When you look around your home, do you see signs of failure, rot or damage near areas where moisture is typically present? Showers, balconies and other wet areas are particularly prone to damage, especially when proper waterproofing measures aren’t taken. The Building Code of Australia specifies the proper guidelines for waterproofing in wet areas, and if those requirements aren’t met then defects will eventuate. In addition to violating the BCA, defective waterproofing leaves you, as a property owner, exposed to the possibility of exceedingly expensive repairs. In the case of balconies and decking, insufficient water protection can lead to rotting and eventual collapse, with the potential to cause injury or even death. To avoid a tragedy and the liability which can often accompany such devastating events, it’s imperative that you ensure the safety and protection of areas around your home prone to moisture damage.
Waterproofing Showers and Wet Areas
The Building Commission’s Guide to Standards and Tolerances very clearly delineates the regulations regarding waterproofing when it comes to decks and balconies:
Clause 13.01 – Shower recesses, decks and balconies frequently fail because of inadequate attention to the correct selection of materials and proper water proofing techniques. Care must be taken during design and construction to prevent water penetration from these areas into the dwelling. Waterproofed areas must be inspected before they are covered over by tiles, and if the membrane is not installed or the work is shoddy, the construction company would have to rectify, but you may not discover the problem with leaks and water damage to frames and materials for several years.
Whether you’re having a brand new home built, adding to your existing home or considering the purchase of an existing structure, the failure of waterproofing of wet areas and showers can become a burden to you. If you purchase an established home with insufficient waterproofing and resultant damage, for instance, you will be responsible for rectification and repairs. Because the entire affected area must be rebuilt in order to achieve an adequate, long-term waterproofing solution, the associated costs can be quite high.
Waterproofing Decks and Balconies
A balcony or deck collapse can be devastating. In addition to the risk of injury or death, a collapse can also cause significant structural damage to your property. The Building Commission’s Guide to Standards and Tolerances covers the waterproofing regulations for decking and balconies in clause 13.05:
Water proof decks and balconies substrate, states: Water proof decks and balconies are defective if they are constructed with substrate of non-external quality water resistant materials such as particleboard referred to in AS 1860 – Installation of particleboard flooring, or other materials that are not warranted as suitable by the manufacturer for that purpose, whether or not they fail.
Protecting Yourself and Your Investments
As a homeowner or prospective buyer, it’s important that you take all necessary steps to protect yourself, your family and your real estate investments against damages or unexpected expenditures. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to work with a professional building inspector before any major real estate changes. From pre-purchase inspections for a home you’re planning to buy all the way to stage construction inspections when you’re having a home built or extended, a professional inspection company can help you to avoid finding issues when it’s too late.
Houspect Building Inspections– Buy, Build, Invest and Sell with Confidence