Monday, October 08, 2012

Tales of shock, relief and another heart stopping 'near miss'

Joey the Tenterfield terrier looks a little worried
 about those screws
SHOCK that transforms into gratitude and relief etches some events into the human memory. The term 'near miss' covers a multitude of situations. We experience them on the roads, in our homes and probably anywhere we work, rest or play. Time seems to stop. A vision of a 500 millimetre wide rock, which was dislodged on a hillside, bouncing at high speed toward my then toddler daughter and missing her by only centimetres is just one of the near misses I will never forget.

ANOTHER memory, not quite so dramatic, has joined my special collection. This risk developed slowly and the accident was waiting to happen, but now it never will. Screws holding the stringers on our stairs had corroded so much they could have given way under the weight of just one heavy person. The experience underscores the need for householders to pay close attention to maintenance, and now with the vision of 12mm bolts holding up the stairs I wonder how the builder could have expected a few roofing screws to secure them over time.
BUILDING and pest inspector Jeff Gronvold of Wellington Point says he has seen many compliance issues in older houses. Jeff says building practices have tightened considerably and elements of older houses may not meet modern standards. For instance, he has found many handrail heights under the mandatory one metre on decks and stairs. Another key point is that paint can hide termite damage and wood rot in older houses. However, Jeff emphasises that although a pre-purchase building inspection will detect some such problems, the full structural compliance checks are scheduled during the stages of construction.
JEFF, who set up his Redland business in 2004 after working as a building inspector with a bigger firm, says attachments on decks and stairs are certainly on his check list that meets the relevant Australian Standard. He advertises in our Trade Services classifieds offering "complete building and timber pest reports" and says he qualified for the two licences to save his clients from the combined cost of two separate inspection visits. "It takes bit longer to do the pest inspection as well as the building inspection but it's less expensive," he says. "As a small operator, doing only two or three inspections a day I also have the time to talk to the people. "I like to have the client with me during the inspection so they know exactly what I look for and find."
BRISBANE-born Jeff, who moved to the Redlands in in 1973 when a teenager, proudly advertises as a "local family business". Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. 

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