home building site in Adeladie

The Impacts Of Covid 19 On The Adelaide Building Industry

It would be a fair assumption that none of us will ever forget the year 2020 and Corona Virus.  No matter who you are there would have been some impact on your life in one way or another.  Some people had positive results from the pandemic, but many saw what can only be described as a horrendous year in 2020 with some flow on affects still carrying through to 2021.

How has Mayfair Building Group approached the Corona Virus

At the start of the pandemic many in the building industry feared the worse and started to scale back manufacturing.  Take Laminex for example they started to scale back there manufacturing shifts in the fear of a huge downturn in the building industry across Australia, as did many other manufacturing companies such as timber suppliers.  Consumer confidence was down, media hype was at its peak and a few of our projects in Crafers, Toorak Gardens and Glenelg all went on pause until a clear direction could be established of where this was all going to lead?

As a local Adelaide family owned and operated small to medium building company in South Australia, we are fortunate to have small projects to keep our tradies busy while some of the larger ones slowed.  We managed to keep our plumbers, brickies, cabinet makers, electricians, tilers and carpenters all busy with bathroom renovations, kitchen make overs and huge renovation which was well under way in Tusmore.  The interaction all changed a little with social distancing, check ins and other various hygiene practises implemented, but all in all the building processes still ticked along well.


a builder working on a house


Government Stimulus Package

As we have touched on previously in one of early blog posts the government introduced the $25,000 stimulus package back in June 2020 and anticipated 27,000 households would apply for the grant which would encourage an up take in the slowing building industry.

As we currently speak 88,264 applications have been made for the government grant and this accounts for $2.075bn in grants if they are all successful.

As you would expect consumer confidence was back up and there was a sigh of relief that just maybe we can all get through this in the building industry.  Many new home builders saw a huge increase in the number of new homes which are going to be built in 2021 and many small to medium builders such as Mayfair Building Group saw an increase in small home renovations and additions.  The key was meeting various deadlines such as approvals, commencement dates and completion dates in order to lock in the government grant, the race was on!

A Spanner In The Works!

So here we all are early 2020 thinking how is this possible a virus no one knows very much about is causing such an upheaval around the globe and we are all trying to forecast the future.  Well fast forward to March 2021 and we now have another problem which the Adelaide building and renovation market is facing, no materials!

No materials, how has this happened?  As you may remember me mentioning earlier in this article many manufacturers slowed down processing and manufacturing, a lot of materials like tiles, stone bench tops, kitchen range hoods, reinforcement steel for concrete slabs and bathroom renovation fixtures are still stuck offshore and delivery dates are still not confirmed.

Other items such as timber is currently seeing many Adelaide renovations gradually slowing down.  Many large home builders are currently being preferred for supply of structural timber due to there huge buying power and massive orders that were placed at the start of the government stimulus announcement.  Whereas other smaller builders are finding it hard to get structural timer for their projects.  Items such as 90 x 35 and 90 x 45 timbers are still available for top and bottom plates, stud walls and noggings.  Many timber manufacturers will not commit to delivery dates at this stage for their products, so watch this space.

The Future Of 2021 In The Adelaide Building Market

Unfortunately, we are already hearing stories of some smaller building firms starting to run behind schedule and a growing pressure being placed upon them from their clients to keep up with project milestones.  Will this force the closure of these building companies?  We hope not, but time will tell.

What will be next?  A shortage in dry wall materials, steel and insulation?  Perhaps as we have already seen the first stages of the building phase already struggling.  Although many builders will see huge benefits from the government stimulus package some will not be as fortunate due material shortages which is a real shame.

Our projects which I mentioned at the start in Crafers, Glenelg and Toorak Gardens have just about been completed with final hand overs anticipated to be in April this year.

If you are looking at doing a kitchen renovation or a bathroom renovation this year in 2021 please get in contact as we still have spots available for mid to late this year across Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.

eligibility for homebuilder grant sa

How South Australian Residents Can Benefit From The HomeBuilder Grant

Recently, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $25,000 stimulus grant for eligible owner-occupiers who wish to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing dwelling. The package was introduced as part of the Federal government’s economic response as a result of Coronavirus.

This tax-free grant has been introduced to stimulate the construction sector and ease lull periods in recent months due to Coronavirus and has been welcomed by many in the industry with open arms.

But, what are the requirements and are you eligible for the grant? We’ve put together a list of questions we’re being asked to help our customers identify if they’re eligible and how they can access it.

what is the eligibility for a homebuilders grant

Am I eligible for the HomeBuilder Grant?

