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The most common FAQs about building a new home in WA

Published: May 27th, 2015

Building your new home in WA can be a process that you are not familiar with. Read below to find out the most common FAQs.

What are earthworks?

Most blocks have plants, weeds, small shrubs or lumps and bumps on the block, meaning it is not an ideal base for your home. The Earthworker will dig it all out, level it and add sand where required to compact the area around where your slab will be, to provide the best canvas on which your home will be built.

Why is there cracking in the slab?

Cracking of concrete slabs is a common occurrence and it is not necessarily a problem. A small degree of cracks in the slab are almost certain because concrete shrinks as it loses moisture, when temperatures change or when there is ground movement. While slab cracks can look unsightly, majority of the cracks do not affect the structural integrity of the slab.

If concrete is allowed to dry too quickly, it may cause shrinkage and cracking. Curing refers to the process in which the concrete is protected from loss of moisture and kept within a reasonable temperature range to alleviate cracks. Depending on the climate, slabs may be kept wet. There are also chemical compounds which can be sprayed on the slab surface to ensure adequate curing. However many concrete structures receive no curing other than being left idle for several days after the concrete has been placed.

Concrete slabs must be installed in accordance with Australian Standard AS 2870. Slab issues that most often arise in disputes between builders and owners relate to the size of cracks that may appear and the thickness of the concrete slab installed. In Western Australia the most common slab thickness is between 85mm and 100mm. This thickness will be stated in the specifications document which forms part of your contractual arrangements with the builder.

Most Perth building sites are flat and sandy so a 85mm slab would be sufficient for single storey residential construction.

If you have a long slab, perhaps greater than 20 metres in length, any savings from an 80-85mm slab will be offset by the requirement for further steel reinforcement. Steel reinforcement increases the tensile strength of concrete and controls the width of shrinkage cracks.

On some occasions cracking can be severe. If you are worried about your slab or the width or length of the cracks, you should contact your builder. A structural engineering report may be needed in extreme circumstances to determine what remedial work may be necessary.

What are weepholes?

Many homeowners first discover weep holes while observing the exterior brick work of their home. Builders get questions like these…Did the bricklayer forget to fill these holes in the bottom of my house? No, those holes are there for a reason.

Brick is in no way waterproof. As a matter of fact, because brick (and stone) is a porous material, it actually behaves much like a sponge. When it rains, the masonry wall absorbs a tremendous amount of water and stores it. The weep hole is designed for two purposes. 1. It provides an opening to allow water to drain out through the bottom of the wall. 2. It is intended to allow ventilating air to enter behind the wall to help dry the structure.

What is used to construct the roof frames?

Structural timber (treatment is required depending on the area you build in).

What is the extent of waterproofing we provide to wet areas?

Internal corners of shower, shower base and shower hob. With hobless showers we waterproof the entire floor.

Why are the eaves installed prior to Roof cover?

This is a fibre cement product that is a part of the Roof frame, therefore needs to be installed at this stage.

Why is Roof pointing not always completed at the same time as roof tile installation?

Supplier’s priority is to cover as many homes as possible and then they come back around and point. This is a method used in winter to allow as many homes as possible to achieve roof cover.

Why does it take 7-8 months to construct a home?

The time frame for constructing a home is industry based and depends on the number of homes in construction throughout the industry. This affects trade and supplier availability. This time frame includes waiting periods and for trades not being onsite each day or even each week.

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