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.