In summary, you must live in the house you’re building or substantially renovating in addition to the following criteria.

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • You’re an Australian citizen of 18 years old and over.
  • You are an individual. You can’t access the grant through a trust.
  • You earn less than $125,000 per year for individual applicants and less than $200,000 combined per couple (based on 2018-19FY or later).
  • You have to spend between $150 000 and $750,000 on a renovation for a house worth less than $1.5 million.
  • You wish to build a new home with a value of less than $750,000, including land value.

It’s important to note that this tax-free grant applies to all building types (houses, off the plan, land packages, houses and apartments) and all owner-occupiers, not just first-home buyers. Investors are not eligible for the HomeBuilders Grant.

What builders can I use for the HomeBuilders Grant?

Your builder must be registered and fully licensed according to South Australian law.

As is the case in ordinary circumstances, you must spend some time doing your research. Only consider builders with a proven track record and good reputation, so you know you’re protecting your investment.

What if I own the land I want to build on but haven’t yet signed a contract with a builder?

If you own a property, whether it’s an apartment or a house, and you knock that apartment down to rebuild, this will be considered a substantial renovation. Therefore, your project must fall within the price bracket of $150,000 to $750,000 and under the combined land/house value of $1. 5 million.

Regardless of when you bought the land, and you choose to build a new home, the total combined land/build value can’t be more than $750,000.

When can I access my HomeBuilder grant?

To apply for your HomeBuilder grant, you must enter into a building contract between June 4th and December 31st of this year, with construction starting within three months of the contract date.

With the decision-making process being lengthy and council approval taking time, we recommend starting the process as soon as possible, to avoid missing out.

What documents do I need to have available when applying?

To support your application, you’ll need to provide the following documentation:

  • Official proof of identification
  • A signed and dated contract between you and your licensed builder
  • A copy of their South Australian registration or license
  • An official copy of your 2018-19FY (or later) tax return proving you’re under the income cap.
  • Any supporting documentation such as approvals, occupation certificates and proof of land value.

Although this grant is a federal government-led initiative, the South Australian government will be handling notifications. If you’re unsuccessful and still believe you’re eligible, you can contact the relevant dispute resolution body to have it appealed.

Will the South Australian government be adding to the package for South Australian residents?

Unlike some state and territory governments, the South Australian government have announced they will be not adding to the $25,000 HomeBuilder package for its residents, or abolishing stamp duty. They’ve, however, expressed more support will be available to SA residents in the coming weeks.

Currently, the SA government offers $15,000 for property buyers who build a new home (valued at less than $575,000). Details on this pre-existing grant can be found here. With the two grants mentioned above combined, first home buyers can save up to $40,000 on their first home (conditions apply), making now a better time than ever to build.

In addition to the above, the South Australian government will not be making any adjustments to the off-the-plan stamp duty concession, which is valued at $21,330 on houses with a value of less than $500,000.

Refer to your state and territory concessions here.

For more information on how to apply for the HomeBuilder grant, or to find out how Mayfair Plumbing & Gasfitting can assist, please contact us today.

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.


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.




Selecting The Right Screw For The Right Job

If you are attending your local hardware store there is what would seem to be endless choices for the right screw for any project, and there’s a good reason.  Screws can be subjected to varying weather conditions and this will have an impact on the type of screw you should be selecting.

What screw for which purpose?

When we are dealing with a simple task of hanging a picture frame majority of people just use whatever is available and even perhaps just a basic small cheap nail which is fine.  But when we are considering a screw which is going to be responsible for holding a load and may not be physically accessed again once installed there are a few points worth considering:

  • What weight will be placed upon the fixing (load bearing or not?)
  • Is the screw directly exposed to the environment or concealed?
  • What type of conditions will the screws be exposed to?
  • Will the screws be coated or left raw?

Once we have established a few of these points its onto considering the types of materials screws are made from and what will suit your project.

old screw stuck in a wallWhat materials are screws made from?

