You might think that the defects we find in buildings are all related to the passage of time. It’s easy to think that it’s always outdated building techniques, old equipment, and ageing materials weathered by the elements which are to blame for most defects. While these factors do put older buildings at higher risk, you might be surprised to learn that newly built homes can and do have defects too. Impractical designs, improper materials, and simple human error can all cause new home construction defects to be built into a new home. In this article, we’ll share the common construction defects we find in new homes and the long-term problems that they can cause.
Common new home construction defects
Timber mouldings around windows without flashings
Window flashings are an important feature to protect timber homes from water damage. Flashings are made from a water-repellant material which is installed around windows to protect the window, the mouldings, and the internal fabrics of the home from water seepage.
Without flashing, rainwater can seep inside. Over time, this can lead to warped plaster, mould build up, damaged frames and floorboards, and more.
The Building Code stipulates that flashing must be provided to the top, sides and bottom (head, jambs and sill) of an opening, i.e. a window or door.
Despite this, some new constructions have sealant in place of flashings, which does not perform the same protective function – and is not compliant with the Code. Sealant deteriorates over time from UV rays, leaving the window and surrounding timber exposed to rainwater.
Over time, this can cause rot to develop both around the window and potentially to any floors below.
Rising damp in concrete slabs
Rising damp is a form of damp that involves moisture being wicked from the ground up through building materials such as concrete slabs or walls. Moisture travels through capillaries in the material, carrying with it salt and other elements that can further degrade the building’s structures.
Some new constructions have rising damp in structures like garage floors, which are often concrete slabs. The issue here is likely an error in fitting the waterproofing membrane that sits beneath the concrete slab to protect it from the soil and its corrosive elements.
Eventually, rising damp in a concrete slab can permeate the surrounding structures, and travel from the floor up into the walls. Damp can also cause concrete to crack, which down the line can cause damage to the building’s foundations – meaning you’ve got a new major defect to deal with.
Badly placed drainage pipes in bathrooms
Drainage pipes are necessary in wet rooms to ensure leaking or sitting water can drain effectively out of the room. Many newly built homes have this drainage pipe in odd and functionally useless locations, perhaps as a matter of ticking off the box for compliance.
Bathrooms without effective drainage pipes on the floor lead to problems with sitting water, and leave residents at risk of flooding or water damage if a significant leak or burst pipe occurs.
If you’re considering buying or selling a newly built home or apartment, we’ll ensure neither of these new home construction defects are present and list any evidence in your report. Book your Building and Pest Inspection on our website or call 0432 261 380.