There is some confusion among many of our clients who carry out Building, Timber Pest and Termite Inspections over getting into roof voids.
The Australian Standards require you to inspect and report on the conditions in the roof void from leaks to the condition of the timbers etc, the presence, or not, of Timber Pests and/or damage.
The only reason you can exclude the Roof Void Area from an inspection is if access is not able to be gained for reasons like:
- No access point in the ceiling
- No access because of stored goods in the roof (take a photo to protect yourself from a later claim and include this in your report)
- Air conditioning that prevents you getting into the void (again take a photo to protect yourself from a later claim and include this in your report)
Just because the ceiling has been insulated does NOT mean that you avoid inspecting the roof void.
If aluminium foil, blown-in insulation, or some other insulation material has been installed in such a manner that it completely covers the ceiling timbers so the tops of the ceiling timbers can't be seen then this may be a safety issue and may possibly allow you to avoid an inspection.
Aluminium insulation (Sisalation®) that has been laid over timbers may be live if staples have been used to pin it down. In all these cases take photos to prove that access was either not possible or dangerous. Record the reason in your report and include a photo or two when you advise that no inspection could be carried out and no report on the area can be given.
If there are insulation fibre batts, aluminium foil batts, or any other insulation material installed between the timbers so that the tops of the timbers can be seen then you MUST inspect the roof void unless there is some other reason that makes this not possible. Again take photos and put the fact and reason into your report.
Any non inspection of a roof void MUST be justifiable.
If a claim results from your failure to inspect the area and an industry expert tells the court that any reasonable professional inspector should have carried out the inspection in that area then you will be found liable for your failure in not fully inspecting and reporting in accordance with the Australian Standard.
The presence of insulation on the ceiling alone will NOT get you out of a claim if you missed a problem that would have been found had you carried out your inspection properly and professionally. Failing to inspect a roof void without a very good reason amounts to gross negligence as it is not in accordance with the Standard or Best Industry Practice.
Both the Australian Standards and Industry Best Practice require that you inspect roof voids. Same goes for subfloors if you can crawl through to inspect then you must or if you can't, take photos and report the fact that you could not provide a report in that particular inaccessible area.
Any questions or concerns please contact one of our Technical Support staff. Phone 1300 309 169 or email email@example.com.