Majority of the screws on the market today are made from some form of metal, it is the type of metal that a screw is manufactured from which will influence the application it should be used for.  There is also the thickness of the screw which will determine the strength of the screw typically referred to as the gage of the screw.  So, let’s explore a few of the common materials and uses for screws:

  • Stainless Steel: Screws made from this material are going to the most expensive fixing you will purchase, and, in some cases, you may need to take a breath before shopping for these screws.  Areas where exposure to high levels of corrosion is where these fixings should be installed.  For example, buildings near coastal areas and projects where moisture levels are high will benefit from the corrosion resistant characteristics of this metal.
  • Galvanized Coated: A coating applied to fixings (hot dipped galv) to assist in the prolonged life of the screw.  This fixing is a dull grey in its appearance and are typically used in situations where the screw will no longer be accessed again once installed.  For example, the installation of equipment inside of a wall or ceiling the void, you want the fixing to remain strong its entire life but cannot get to get again without ease.
  • Zinc Plated: Probably the most common form of screw used in the building and renovation market today.  These screws a gold/yellow colour in appearance, they are not so much of a heavy-duty screw but more a light weight fixing.  For example, dry wall installers use these to assist in the installation of dry wall to either a steel or timber frame until the adhesive has gone off.  You will also occasionally come across the screws being used in situations where they are not suitable.  The image on this page shows where a home handy man has used zinc plated screws to secure a soap dish to the wall and due to this high exposure to moisture the fixings have rapidly deteriorated.
  • Aluminium: Light weight yet extremely strong with high corrosion resistance and good performance in extreme temperatures.  As equally expensive as stainless steel and only used where they are specifically required.  For example, air crafts and motor vehicle which require a fixing that has a minimal impact on weight and can relied upon for its strength.
  • Brass: A softer metal with a bright yellow colour.  These screws are found quite a bit in the plumbing industry where the screw will be installed in a location where it will directly be touching copper and occasionally exposed to moisture, this material is both compatible with copper (won’t react in a negative way with it) and will also provide a good level of corrosion resistance.  Certainly, one of the least used screws today in the building industry.

Slotted, Posi or Star?

Once you’ve decided the type of screw you will also need to establish how it will be installed.  The three most common styles of heads you will find on a screw today are a flat (slotted) screw, posi drive which has a square inserted in the middle of the head and star shape also known as Phillips which has five points and looks like a star.  Posi drive screws are used mostly where the screw is not to tampered with as you need a special shaped driver to insert and remove again.  Today the most common head is the Phillips head and over 80% of the screws you will find in a hardware store or installed will have this style of head.

insulating your home

How Important Is Thermal Insulation?

It is something that can be over looked either during the design phase or construction process and even after many years of building being in operation the thermal protection may need maintenance. Today many designers and engineers are across the many available options on the market but like everything it comes down to price, BUT with the wrong product or no thermal protection the longer-term costs will almost be guaranteed to out way the initial costs back in the building process.

What areas of a building does thermal insulation impact?

Thermal insulation comes in many different forms and provides the same service to each area it is applied to. The design is to assist with lower energy bills through maintaining steady/constant temperatures to the material it is associated with. An example is the older properties we renovate in Adelaide such as Unley and Myrtle Bank have no insulation on the underside of the sheet iron allowing for a variety issues such as noise and excessive amounts of temperature differentials in the roof space to occur.

insulating your home

Case Study

We recently under took an energy audit of a block of 50 apartments in the suburb of Plympton in South Australia. There were various suggestions put forward to assist with energy conservation such as sensor activated lighting, roof ventilation to help hot air be expelled during summer, decrease draft entering under doorways, double glazing of glass, water saving shower heads, thicker curtains and solar electric panels on the roof for electricity. One of the main issues which has been immediately dealt with was the thermal protection to a large commercial scale water heating plant.

Approximately 10 years ago a contractor was engaged to upgrade some of the infrastructure which provides huge amounts of hot water to the large volume of showers and baths at this facility. The installation was very poor and as you will see in the photos below majority of the pipe work which carries hot water into and around this apartment complex was missing or barely had any thermal protection. What this meant is that you have copper tube carrying 65 degrees of water exposed to elements allowing for a huge temperature drop. In turn the water heaters were working a lot harder then needed and the client’s energy bills were through the roof.

A process such as the one described above was labour intensive, but even by the time we had completed only a third of the new pipe work insulation the increased temperature being kept inside of the pipes could be felt as we installed the insulation, the pipes were becoming warmer and even to a point towards the end of the process where they were hard to handle because the temperature of the water was being maintained to higher level. This entire process took a total of two full days and two staff members.

insulation for home heating and cooling

Keeping the costs low

With the continual rising of energy bills it has become increasingly harder for businesses to maintain the running costs while still trying to remain competitive in the market place. It is crucial that every part of the business is operating in an energy efficient manner. Sometimes businesses need to spend a bit of money to create a better environment in which they can start to save money. Today there are still state government incentives and rebates on offer for certain energy saving methods which not only gives the owner a money credit but the appliance being installed will immediately start to impact on the lowering of utility bills. If you are considering trying to decrease your utility bills contact us today and let us perform an energy audit on your property.