Environpest Timber Pest Dispute Reports
Environpest provide dispute reports in the timber pest field. We have a good working knowledge of construction practices, the relationship and properties of building materials, the habits of timber pests, legislative requirements, and an intimate knowledge of the Australian Standards in the termite issue. Mark Porter of Environpest is often engaged as an expert witness in the termite issue, in Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) and Supreme Court matters.
The central question to be asked in any termite dispute is: Can termites gain a hidden access to the building? That question cuts to the core of the issue. If termites can’t gain a hidden access to the home, then there is NO dispute. The termite barriers are functioning as intended.
If termites CAN gain a hidden access to the building, then the reason for the hidden access requires investigation. Is it an external slab laid by the builder compromising the termite barrier/weep hole level? (Builder’s responsibility) Is it soil added by the home owner compromising the termite barrier/weep hole level? (Owner’s responsibility) Is it that the termite barrier hasn’t been installed properly during construction? (Builder’s responsibility, but can result in a secondary claim by the builder against the termite barrier installer) Do bricks need to be removed to properly investigate how the termites have been able to gain hidden access? Is the cost of investigation too high, and the chances of successful claim too low, making retrospective treatment at the owners cost a more practical solution? These are some of the issues we examine in a termite dispute.
Dispute engagements come from home owners, builders, termite barrier installers, termite barrier manufacturers, insurers, and the Queensland Building & Construction Commission (in their earlier guise as the Building Services Authority). We are independent, and it’s important to remember that when we’re engaged as an expert witness, our duty is to assist the court or tribunal, which overrides any obligation to any party to the proceeding or any person who is liable for their fee or expenses. The expert’s role is to assist and advise the court or tribunal on issues in dispute within the expert’s area of expertise.
Termite dispute examples:
- Home owners having termites in their home, caused by the builder laying external slabs compromising the termite barrier.
- Builders issued “directions to rectify” by the Building Services Authority on poor technical advice.
- Builders seeking redress against termite barrier installers (and their insurers) where termite barriers weren’t installed properly.
- Termite barrier installers being taken to task by builders on poor technical advice.
- Patent disputes between termite barrier manufacturers.
The Queensland Building & Construction Commission (including in their earlier guise as the Building Services Authority) in termite disputes between home owners, builders, and termite barrier installers.
Dispute matters typically start with a site visit, with initial verbal advice. Written reports as required are generated at an additional hourly rate. If a claim is unlikely to succeed, we will tell you at that site meeting (or explain what additional advice is required), and guide you as to the best way to deal with the termite issues you face.
In practice, most of the disputes we’re involved in settle relatively early. We only ever advance claims we believe to be fair and reasonable.
If a dispute claim is likely to be successful and appropriate, we are typically engaged at an hourly rate to provide additional reports and strategies. That process can include site meetings with the other party, that can help bring about an early settlement of a claim (a much preferred option). If an early settlement can’t be reached, you must be guided by your legal representative in how best to proceed.
Environpest are not the cheapest timber pest inspection company you’ll find, (and we’re not the most expensive) but as you might have gathered browsing our web site, given what we provide in our inspections and advice, you’ll find we’re incredibly good value. The value of the honest advice you get here will be remembered long after you’ve forgotten the price!