Why a small job may be bigger than you think

19 November 2019
By Hamish

Many people think that small repair jobs are straightforward and easy to repair. However, whilst they are sometimes, at other times, what people see as a negligible flaw or something minor can actually be a cause for concern. The trick is to know what to look for.

A good example of this is the presence of rust in structural steel. The layperson often immediately assumes that covering the orange-yellowish stain with paint can make the problem go away. But what they don’t know is that the problem is actually more serious than what they think it is. Coating the steel or any other band-aid solution does not really solve the problem.

This misconception of thinking that a small construction job is simple often makes problems bigger than they need to be. In this post, we uncover allegedly simple repairs and works that are actually more complicated than they seem.

Let’s get started.

Covering Rust Stains

Oftentimes, strata managers and building owners who may not be well-experienced in property maintenance approach rust stains with a temporary solution, which involves scrubbing the stain and/or covering the discolouration with some new paint. Usually they assume that the stain is from something minor – perhaps an aging nail on the roof or on the wall, or a drip from somewhere else – prompting them to think that it is a mere aesthetic issue that can be resolved with a fresh coating of paint. What they don’t realise, however, is that rust stains are actually an indication of a likely water leak/ingress or worse, the development of concrete cancer.

When you see rust stains in your building, the structural integrity of your property is actually at risk. It could be that your waterproofing system is defective or that the foundation of the building is becoming weak. Water might be leaking through the walls that is why the steel in your building is starting to rust; perhaps, the concrete is chipping off, exposing the steel to moisture and air that potentially contributed to the rusting of the meta. It is best to have a property inspection and consultation with a remedial service provider to check if you need more than just paint to get rid of rust stains.

You can learn more about the seriousness of rust stains through our article “The Severity of Stains.

Fixing Your Balcony

Maybe your balcony is leaking, maybe the tiles are starting to lift, so you think that a simple remedy such as lifting the tiles and re-bedding them is all that is needed. What many building owners should realise is that niggly little issues are often bigger than they seem. Furthermore, they may not realise that a change to the structure of the balcony then means a requirement to ensure it complies according to the balustrade requirements set by the Building Code of Australia and other applicable Australian Standards.

For safety measures, the BCA standards require a 1-metre height for balustrades and an 865-mm height for handrails. While there is really no direct penalty for failing to comply with the relevant Australian Standards, strata managers and building owners will, however, be liable for the resulting damage or injury sustained by an occupant as a result of non-compliant balcony design.

To understand more about the complexity of having to renovate your balcony as well as the legal implications, you can read our post, Is Your Balcony Safe and BCA-Compliant?.

Replacing Windows

Windows Which Need Replacement - Building Maintenance - Remedial Building Services

Whether it’s for aesthetic consideration, sound or noise, or due to wear and tear, changing the windows in your building may seem like a simple job, albeit, there is a lot to consider.

After all, scaffolding or high-climbers may need to be installed at a minimum, but beyond that, there are the implications of the new windows themselves. And who is responsible? Is it an owner or the body corporate who is ultimately responsible for the repair and maintenance of windows on a strata building?

Truth is, the works involved with a window replacement is more involved than you may think. Whilst window frames are generally the Strata’s responsibility, (as it forms part of the external surfaces to the building) beyond this things get a bit grey. If it is deemed that replacement is needed and the strata will pay, there is still the issue of what caused the issues to the windows, what windows are required to meet sound, BASIX and strata by-law requirements and the cost of installation.

Estimating the Scale of a Construction Job

To avoid getting disappointed over the magnitude and scale of undertaking a renovation project or repair work, it is ideal that you create your own assessment and plan. You may want to consult an independent property inspector (often an engineer).

Start by listing all the small segments of tasks that comprise the entire work. Is there a need to break down a wall to get started or not? Does the work include transferring your HVAC pipes for the duration of work? Take note of all these to get an idea of the magnitude of your project.

Alongside this, write down the materials and other items that your builders will need as well as the equipment and machinery required to complete the project. Countercheck your notes with your contractor after presenting your plan with them to ensure that nothing is missed out. Ask if your new layout is compliant with Australian Standards. And finally, ensure the costings fits your budget.

If you are looking for a reliable partner for your building maintenance, upgrades, or repair requirements, consult our experts at Remedial Building Services. With our 50 years of experience in the industry, you can expect us to apply long-term solutions to your structural issues.