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Warning about ceiling collapses

THE Building Commission has developed a fact sheet for residents who have safety concerns about their plasterboard ceilings to help them notice and understand the warning signs of a ceiling under stress or failing.

The fact sheet was developed after the commission became aware of a number of ceiling collapses, particularly in homes completed between the 2005 and 2009.

Building commissioner Peter Gow said the Building Commission had inspected seven homes completed in about the past 10 years where ceiling failures had been reported.

Homes in Aveley, High Wycombe and Wattle Grove have been affected.

Mr Gow said it was found the positioning and amount of adhesive applied to the timber ceiling joists were the cause of the problem at five of the seven sites inspected.

He said there were generally warning signs a ceiling was under stress or failing and it was at this time owners needed to be proactive and arrange inspection and repair of the affected areas.

“Causes of ceiling collapse may include incorrect access and use of the roof space, the use of inappropriate materials or poor workmanship,’’ he said.

Warning signs of a ceiling under stress may include a loud cracking sound in the ceiling, a sagging or dropping of the plasterboard sheeting and/or the cornice and visual cracking and/or small circles or blisters (nail pops) on the ceiling, which are a sign the plasterboard sheeting may be pulling away from the nails or screws.

“Home owners who are concerned about their ceiling should talk to their builder in the first instance.

“If the home owner does not get a satisfactory response from the builder, they should consider engaging the services of a qualified building inspector to identify the nature and extent of any problems.

“If after writing to the builder the home owner cannot resolve the issue, and the home was completed in the past six years, the home owner can lodge a building service complaint with the Building Commission.’’

He said since the plastering industry adopted the one third system of fixing ceiling linings around 2007-08, the incidence of failure had been significantly reduced.

“The Building Commission is working with the building industry to ensure trades involved in the installation of ceilings are aware of the applicable building standards.’’

For more information visit http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission


About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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