This can be a short inspection, and as an intermediate inspection it is priced low.
You are going to get a lot less resistance from the builder if you make comments on the façade part way through the building process, than if you wait until the very end. That is because he will be having trades come back onto the site at different times to fix up what he finds. So, if you are just adding to that list, it is easier. But if it is at the very end of the job, then the subcontractor and the builder will have resistance.
The Different Facades
There are many different facades types. There is sheeting, planking, Hebel, brickwork and others. Bricks seem to have the most trouble.
So, brickwork is likely to be the most important part of this inspection. There is good brickwork and a shade of bad brickwork. There is also a technology of how to lay bricks.
For example, toothed brickwork is nowhere near as strong as raked brickwork.
Raked brickwork is standardly laying of bricks over each other as above.
Raking is what we would term standard. It is where the next course gets laid over the below course. The weight above pushes the brick below to bond tight.
Toothing on the other hand takes extra time to make sure the bricks are bonded right.
This is toothed brickwork.
Generally the strength of the brickwork is less with toothing as the weight of the upper bricks do not impact the lower bricks to increase bonding.
An Example of Improper Brick Laying
This is a well laid brick wall.
The above wall is well laid. You will see that the vertical mortar, known as perps, is almost exactly the same throughout. The bricklayer has a good eye and can see they are all similar. They are not measured into position, but rather just placed correctly.
This is an example of bad brickwork and it should be redone.
Above the perps are different widths. The brick horizontal coursing does not line up. The bricks butt join and are not even toothed.
Sometimes, if scaffold is still up, it is not good to have this inspection until after all the walls are free to observe.
Another problem with brickwork can be the sand used to make the mortar is not right. Recently, sometimes after brick cleaning, the sand reveals holes in the courses that were not observed when the bricks were being laid. This happened in 2021 in Canberra and the source was a sand supplier.
If the scaffold to the top floor is not per code, and not standard, the inspector will not go up the scaffold. And, the inspection will be billed as a full inspection, and if the inspector needs to return, after the scaffold is rectified, then a second inspection fee will be invoiced.
Scaffold must be compliant.
The inspector will not under any circumstances access scaffold once he finds it faulty. To do so will incriminate the inspector should someone else follow, and be injured. Please understand that. But the inspector will report bad scaffolding in his report so the owner can, if needed, report it to Access Canberra and Worksafe ACT. Understand that the client is ultimately responsible for what happens on their site.
“As soon as you identify an issue or have a concern, raise this with your builder in writing. Your builder should take steps to address your concerns. If the issues are not resolved and are about building or planning of a technical compliance nature, and construction is still underway talk to your building certifier and consider making a complaint to Access Canberra. The building certifier is appointed by the land owner and not the builder. They work in the interest of achieving compliance with the relevant building and planning laws.”
“If your concerns relate to your contract, such as issues with payments, quality of inclusions, or communication, you can contact: