence installed with intercom for communication inside whenever guests arrive.

Repairs to Gutters And Fascia Boards

Wood rot along fascia boards is common in older properties.  Many of the fascia boards are original and are about due for replacement in older homes.  At this property there are two long boards which run down the sides of the home and need some urgent repairs.  The half round gutters which are attached are only just hanging on.  Once the old gutters are removed the fascia can then be removed.  New pre painted fascia’s will be installed along with new colour bond half round guttering and round 90mm colour bond down pipes connecting to the existing storm water system onsite.

gutter replacement and repair Adelaide

Kitchen Renovation

Certain to be one of the main focal points of this exciting renovation.  The kitchen will feature huge marble bench tops, Hansa mixer tap, Miele appliances (gas cook top and electric ovens), integrated Miele dishwasher, Blum soft close draws, Franke double bowl sinks and bespoke glass back splash.  The kitchen will be a standout for this home improvement and certainly will add huge ROI when completed.

Be certain to check back with in the coming months to see the amazing progress and not to mention the result when fully completed.

kitchen counter top installation

toilet installation Adelaide

How To Select A Toilet When Renovating In Adelaide

Looking back at the bathroom industry around 20 years ago toilets where pretty basic.  You had a cistern which was mounted to the wall around waist height and a bowl which was concreted to the floor.  All the pipes where on show such as the water inlet piping and the flush pipe along with the s bend coming out of the toilet where there for everyone to see but they were all the same, so it was just the norm.  Turn the clock forward 20 years and things have changed in a huge way, there are no blue and pink toilets, and nothing is on show!

different toilet types

Adapting To Change

As a preferred choice for bathroom renovations Adelaide we are always keeping up with the trends and educating our clients on what the requirements will be in order to achieve that bespoke look at the end of there renovation.  What are some of the important factors to consider when renovating a bathroom and choosing a new toilet?

Water Inlet To The Cistern

If you have an exposed cistern which is mounted to the top of the toilet suite (majority of renovations) then there will be two options.  The water inlet can be exposed and enter to the side of the toilet at approximately 350mm off centre (left or right) and 200mm off finished floor level.  The second option would be to have the water point concealed which would then mean it would enter via the back of the cistern at approximately 150mm off centre to the left and at approximately 750mm off finished floor level.

If, however you have a in wall toilet cistern then the water control valve can be mounted in a ceiling space or external to the building as access to these is limited due to the fact, there is only a small flushing plate left exposed once finished.  There is one final option which is not very common, and it is that of a solenoid flushing valve.  This style of set up will have a dedicated access plate for future servicing and isolation of the water (either in a ceiling manhole or service duct) typically in a commercial set up such as pubs and office blocks to avoid vandalism.

how to choose the best toilet

Position Of Sewer Pipe

With the growing need for more space in smaller bathrooms manufacturers have started making their toilets suites more compact.  With these changes it has meant that the sewer pipe is required to be far more accurate in its location of installation.

As a guide the 100mm sewer drain if entering via the wall should be 180mm off finished floor level to the centre of the pipe and if the pipe is coming through the floor then approximately 150mm to 200mm to centre off the back wall which the toilet suite will eventually be resting against.  Given that most of the toilets on the market today are bolted together when installed to form one piece there is very little tolerance when it comes to getting the sewer pipe set up.

Careful Consideration

Once these two vital pieces of information can be achieved it will then allow you to have a wide range of choice when selecting your new toilet.  Toilets can range from $300 all the way well into the thousands of dollars.  It is very important that the two above factors are carefully considered because with out a well planned out set out you will not get the result you had hoped for.  If you are thinking of renovating or perhaps need a few tips on what the best toilet for your home or business feel free to have a chat with our friendly team at Mayfair Building Group – Adelaide’s preferred choice for bathroom renovating.

 

 

 

Builder Gone Bust – Adelaide Hills Case Study

It seems to be happening far to often the head contractor or project manager on a project collapses and leaves one big mess left for others to clean up.  Again, we have been engaged as a preferred insurance builder to take over from where one builder has packed up and left the site of this house renovation with a pile of defects 33 pages long to be exact.  The property is in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia and the builder has gone into administration leaving the property owner with the problem to deal with.

What are the issues we have been left to deal with?

Majority of the problems on this project are relating to water entering the building through poor external finishes which have then led to internal issues (a snowball affect).

The Roof

Most likely the biggest cause and biggest expense to have fixed.  The style of roof used at this property is Skillion.  There have been 2 box gutters constructed and both are of poor finishes.  The box gutters have inadequate falls and the metal roof sheets which lead into them have been cut short (40mm short a large amount, considering they should have a 50mm overlap into the box gutter so overall 90mm short).  The result of this is that water is not flowing away fast enough and secondly it is not entering the box gutter all the time and making its way into the gyprock ceiling causing internal damage to ceiling but now also the bamboo floating floors.

Down Pipes And Rain Head

The down pipes have not been constructed to the correct sizes and the same with the rain heads.  All these issues add to the lack of ability to have the water removed from the roof quick enough once again allowing the box gutter to fill up and overflow into the ceiling inside the house.

