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Drain Maintenance

The Importance of Performing a Drainage Check when Buying a Home

When it comes to buying a new home, performing a drainage check on the guttering and down-pipes might not be your first priority.

However, if they aren’t in good condition or haven’t been maintained properly, there is a chance the building’s structural integrity could be at risk.

This is because the extended presence of moisture can easily weaken the foundations, damage the footings, and lead to structural problems. What’s more, this isn’t always obvious to the untrained eye and can go easily overlooked.

By not performing a drainage check, your dream home could soon become a nightmare. Along with the disruption that extensive repairs can cause, you will also have to deal with a great deal of added expense too.

So, with this in mind, here is how to spot drainage problems and some reasons why enlisting the services of a building inspector makes perfect sense.

How to Spot Drainage Problems

By using a combination of your senses, you should be able to see, touch, smell, and hear whether your potential new home has drainage issues.

Problem areas include:

• Guttering – If possible, inspect the guttering for leaves and debris that might block the flow of water. Streaks of dirt and peeling paint on the building’s exterior are telltale signs of an overflowing gutter.
• Down pipes – If down pipes are too short they will dump a great deal of water around the foundations. Therefore, touch the ground to see whether it is overly damp and be on the look out for standing puddles on the property.
• Walls – If there is a white or grey crust on the walls, this could be efflorescence, which is a sign of moisture. Walls that are flaking off could also spell bad news. You will often smell damp before you see it on walls, but be aware of stains as well.
• Cracks – Although small cracks do appear as houses settle over time, bigger cracks could be a sign of drainage problems. The only true way of knowing whether cracks are serious is to ask the opinion of a building inspector.

Why use a Building Inspector?

As opposed to some plumbers and other building professionals who want to find site drainage problems in order to offer you their services, a building inspector will provide impartial information and advice. Furthermore, they don’t have any financial stake in the findings of their report either.

Even so, it is highly recommended you choose a building inspector that has some sort of plumbing or drainage expertise because if they fail to see any problems, you may end up paying for their mistakes.

Consumer Affairs Victoria recommends that before you sign a contract of sale, you should consider engaging a qualified building inspector. However, you should be wary of any property inspection report offered by the agent or the seller.

Building Inspectors Will Provide a Report Listing:

• Faults in the property
• Whether they can be repaired
• How much repairs are likely to cost.

It is also essential you use an inspection service with full professional indemnity insurance.