Boundary Walls

Preventing and Repairing Cracks in Boundary Walls

Damaged boundary walls around your property can spoil the whole look and feel of your property. Furthermore, cracked and leaning walls can also pose a danger to passers-by should the wall fall over.

boundary wall
This was a wall that was butt jointed against the neighbour’s wall. The danger here is that when the wall falls over portions of the wall will be spread over the pavement and possibly into the road. If a pedestrian is close by serious injury could result!

This article explains the correct way to repair boundary walls and install expansion joints!

Firstly, if your walls have ugly cracks and broken plasterwork and brickwork at the expansion joints do not plaster them up as shown in the photos below!

boundary wall
This expansion joint was chopped open and plastered up. The joint will crack at the joint again. This is a waste of time and money and will cause more problems than before!

Furthermore, the work done on these boundary walls will result in more cracking in the walls!

Many boundary walls and retaining walls may fail prematurely due to the lack of provision for movement. However, this is usually not a fault in the materials used, but usually a lack of proper design. Even when the design is correct, the construction of the boundary wall and expansion joints are often faulty.

What is an expansion joint?

It is a separation between two portions of the same structure. A butt joint in a boundary wall is not an expansion joint!

Expansion joints in boundary walls

When building a boundary wall, an expansion joint is a separation designed to relieve stress on building materials caused by movement induced by thermal expansion and contraction. They are therefore specifically provided in boundary walls to avoid cracks occurring in the wall.

Temperature changes and seasonal changes mostly cause the movement in the boundary walls. However, expansion joints also permit movement due to ground settlement, seismic events and expansive soils.

Continue reading “Boundary Walls”

Consumers and the Property Practitioners Bill

Has the Property Practitioners Bill missed the point?

consumers

Are consumers offered more protection?

Parliament passed the new Property Practitioners Bill on Tuesday 4th December 2018. This bill has been on the cards before 2011!

The Bill was supposed to finally provide buyers (consumers) more protection in the secondary housing market.

However, it appears the Minister of Human Settlements and his staff and the National Assembly totally missed the point!

Here is that portion of the Bill:

CHAPTER 10

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Mandatory disclosure form

  1. A property practitioner –
    1. may not accept a mandate unless the seller or lessor of the property has provided him or her with a fully completed and signed mandatory disclosure in the prescribed form; and
    2. must provide a copy of the completed mandatory disclosure form to a prospective purchaser or lessee who intends to make an offer for the purchase or lease of a property.
  2. The completed mandatory disclosure form signed by all relevant parties must be attached to any agreement for the sale or lease of a property and forms an integral part of that agreement, but if such a disclosure form was not completed, signed or attached, the agreement must be interpreted as if no defects or deficiencies of the property were disclosed to the purchaser.
  3. A property practitioner who fails to comply with subsection (1) may be held liable by an affected consumer.
  4. Nothing in this section prevents the Authority from taking action against a property practitioner or imposing an appropriate sanction.
  5. Nothing in this section prevents a consumer, for his or her own account, from undertaking a private property inspection to confirm the state of the property before finalising the transaction.

This is the protection this Bill offers to buyers (consumers) who buy properties from sellers.

So what has changed? Continue reading “Consumers and the Property Practitioners Bill”

Snag Inspection and Report

New Homeowners Should Have a Professional Snag Inspection

 

snag inspection

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Do you believe that you are protected by buying from a reputable developer or builder? Will you be able to identify all the snags without a professional snag inspection?

What buyers don’t realise is that other building contractors sub-contract to the developer or builder. Both the developer and builders are under pressure to complete the units or homes within a contractual timeframe. Often, the builders take shortcuts resulting in best building practices falling by the wayside.

In addition, most new homebuyers believe the NHBRC, bank and municipal building inspectors provide them with this sort of protection.

This is not the case!

Inspectors duties

Bank inspectors

Your bank inspector determines the market value of property, land, and improvements for the bank. Therefore, he is not concerned with the state of the property unless it affects the value of the property.

Municipal Building Inspectors

The municipal building inspector checks your building to ensure it complies with approved construction drawings, local bylaws and zoning regulations. In addition, he or she is also responsible for ensuring compliance with local and national building regulations.

Engineers

Structural engineers inspect and evaluate the structures of your home only. This is the foundations, slabs, walls and roof.  They are not concerned with the installations and finishes which make up more than half the value of your house.

NHBRC inspectors

NHBRC inspectors inspect all new homes to check that the builder is complying with the NHBRC requirements on site

The NHBRC Warranty Fund covers you against major and defined structural defects for up to five years. Enrolling your new home with the NHBRC is a statutory requirement. Theoretically, this affords you protection against contractors who deliver substandard design, workmanship and poor quality materials.

As a new homeowner, you have the right to instruct your developer or builder to rectify shoddy and defective work. This includes non-compliance or deviation from the terms, plans and specifications of your building agreement with him.

However, the required NHBRC inspections are seldom all done. Continue reading “Snag Inspection and Report”

A Smelly Shower

Smells in your shower

shower

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Often what happens in a shower, while the tiler is tiling the floor, is that excess tile adhesive and grout is washed down the shower drain. As a result, some of this grout may be lodged somewhere in the drainage system causing a blockage.

The following may have happened:

  • Either the trap or drainage pipes were damaged during an attempt to unblock the drain.
  • Grout is lodged in the trap and drain pipes.
  • The stub stack vent valve may be below the level of the highest plumbing fixtures on the drainage system in the bathroom.  As a result, the lowest fixture, such as the shower P-trap water seal may be syphoned out of the shower trap.

Of course, a combination of all three may occur as well. Unless the shower trap or drain pipes are damaged, you should be able to handle the cleanup yourself.

Mould in the P-trap

If your shower drain smells musty, you most likely have active mould growing underneath the drain cover. But, if your drain smells like rotten eggs or sewage, you’re either smelling bacteria from a clogged or dirty drain or sewer gases that have escaped from your drainage pipes.

As part of their metabolic process, active mould spores release a gas that has a distinct musty smell. In addition, the gas can be dangerous. If inhaled, it can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. Continue reading “A Smelly Shower”

100 things to do in South Africa

A very interesting and informative website

travel

I thought I would travel to a different topic for a change!

I suggest you have a close look at the website called Jen Reviews. Amongst other very interesting sections, it has a travel section with the “100 Best Things to do in South Africa“!

I have been to most of the entertaining and interesting things in South Africa. However, I now see that there are some that I have missed! Before I left for my trip, thankfully, I went through multiple reviews of various products, as doing that really helped me grab all the best essential products or the trip.

The Swartberg Pass, Ukhuthula in Brits, the daisies in the Namaqua National Park and Tswaing Soutpan Meteor Crater are a few that I still must visit. 

Have a look at Jen’s website. You will find places in that list that you will need to put on your bucket list!

There’s a lot more than just travel!

Continue reading “100 things to do in South Africa”