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City Councils Don’t Seem to Care About Termites

We all know it’s tough getting into the Australian property market, with prices skyrocketing and experts claiming that the inner city of Melbourne is practically impossible to buy in for first home buyers. This, combined with large scale gentrification in lower-socio-economic areas such as the inner west, leads to a rapidly snowballing market that will make it nearly impossible to buy anywhere within 20 kilometres of the city in the near future.

If you are one of the lucky people who is able to invest in a nice little property or even if you were thinking about buying soon, then please heed our warning. Prior to purchasing make sure you complete your due diligence and always ensure you have a termite inspection before you purchase. Always engage a Termite/Timber Pest Expert, so you are getting an accurate assessment of termite activity and risk.These inspections are designed to give home buyers a report of any history of termite attack in a potential property, as well as a report on future risks.There are many variables that increase risk of an attack, so all these factors are assessed.

Termite Damage

One of the ten Footscray Townhouses Attacked by Termites, Because they were never received Termite protection

Termite Mud Damage
Huge Amounts of Termite mudding removed from Unprotected Kensington Townhouse

We would normally expect our local city councils to be an accurate source of data on geographical termite risk. In most cases they are, however in the case of a few, Maribyrnong City Council and Stonnington City Council for example, they are failing to pass on the very real risk of termite attack in their municipality.Currently there is an outdated ‘Declared’ or ‘Non-Declared’ zoning that rates the risk of municipalities/city councils across Melbourne.This classification not only guides home buyers on risk rating of a specific city council but also determines whether builders are required to install termite protection to new structures within that area. If construction is in a ‘Declared’ zone new construction within that zone is compulsorily required to have some form of protection installed during construction phase, which is ideal. This translates to a set of standards builders must adhere to (AS3660.1 or .3). Sadly, and inaccurately,city councils that are ‘Non Declared’ do not require termite protection to any new construction. This system is worryingly inaccurate and has resulted in builders not protecting new structures, houses, or buildings in these areas. The lack ofprotection leaves new structures, defined as new housing, renovations, buildings, or specifically any newly constructed structure vulnerable to termite attack.

We have seen the result of this misinformation, for example a recent case of ten townhouses in Footscray were never termite protected, as localcity council did not require the builder to install protection. Consequently they now have extensive termite damage to structural as well as dress timbers. The Termite Treatment as well as repairs will be in the tens of thousands per townhouse. This situation could have been avoided if correct protection had been installed.

There are numerous examples of this; however in another example ahomeowner spends a large amount of money extensively renovating a Victorian Terrace in Kensington.There are no regulations in the plans or compliance required by city council to install termite protection, so the builder does not protect theextension or property. The property is subsequently attacked, costing the owner tens of thousands of dollars in treatment and repairs.

Termite Activity in Townhouse
One of the ten Footscray Townhouses Attacked by Termites, Because they were never received Termite protection

Termite Activity on ceiling
One of the ten Footscray Townhouses Attacked by Termites, Because they were never received Termite protection

If you are planning on purchasing property, building or renovating then you need to seek advice from a professional. When purchasing, a termite expert will be able to thoroughly assess the property and provide a detailed report giving you an understanding of any current termite activity, as well as any history of termite attack and a risk assessment. Good operators should be able to provide free advice around your risks when purchasing or building and can consult with you on minimising your risk and protecting your home.

Are you planning on purchasing a new property? Whatever it is Noah’s Ark Pest Control can provide expert advice. Our team are termite experts and are members of our industry body, the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association (AEPMA) www.aepma.com.au. In fact our Operations Manager, Emma Mendelsohn is Vice Chair of AEPMA VIC. Our team will be happy to assist. Please call Ph. 9372 2670.

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