Lake Burley Griffin for Canberra Building Inspections.


The Building Inspection in ACT and Canberra, and New South Wales usually includes a Termite and Timber Pest Inspection as part of the package.

Nature has a way of deposing of all the trees that die. If it did not then we would live in a world that was covered in dead wood hundreds of meters high.  But what nature has is termites, borers, fungi and more, to break down dead wood.  And that is good for us, except that we also build our lives and homes inside structure made from dead wood.

The Purpose of the Inspection

The Termite and Timber Pest Inspection is to find tell-take signs of these timber pests.   They leave markers behind so can be found.

We also have instruments which can find them too.  We can hear them, sight them through walls, to a degree.  We can measure their moisture.  But it is a hard job as houses are just so big, and the sneaky little insects may live a street away, and only come to your house for dinner.

How Termites Work

Termites are more often found outside.  They will often eat and run, eating one select piece of timber and then vanish.

That timber must be reported if found eaten.  So must any timber lying around that they may feast on later.  Our tip is to get all the old timber out from your property before the inspector arrives.  That is Nick’s tip.

If there are not sufficient openings, please make them, or it goes in the report that access was not sufficient.  I will try to get through where access is less than what is required, but there comes a point where I will not risk meeting a snake under a house that I will not retreat from relatively quick once spotted. I also will not move furniture, boxes and the like.

How the Inspection Is Done

Nick takes photographs – many photographs – showing the state of the house when I made the inspection.  The Termite and Timber Pest Inspection is the one that is the trickiest and the one that inspectors must be the most vigilant about.

We also look for decay and timber that is falling apart.  The older oregon timber falls apart and while it was great to work with thirty years ago, it is very much rotted away if left in the weather by now.

Termite nest on a tree

Termites nesting in a tree.

Timber with fungi rotting it.

Fungal decay.

In farm areas the inspector must walk a long way from the house to be sure there are no termites near the home.  New South Wales is scattered with termite mounds. So they are there.  We will also look to see if the house has been protected and are the termite caps in place or not.

We will not gouge or intrude into the home or its structure, but if there is signs that there maybe something there, we will recommend an intrusive inspection.

In summary, we look mainly for the following:

Termites, and these are the ones that are on most seller’s minds.  They can devalue a property significantly.  Though, really, I have found many who are not worried as they just remove the timber and treat the area.

Wood borers. These are more difficult to find but they are there.  They are not sop prevalent as termites and the damage is less.

Fungal decay is common in Canberra, especially on the side of the house that faces the weather.  It can be called dry rot, as it can be from freezing water in the winter in the wood, but dries out later, thereby expanding the timber to more bacteria.  Painted surfaces are more or less protected.

Chemical Delignification is where the timber resin dries out over time and leaves the timber.  It can signal a further timber pest attack.

Conducive Materials will be reported on when found lying around.

Major safety hazards will also be reported on.  For example, a piece of timber about to fall as it has rotted and should be removed manually.  If something puts people at risk, it will be reported.

We also must find and report nests.  They can be in trees and or underground.  We look around the property, not just in it.

We hope this write up helps.  Press here for a sample download of the report style, without photos: 

Written by Nick Broadhurst, our inspector. For more information on Nick: SEE HERE

Timber lying around is condusive to an attack.

This is conducive material left on the site.

The fungal attack had collapsed the fence.

This fence fell apart from fungal decay.

Call us today for your next Building and Timber Pest Inspection.

We can answer questions and schedule a time if you wish.

All Building and Pest Inspectors are registered here at Access Canberra.

  • 0418-388-911