Tips for homeowners

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Are you buying or building a house? The National Home Builders’ Registration Council (NHBRC) is at hand to give you tips on how to go about it. The NHBRC is a statutory body established to protect consumers’ interests and regulate the house-building industry.

Tips when occupying your house:

  • Inspect it carefully.
  • Draw up a list of all problems and defects (a snag list) and submit this to your builder within 90 days of the date of occupation. Keep a record of this correspondence.

Pay particular attention to:

  • All sanitary ware (ie taps, toilet fittings, etc); fireplace surrounds; wall tiles; and splashbacks.
  • Whether doors and windows open and close properly; and whether all services (electricity and water) are connected and in working condition.
  • Whether the extras you ordered have been provided.
  • Ensure you have keys to all the locks and that they work properly.
  • Make sure you have been shown where various stop valves and main electrical switches are located.

“Running in” your home:

  • Minimise problems from dampness and condensation by ventilating your home – for example, leave windows open as long as you can.
  • To minimise cracking, try to keep a reasonably even temperature because, as the building dries out, the evaporated moisture needs to be ventilated away.
  • Leave internal doors and cupboard doors open to encourage air circulation during the drying-out period.

Prevent condensation and moisture by:

  • Cooking with covered pots and pans, and not leaving the kettle boiling.
  • Avoiding using portable gas heaters, as these heaters create a great amount of water vapour when they burn. Also, hang clothes outside to dry, if you can.
  • Allowing steam to be released by opening windows. A closed room in which steam and damp are trapped will get mould, irrespective of ventilation.
  • Looking out for efflorescence, which is a white deposit on inside walls, caused by natural salts coming out of the wall. If deposits continue, it might indicate a water leak, in which case you should contact your builder.

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