Structure Lines and Level
The exterior inspection of the dwelling starts with an overview from the front of the property (or preferably from across the road) to sight the lines of the building for any signs of unevenness, bowing or sagging in the walls or roof. Stumped houses in particular need to be sighted for level, as settling of the stumps is quite common and will transfer to the other areas of the building, affecting wall and roof lines.
Stormwater Drainage and Water Damage
The area around the base of the building is checked for signs of inadequate drainage, seepage and ponding water. The roof water downpipes and stormwater connections are checked for damage and leaks. The number of roof water downpipes and the distance between them should be checked. It is common for older buildings to not have enough downpipes, which causes the guttering to overflow to the base of the building. Typically it is leaks and water that play the major role in building degradation. In most cases, water ponding at the base of the building will destabilise the foundation earth supporting the structure.
Brickwork and Stumps
With slab on ground brick veneer homes, particular attention is paid to the brickwork. Whilst in most cases the brickwork on a modern home is not structural and is no more than a cladding, it is a very good indicator of building movement. Gaps can open up between the brickwork and window or door frames. Brick and/or mortar can develop cracks as the concrete slab floor subsides or heaves. Gaps between the soffits and brickwork can also develop with significant movement.
The concrete stumps of a stumped building should be checked for movement, damp or cracking. Concrete stumps have steel reinforcing bards within them, which will corrode and blow out (concrete cancer) if the stumps are subjected to poor drainage and damp conditions. Timber stumps are checked for termite damage and decay.