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We're looking to purchase a block of units in North Brisbane QLD. The building looks like a weatherboard house from the outside but is zoned as units and contains 4 units. The building needs some TLC (plumbing relocations/deck reconstructions) and I'm now worried the reason nothing has been done is because it would trigger council requirements to 'fireproof' it also. Between the units is timber VJ/asbestos or Masonite, timber floorboards. Timber VJ/T&G ceilings and no separation in the ceiling space. It is also built on the boundary, the neighbours' driveway separates it with the neighbours' house. I'm worried once we start fixing the place we will need to fix more than expected in term of meeting fire requirements. I was hoping to get some more information on if this would be required (there are a lot of these types of building in Brisbane so maybe they have relaxations or exemptions?) Or how hard/expensive would it be to rectify?

Woodsolutions Answer

It is likely that applying for Council approval to carry out significant building work would trigger a requirement to bring the units up to current standards regarding the fire isolation of each unit. Presumably current sound insulation requirements would also apply. Our Technical Guides on multi-residential construction will give you an idea of today's techniques. The Guides can be downloaded from our website via this link https://www.woodsolutions.com.au/publications. However, we cannot speak for the Council or give a definite answer as to what they might require. It would be advisable to talk to a Building Surveyor in the area before making a purchase.

Answered on :
Please note that our answer is based on the best advice available at the time. If the National Construction Code, Australian Standards or local requirements have been subsequently amended, our answer may no longer be correct in all details. For more information, please read our disclaimer.
Question

We are working with a client who has cut down a number of old trees on the property that were deemed unsafe. They are beautiful native Australian hardwoods of a variety of species. We would like to use some of the trunks and milled beams from this timber as posts and beams for a small amenities building. The maximum span for the timber beams will be 3.2m with a 1.2m wide roof load consisting of 100mm structural insulated panels. Do you know anyone in southeast Queensland that could structurally grade this hardwood that we would like to use for the structure?

Woodsolutions Answer

We suggest you contact Colin MacKenzie at MacKenzie Consulting. You can visit his website via this link https://timberexpert.com.au/services/expert-support, or contact Colin by email at colin@timberexpert.com.au. If Colin is unable to assist it is likely he could recommend someone in the locality. It will be necessary to know the species of timber, since different species have different strength properties. 

Answered on :
Please note that our answer is based on the best advice available at the time. If the National Construction Code, Australian Standards or local requirements have been subsequently amended, our answer may no longer be correct in all details. For more information, please read our disclaimer.
Question

Situation: Hardwood Flooring to be applied to new concrete slab. We have specified; Concrete slab - waterproof sealant - leveling compound - plywood - Glue fix hardwood flooring to plywood. Builder would like to; Concrete Slab - Waterproofing - screw fix battens- glue and secret fix hardwood flooring. Our concern is that the second method does not provide an effective moisture barrier between the slab and the hardwood flooring and will result in swelling and bowing of the timber flooring. In addition, the screw fixing of the batten will warrant the waterproofing. Can we please have some advice on this? The project is currently under construction so a timely response would be greatly appreciated.

Woodsolutions Answer

The installation of flooring over a concrete slab is covered in our Technical Design Guide #09 which can be downloaded from our website via this link https://www.woodsolutions.com.au/publications. If the moisture barrier on top of the slab is a polyethylene ('plastic') membrane, fixings will generally not compromise its effect since the membrane will be gripped tightly around the fastener at the point of penetration. However, there is a risk of the membrane tearing during installation of battens. The risk of tearing is less likely with the plywood system but the fasteners used to attach the plywood to the concrete will also penetrate a polyethylene membrane. These issues are avoided if the moisture barrier on top of the slab is an epoxy coating. Note the recommendation in our Guide (p. 47) that before timber flooring is installed Generally, the slab will need to have cured for a period of at least three months after the roof and walls are in place and the building is enclosed.

Answered on :
Please note that our answer is based on the best advice available at the time. If the National Construction Code, Australian Standards or local requirements have been subsequently amended, our answer may no longer be correct in all details. For more information, please read our disclaimer.
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