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40-50 old house not meeting building standards

Discussion in 'General Property Chat' started by markson, 21st May, 2016.

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  1. markson

    markson Well-Known Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    Inspecting a property that is 40-50 years old in Brisbane. Contract has already crashed once due to the B&P report, apparently they were first home buyers and have freaked out a bit.

    Anyway basically the stairs and small patio are not to code. Stair treads are less than 240mm in width which is not to code with todays building standards.

    Do you think this would be a deal breaker? Do things have to be changed to meet current building standards? I am sure the standards were different 50 years ago.

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  2. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    Are the stairs and balcony original or add ons? From reading that it has been add on at later date, if so the age of the house isn't an issue it's the add ons. You should check council specs of they needed approval or fall under the minimum area
    Also have you spoken to the b&p person, they'll give you real opinions over the phone
     
  3. norwoodman

    norwoodman Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much every house over 40 years old has something that doesn't comply with current building standards. Just because it doesn't comply doesn't mean that it is unsafe or that there's something majorly wrong.

    Stairs, handrails and treads are quite common things to be picked up.
     
    Hanison and wylie like this.
  4. SeafordSunshine

    SeafordSunshine Well-Known Member

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    Dear Markson, with a little extra homework , and some assistance from your local council, and your friendly insurance company, you may get some guidance as to what to 'actually' worry about in your building report.
    I know of a balcony which was rotten, original dimensions, (1888) they checked with local govt, and insurer and they were interested in keeping the large holes but they got around it by installing metal wire behind it to maintain the appearance,
    I hope this helps.
    Cheers
     
  5. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Two things: if the building was compliant at the time it was built I don't believe anything has to be done. However, if the stairs are actually unsafe due to rot etc, then of course it must be fixed. There have been some serious deck failures in the last few years.

    Pretty poor grammar in the report, it has to be said, and seems to be a bit of generic cutting and pasting.
     
  6. robboat

    robboat Well-Known Member

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    We have an old 1950's highset house rental in Qld that has a few "issues" with current standards.
    It was renovated in the late 80's to a high standard but this is still not to current standard.
    Of particular interest is the changing standards for handrails and stairs......wife thinks it changes with every reported incident or failure that makes the news!
    The advice we have been given (verbally) from council is that it needs to be raised to current standard when "major repairs" are required.

    Or - if it ain't broke - don't fix it....;)

    That said, I am planning a new deck in the next few years that will have current standards and thinking how to integrate upgrades to other parts of the house - e.g. new stairs and rails.
     
  7. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Our son's house had stairs that were reasonably new but "felt" wrong. The risers were not the right height. For a cost of $2k he had them replaced. For me it was a grey area. They were not original to the house and I suspect they'd been replaced in the past ten years or so (probably within the past five years by the look of them).

    It was a trip waiting to happen and for the sake of $2k to replace them, it was a no brainer. If a tenant or visitor tripped up the steps I didn't want my son to have to go through any stress of an insurance assessor posing questions, especially when they had been replaced quite recently and clearly were not to code.

    I'd be very careful with a verandah too. Legally you could be ok if it is not to code, but similarly, I'd rather avoid any problems by getting anything fixed or beefed up so that an accident isn't going to cause grief to the victim or to you.

    Whilst bringing a building up to code isn't necessary unless you are doing renovations, for something so obvious and dangerous as uneven step treads or very low railing height, I'd be upgrading now.
     
  8. markson

    markson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone.

    I let it pass as the insurance quote came back over $4k due to the bottom end of the street flooding. Easy call in the end.