Flashings

The property has had new windows installed and around majority of these windows the final flashings have not been installed.  Along with the window’s other penetrations etc have not been sealed correctly or not at all.  Once again, all these items are allowing any water which might meet these fixtures to penetrate and further cause water damage inside to items such as carpets and gyprock wall linings.

fixing another builds probelms

Internal Linings And Coverings

As previously mentioned above items such as the gyprock, carpet and bamboo flooring have all been damaged and will all now need either repairing or removal and reinstallation.

Solving the problems

After thorough investigations and identification of the problems it is certainly a positive step forward; now finding the best way to fix the issues while causing minimal disruptions especially heading into winter.  The most important job which is also the largest is having the roofing sheets removed along with the box gutter in order to have all this reinstated properly and making most of the building watertight to firstly avoid further damage and allow for internal progress to take place.

 

using jarrah for decking

Getting To Know Your Wood

Wood, timber or lumber whatever you call you it that doesn’t matter we all understand these terms in the building industry.  BUT it’s the selection of the correct type of timber you make that will be the crucial decision.

Making The Right Wood Choice

There are few quick questions we need to answer in order to make the right choice:

  1. Will the timber be providing any structural support?
  2. Is the timber going to be exposed to moisture?
  3. Will the timber be exposed or covered?

Once these three questions have been answered it then makes the selection process easier and will ensure your timber will give the desired result and perform to its anticipated tasks.

 

Wood For Structural Support

As a general rule a piece of timber that could be used for structural support across an opening for a window or doorway will be sized in accordance to the timber framing code and will generally be much heavier and thicker in size in order to perform the task in which it has been selected (structural support).  In the case of a load bearing wall being removed and structural support is needed to create a larger opening you might find a piece of timber called and LVL (laminated veneer lumber) being used.  These timbers are high in strength and engineered to suit a specific purpose where high demand is to be placed upon it ie: high roof load width (RLW)

 

Timbers which will have a high chance of meeting moisture throughout their life should be treated (permapine H3).  Being treated means that timber will be resistant to pests, decay, white ants and other deteriorating factors.  It will have a green/blue tinge to it which makes it easily identifiable to ensure the correct timber is being used for the right location.  It also makes it easier for the buyer to select the right timber from the lumber yard.

Exposed Timber

The final consideration is if the timber to be used will it be exposed.  Take for example an outdoor deck.  This timber is not only going to be completely exposed to the weather it will also need to be hard wearing.  Jarrah, black butt, iron wood, spotted gum, swan river red, tallow wood and merbau are some of the more common timbers used for this.  Over time they change colour and getting darker with age.  In order to maintain these timber members regular oiling is highly recommended (usually every year).  As the name suggest “hard wood” it is harder to cut and longer lasting.  You will find though this type of material comes at a cost and species such as the Jarrah although it looks amazing nicely oiled will burn a hole in your back pocket when it comes to the initial purchase costs.

 

If you are considering the purchase of timber for your next project and need a little help, please feel to contact us.  One of our skilled trades people will be only too happy to help.

 

building on unstable ground

Working With Reactive Soils

When it comes to extending or building a new structure on the ground floor the type of soil in which we will be working with is important to identify. Various suburbs of Adelaide are known to have reactive soils locations such as Oakden, Lights View, Northgate and Aberfoyle Park. Our recent project was undertaken in Aberfoyle Park as you will see below.

Ground Movement When Building

A client recently contacted us to investigate some ground movement along the side of there house. The area in question wasbuilding on unstable ground located outside two of there bathrooms and it was covered by an over head shade sail. The first thing to do was lift the pavers and see what condition the soil is in below. Immediately upon removing a few pavers it was noted that the soil was all very wet, spongey and there were air pockets present. The next step was to keep excavating until dry soil could be found, unfortunately this did not happen, and the soil continued to get more saturated the deeper we went to nearly 1 metre in depth. It was at the depth of 1 metre the soil had become black and almost 100 percent saturated, it was like digging in a swamp!

Why so much moisture this deep in the ground?

As previously mentioned, Aberfoyle Park is known for having reactive soils meaning that they are likely to shrink and expand due to the nature of its makeup. When we encounter such conditions its crucial that various precautions are put in place to protect items such as the concrete slab, external fixtures and services running under and into the building. The concrete slab is likely to have more steel installed in it and have thicker areas to help it maintain its integrity when the soils shrink and expand. Services such as plumbing drains should have expansion and swivel joints installed to allow the drains to move without causing damage to the pipes.

When the hole was further excavated, we found that the sewer drain was in this location and could well be responsible for what is allowing all this moisture into the hole. We followed the direction of the sewer drain to the underside of the perimeter footing where a small pond was found. Between the water membrane and the concrete slab was a huge amount of water just sitting there. The main sewer pipe which ran from outside the home’s perimeter and through the middle of the house to pick up the kitchen and laundry sinks had snapped in half (as seen in image) this was the cause for so much moisture in this area.

How to fix such a problem?

