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Changes to AS 3660.1 relating to termite management for pre-construction from 1 May 2017

This article was provided by AEPMA.

The AS3660 suite of Standards were reviewed and updated in 2014. There has been a transition period from the previous Standards to the New Standards, which will end on 30 April 2017.

What does this mean?
This means that as of 1 May 2017 you will be required to comply with the new version of AS3660.1 (AS3660.1:2014 Termite management, Part 1: New building work).

For example, in pre-construction, the NCC 2016 Building Code of Australia - Volume Two is the parent document and calls up the Australian Standard as a minimum for Termite Management (as per Part 3.1.3 - Volume Two Termite Risk Management).

The NCC (National Construction Code), AS3660.1 and 3660.3 must be read in conjunction.

In AS3660.1:2000, Section 8 addressed Chemical treatments. This is now under Section 7 of AS3660.1 2014. (Ensure your builder is quoting the relevant section of AS3660.1:2014 when they are making submissions for Council approval).

Questions have arisen around Section 7 of AS3660.1:2014, the main area of contention is the definition of concealed and inaccessible areas. In practical terms, if an area cannot be easily re-treated, it is concealed and inaccessible.

AEPMA's interpretation of Concealed and Inaccessible Areas
Concealed and inaccessible areas are any section of a structure that are not accessible for visual inspection, or application of a termite management treatment, without the treatment being invasive. i.e. requiring the removal of fixed sections, or drilling through substrates in order to re-apply products or system components.

Other issues include:
Subfloor voids and undercroft areas that in general terms have a working height of 400 mm or more, would be easy to enter to re-apply a protection system; so only if the working height is less than 400 mm will an additional method of installation be required.

In relation to pavers on sand, these could be lifted and a treatment applied, however if they are on concrete, they would require a different approach.

In some parts of Australia, it is common practice not to tie the slab to the footings, therefore an entry point exists in the cavity as the slab is not classed as being monolithic. In this instance, further protection would be required.

If a concrete slab is used as a component of a system, it in itself will not provide a complete termite management system. Depending on the construction methods and site conditions, additional requirements will be necessary for service penetrations through the concrete slab. Each of these are "components" which, when integrated, will form a "full termite management system".

AEPMA's concern is not about broader building practises, and whether a builder will construct the building to the correct Code or Specification, or if a certifier will accept something less than the Australian Standard. AS3660.1:2014 Termite management, Part 1: New building work; which is a published document that provides a range of options for termite management that can be implemented during the construction of buildings and needs to be followed. Further information and clarification can be obtained from your termite management systems' manufacturers or product resellers.

In addition to this, AEPMA is in the process of finalising a Code of Practice in Pre-Construction that will be released shortly.