Spontaneous Plasterboard Ceiling Failures
2017 again saw reports of several ceiling collapses in metro Perth areas, these ceiling collapses were often spontaneous, collapsing without any warning sending plasterboard sheeting, cornicing and roof insulation crashing to the floor.
The materials combined weight often exceed serval hundred kilos, they, with the falling air conditioning ducting, duct vents and electrical cables are a dangerous hazard with the potential of causing fatal injuries. Falling electrical cables may also be damaged exposing live conductors producing further hidden hazards and possible electrical shock.
Homes built during the boom times particularly between 2005- 2009 have been the subject of a Building Commission Report*, they highlight the cause of the failures may have resulted from several contributing factors, the one constant factor in all cases was noted to be poor application of adhesive.
The homes we live in need constant maintenance and repair, they also need a vigilant eye to ensure unsuspecting dangers are not accumulating in the home. Regular checks around the home will ensure it remains in a safe serviceable condition.
Many checks can be done by the home owner, the occupier, the property manager and most importantly by someone suitably qualified to carry out building inspections. These qualified inspectors will have a sound building knowledge along with many years’ experience in the residential building industry, this experience will enable the inspector to identify any significant defects to the ceilings, and of any other significant building issues around the home.
1. Check ceiling condition including alfresco/patio regularly, look for signs of sagging and wave action across the ceiling ( ), nail popping (showing of nail fixings pulling through the ceiling board), or placing a straight edge across the ceiling to identify any sagging or unevenness.
2. Use the services of a suitably qualified Building Inspector to check the ceilings and provide assurances to the current condition of ceilings in the home.
3. Ceiling condition can also be checked from within the roof void. We recommend you engage a suitably qualified person to carry out this activity, we do not recommend the normal lay-person to access the roof void as space is often limited, air conditioning and other obstacles prevent easy passage, ceiling boards and metal ceiling battens are not designed to take a person’s weight, roof void insulation often restricts vision of the ceiling joists and extreme care is needed when moving through these spaces.
4. If you are entering the roof void then ALWAYS isolate all electrical services before entering to prevent possible contact with live wiring. Correct procedure for isolating the supplies and lock-out notification displayed at the isolation point should be carried out.
5. Buying a new home? Engage a suitably qualified building inspector (Registered Builder – current registration checked at https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission/find-registered-builder ) and instruct them to check for any defects and report on the ceilings condition. Checking ceilings is outside the REIWA building inspection clause and outside the definition of a structural defect so consider if you need to have the property inspected prior to submitting an offer.
If any doubt exists as to the condition of the ceilings in your home then having them inspected by a suitably qualified Building Inspector is strongly advised, remember when engaging the inspector confirming the building inspector’s credentials needs to be a priority.
How To Choose A Building Inspector;
10 Tips To Choosing An Inspector
Information On Building Inspections;