Bank managers dream home

7 Steps For Cost Effective Building

 Checklist for cost effective building OK so you’re going to build.  first, you really need to get your head around how you use your current home.  The following steps will assist in reaching a design which fits you and your life, without being too big or too expensive. These steps are aimed at getting your head around building better, not bigger. These steps are not intended to be a substitute for spending 5 years studying for a degree in Architecture. But, after reading these points you will be fully […]

Ripe for a remodel?

Renovation: Should You Extend or Remodel?

“Should I remodel, or should I extend?”  What is more cost effective? While the answers will vary greatly according to your current home, its location and how you live in your home, there is a simple process for analysing your home to get the best outcome for your money. Do you need more space, or do you really need more quality?  Why go to the expense and effort to add a room when removing one wall will improve how your house works as a home? Will slapping on […]

Dry Rot

Deck Envy?

Now I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about the weather for a bit. Don’t worry, I’ll get to your deck very soon. We’re coming to the end of the warm dry weather and moving into the wetter seasons. Now is the ideal time to inspect your exterior timbers, and address any issues before the wet weather arrives. Painted surfaces take a beating from the sun especially in summer.  Any small cracks that have developed in the heat can allow water to access unprotected timber. Ultimately this leads to rot, water […]


How to Prevent Painting Problems

Health hazards with painting. Last week we talked about some of the finer points of painting and how to make it ‘go good’.  This week we talk about something similar: ‘how to stop it going bad’, specifically with respect to the health hazards of painting.   1. Dust Sanding before painting, and between coats, produces a fine dust. God only knows what is in the old paint you just sanded back, so don’t breathe it in. Wear a respirator and go outside if possible. A specific problem, lead, is covered […]


7 Tips to Paint Like a Pro

Painting is probably the most popular renovation task. Why? It doesn’t need a lot of tools, its effects are immediate, and for not too much money you can totally change the mood and feel of a room.  Here’s a few tips to help make your painting easier, improve the quality of the work and make your results more professional. 1  PPPPP The 5 P’s. Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Good preparation is the biggest step in getting a great job. You don’t want your work being ruined after […]

The worst Christmas present ever

Renovations to Die From

Summer is the perfect time for doing renovations around the house. Who doesn’t like renovating? Doing renovations is a good thing: they make your home more ‘you’, they can increase usability, value and enjoyment of your home.

However, no-one wants to die from a renovation, so bear in mind the hidden dangers of Asbestos.

Asbestos was used everywhere from the 1940’s till 1984, when production was banned in Australia. However, existing supplies of asbestos containing materials (ACM) were still sold into the late 1980’s. Asbestos was used in over 3000 known products in Australia, most in the building industry. It was often mixed with glue or cement. Let’s be honest, those of us who used these products liked them; they were cheap, durable, didn’t rot or burn, didn’t conduct heat or electricity well, water resistant….

The problem is: there is NO SAFE LEVEL of exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos can cause a number of cancers and lung diseases, some of which may not develop for 15 – 40 years after exposure! Most of these illnesses cannot be treated and are fatal. Thousands of Australians have died from asbestos related illnesses. In fact Mesothelioma, only one of the cancers caused by asbestos,  has killed about 10 times more Australians than have been killed in all wars since 1950.

If your house was built or renovated between 1950 and 1990, it probably contains some asbestos somewhere.

Really, Whoever thought this looked good?

Beautiful Brick Board! Now with Added Asbestos!

Are you’re feeling a little worried by now? You should be. This is serious. I’ll let you know in another 20 years if I’ve escaped or not.

So what can you do?

Well the first thing to do is work out if it is asbestos or not.

WorkSafe Victoria and Asbestos Free Tasmania have a great interactive tool and a booklet respectively to help identifying areas around the home which may contain asbestos. Asbestos Awareness is also a great resource for renovators and homeowners, with lots of information and fact sheets,

If you think you may have asbestos in your home, the important thing is: Don’t touch it.

I mean: don’t cut it, don’t break it, don’t sand it, don’t scrub it, don’t drop it, don’t crumble it up into your mother-in-law’s omelette. Don’t touch it.

Really: Leave. It. Alone.

Call a licenced specialist to have a look. You can find a list here. Some will have a look for free, in the hope they will get the job to remove any asbestos they find. However, the only sure way to tell if a product contains asbestos is with laboratory testing.  This means taking a sample and sending to a lab. The warning above still stands. Don’t do it yourself. Pay someone to do it.

If it is asbestos, it’s not the end of the world.  Asbestos can be managed and removed safely. However, like brain surgery and prostate exams, you’re probably better off not doing it yourself: leave it to the professionals. You know you should.

Stable, sealed or painted asbestos can be quite harmless as long as you don’t disturb it.

Just don’t ignore it. It doesn’t go away.

Wind damage waiting to happen

Wind Damage in Hobart!

Were you kept awake last night by the wind?  If you heard any banging last night that was the sound of opportunity knocking.  Possibly the last opportunity to prevent wind damage such as something breaking and/or blowing away. Actually, most gusts were only around the 40-50 kph mark.  This provides a timely warning that autumn is on the way. Autumn, and spring, in southern Tasmania usually brings gusts of around  100 kph. This regularly results in wind damage to roofs. All of you lucky people in southern Tasmania who have a public holiday today, […]


We’ve gone commercial!

We’ve gone commercial!  Not bland, cheap and cheesy commercial! We have expanded our services to offer commercial property specific inspections. Commercial Property Condition Assessments (PCA’s) are similar in some ways to residential inspections.  Like residential inspections, they produce a pre-purchase or pre-lease report. However, they are commercial property specific and have a broader focus.  They also comply with a different standard, specifically for commercial properties. PCA reports present a baseline condition of the property.  They also include probable cost estimates for addressing issues. This enables purchasers, investors and lessees to assess ongoing […]


When Trees Rampage!

  It’s nice to have trees around our homes. A tree can add many things to houses; shade, character, birds and somewhere for the kids to play. But what happens when the trees rise from centuries of servitude, and come looking for revenge? Some trees are spiteful buggers and can damage our homes in a number of ways. They can fall on your home. Less damaging than an aeroplane, more damaging than rain. They can drop leaves into gutters, catch fire and burn your home to ashes. They can tear your […]


8 Reasons to Hate Ivy

They (now) say a person’s home is their castle. And what castle is complete without a lovely ivy covered wall or two? Ivy is a plant which has a lot of things going for it; it is quick growing, looks great, and makes a very effective screen or ground cover. I both love and hate ivy. I love the romance it adds, particularly to large stone buildings; I hate the damage it does, and will never have it growing where I live. Ivy is a better climber than […]