In order to have this issue properly fixed we needed to now engage one of our plumbers to attend the site and asses the damage. The drain was further excavated to see what condition it was in down stream as the system was still holding a large amount of waste water. The drain was exposed another few meters where it was identified as having collapsed due to ground movement in this area also. The lack of any type of flexible connections or expansion control devices certainly did not help, and the lack of quality fill being used provided a deadly combination which lead to this disaster. We would now need to identify a suitable point in which to join back onto the sewer system and then carefully re-install the drainage system with the correct swivel and expansion connections to prevent any future damage to the pipe system.

Making good of the bad situation

Once the new sewer drain had been installed using the required swivel and expansion fittings and then tested it was time to have all the contaminated spoil removed from the site and new class A material imported to begin the backfilling process. Carefully the trench was backfilled and compacted in layers to ensure good support for the pipes and for the pavers which would be re-installed. Once all backfilling was completed it would be time for our paver to attend and cut the pavers to now allow for the new inspection openings for the drain to be raised to surface and install the pavers.

Working with reactive soils is always a challenge and can cost more in the initial build stages BUT as you have just seen in this situation for the sake of a few hundred dollars’ worth of flexible connections and some good quality imported fill a situation such as this may have been avoided. When it comes to building there should never be any short cuts taken because the consequences can be disastrous.

fire code in constructing buildings

Protect Your Property From Fire Damage

The NCC and Australian Standards have strict rules and methods of which must be adhered to when building or renovating a property, whether it be commercial, industrial or residential.  These processes have been put in place to protect human lives and restrict damage to buildings during the event of a fire occurring.

When we look at class 1 through to class 10a buildings we must ensure these buildings are either built at correct distances from one another, separated using the correct fire rating methods, provide adequate access during a fire or a combination of all rules.

fire code in constructing buildingsWhat are some examples of correct building practices to ensure fire safety?

  • 900mm is the distance in which any class 1 building must be built as a minimum from a boundary that it is built on. If, however there is another building on the same allotment the distance is increased to 180mm between the two buildings.
  • Class 1a buildings such as town houses, terrace houses and dwellings attached by a common wall must be have the wall which joins the two properties constructed of a fire rated material. Typical construction methods used to create this barrier are double bricked walls protecting each property from one another during a fire starting.
  • Commercial buildings such as Class 5 and Class 6 may have penetrations going through the floor or dividing tenancy walls for systems such as air-conditioning, electrical and plumbing services. These must be sealed using approved products such as fire collars, fire rated mastic and fire rated pillows.  All of these are designed to stop the spread of fire through the penetration as they close over the opening when in contact with fire.
  • Cladding of structural members to ensure their integrity during a fire. If we look at multi storey construction the steel members which are used to hold up and tie in the building need protection from a fire for a certain period to enable the fire to be bought under control.  In a situation where the steel column or beam may form part of an internal feature it will be cladded in fire rated gyprock so that it can still be painted and or decorated.  If, however the structural member is concealed in a ceiling space or a plant room you might see it encased in vermiculite.

Building in a bush fire zone

Adelaide has many locations where Class 1 to 10a buildings are built and susceptible to bush fires.  Take for example the Adelaide Hills this is classed as a zone that would be more likely to endure the affects of a bush fire as opposed to somewhere such as Unley.  When it comes time to get approval for a building or structure to be built it must be approved against what Bushfire Attack Level it faces (BAL).  There are 6 levels of bushfire protection legislated and these are:

  • BALzone low = General bushfire area
  • BALzone 12.5 = Medium bushfire area
  • BALzone 19 = High bushfire area
  • BALzone 29 = protection level more than high
  • BALzone 40 = protection level more than high
  • BALzone FZ = protection level more than high (most extreme level in the NCC)

Depending on the risk to fire your building is going to be zoned it will depend on what specific requirements the site will need to meet.  Below are some examples of the requirements relating to each zone:

High risk protection planning provisions:

  • Have a dedicated water supply of a minimum amount of 22,000 litres
  • Ensure any gaps between dwelling floor and ground are enclosed to prevent burning debris from entering
  • Be constructed at a minimum of 20 metres from flammable and combustible materials
  • Located and designed to minimise the risk from bush fires
  • Provide adequate access to and from the property for vehicles including fire fighting machinery during the event of a fire

Medium and general risk protection planning provisions:

  • Have a dedicated water supply of a minimum amount of 5,000 litres
  • Ensure any gaps between dwelling floor and ground are enclosed to prevent burning debris from entering
  • Be constructed at a minimum of 20 metres from flammable and combustible materials
  • Located and designed to minimise the risk from bush fires
  • Provide adequate access to and from the property for vehicles including fire fighting machinery during the event of a fire

Protection from fire is one of the most vital components of any building project and adhering to the NCC and Australian Standards is something that cannot be cheated on.  These rules and legislation have been put in place to protect human life and structures.  When considering building in a bush fire zone you should always obtain the services of a qualified builder who can ensure that your project will adhere to the correct fire safety rules, your life might depend upon it one day.