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1 in 3 homes have serious safety hazards

13 September 2013 Reporter

A new survey by a home inspection company has revealed one out of every three homes has a serious safety hazard.

According to Jim's Building Inspections, the most common safety hazards are electrical.

“Whilst we always refer suspected electrical hazards on to a licensed electrician for further investigation, it is concerning that approximately 40 per cent of all safety hazards identified by our inspectors are electrical in nature,” said director of Jim's Building Inspections Suzanne Commerford .

Examples included substandard wiring and works, absence of safety switches and aged, degraded or damaged electrical wiring, fittings and fixtures.

“We commonly see poorly installed down lights in renovations and extensions that can be a potential fire hazard in roof spaces as well as older homes that simply have damaged and degraded wiring,” Ms Commerford said.

She added that while this could represent a significant potential expense to home owners, combined with the inconvenience of needing to re-wire the home, most importantly, it was a significant safety hazard to occupants.

Energy Safe Victoria, along with similar bodies interstate, advises home owners to have an electrical inspection in any home built before 1980.

According to Energy Safe Victoria, fire brigades respond to more than 300 domestic electrical fires each year. Many of these fires were caused by old wiring that had degraded or was unable to cope with the demands of modern electrical equipment including wide screen TVs, air conditioners and computers.

Contact with this type of aged and degraded wiring is fatal, with one man killed in 2010 after he touched an old split metal conduit while installing an aerial.

Director of Mitchell Property Management, Hayley Mitchell, said during an inspection property managers were responsible for visible signs, but issues such as the wiring in the walls were the responsibility of the owner.

“We’re not registered or licensed electricians or plumbers and I think sometimes property managers tend to get too involved in things they’re not experts in,” she told Residential Property Manager.

For example, if a property manager sees an old fuse box that is over 30 years' old and is missing safety switches, they need to report it to the landlord.

“Part of our routine inspection report actually says we are not qualified in these areas but if they want the property to be inspected by qualified people then we can organise that.”

1 in 3 homes have serious safety hazards
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