As a termite inspector in the Brisbane, Ipswich and Gold Coast areas, I get to talk to a lot of people, well customers, even when I am just doing a general pest control treatment for them; termites are pretty much always brought into the conversation at some point.
The thing I hear most is that the last guy didn’t do an extensive inspection, so I ask why; in what way do you think it wasn’t comprehensive.
The first thing most say is that the termite inspector didn’t go into the roof void, now I can tell you I hear this a lot, and in most cases it’s wrong.
If you are having a termite inspection done, the technician doing the job should always go into the roof void to check for termite damage or activity, but there are some limitations or reasons why they can’t.
I’ll try to explain briefly what a termite inspection should involve and also some tools that can be used to aid in the inspection process, so you know what to look out for next time you get yours done.
Termite Inspection procedure:
Ok so I’ll outline here what should be inspected during a termite inspection, it’s essential that the customer has some understanding of what should be done to ensure they are getting what they pay for.
Most inspections start on the outside of the property; this means having a detailed look at the gardens, fences, old tree stumps etc., basically anything that may be conducive to termite attack.
Any other building, i.e. sheds garages, outhouses etc. within the property boundary and up to 50 meters of the property being inspected, will also have to be inspected.
Once the outside has been done, the internal inspection will start, this will involve checking every room that is accessible, all available skirting boards, window frames, door frames will also be looked at.
Areas such as roof voids and sub-floors will also have to be inspected; this is where many inspectors fall short. If an inspector can get out of inspecting these areas they will, because they are cramped and hot, full of bugs, and basically not a good place to be, but that’s no excuse not to inspect.
If an inspector can’t gain access to the roof void or the subfloor, they must give a reason in writing in their report; there is a standard as stated in the Australian standards 4349.3for reasonable access.
Reasonable access is as follows, for the manhole cover that leads to the roof void, it must be 400×500, this is classed as reasonable access, anything under that; an inspector can refuse, due to limited access.
Also, the access hole must be accessible from a 3.6-meter ladder, anything over that will or can be put down as a limitation in the report.
Now even if the access hole is within the standard of 400×500, there is another way out of not having to inspect the roof void, and that is crawl space.
The crawl space for a roof void must be no less than 600×600, anything under that the inspector can refuse access, due to lack of crawl space.
Where a house has a sub-floor and not a slab, it is also an area that needs to be inspected during a termite inspection.
The standard crawl space for sub-floors is a minimum of 400mm; anything below this makes it very difficult to do an inspection.
In the case that a sub-floor is below 400mm it can be deemed a limitation; this will have to be written into the report.
There are all sorts of tools that an inspector can use during a termite inspection, but only two are a requirement.
The two tools all inspectors have to use are a moisture meter and a sounding stick; this is a requirement of the Australian standard 4349.3.
All other tools and electronic devices are optional, and some companies don’t bother with anything else.
One popular tool is a thermal imaging camera, here at Sunnystate pest control & Termites we use this tool as we feel it gives us a better overall inspection.
Another tool is a termatrac; this is more of a sounding device, we don’t bother with this device as we use the thermal imaging cameras, again the thermal imaging camera and the Termatrac device are not a requirement they are completely optional.
But the main tool in respect to a termite inspection is the technician; they need to have a sound understanding of the many different types of termites we have here in Australia, and also they’re feeding and nesting habits.
If you want a particular electronic inspection tool used at your home, you must ask the pest control company you are detailing with, what they use before making a booking with them.
So as you can see, there are ways out of having to inspect a roof voids, but in a lot of cases that I’ve seen the inspector is just being lazy.
It’s the responsibility of the pest control company inspecting to ensure they follow the Australian standard 4349.3 to ensure they are giving their customer the best possible chance of not having to deal with termites.
A good termite inspection is done once a year; and can save a homeowner thousands of dollars down the track.
Even if a termite management system or chemical barrier treatment has been put in place around a building, it still will require at least a 12 monthly inspection, as nothing is a 100% bulletproof when it comes to termites.
As stated earlier in this blog, customers should have some understanding of the procedure of a termite inspection, because unfortunately there are some unscrupulous people out there that will happily take the money and run.
Well, let’s hope that has given some customers a crash course in how a termite inspection should be carried out, the average time for an inspection is about 1 hour 30 minutes, anything under that just isn’t being done properly.
After the inspection is complete a full report will have to be written out and sent to the customer, the report will have details of all the areas inspected, and any problem areas highlighted.
Remember where reasonable access is available; make sure your termite technician goes into the roof void.