Tips & Tricks

How to Cyberstalk a Queensland Property Like a Pro

This is our secret list of tips for how to cyberstalk a property in Queensland like a structural engineering professional.

This simply marvellous list of resources will help you find (just about) all you need to know about a (Queensland) property you own or are interested in buying.

Tips & Tricks

Urban Utilities Mapping Site

So Urban Utilities has finally come to the game and provided an online GIS (that stands for graphical information system) so that we humble mortals may identify the depth and diameter of their precious underground infrastructure (ie pipes).

Until now we’ve been using the free Dial Before You Dig website to identify what services are located on a property we are interested in, and a Dial Before You Dig is still an excellent tool for identifying whether buried infrastructure might affect your project. So probably run a DBYD first.

Now, if there are sewer pipes indicated in the DBYD (in the Brisbane area) then the next step is to head to the Urban Utilities GIS Website to get the details on the buried sewer pipes:

Urban Utilities GIS Page

Click on the Open GIS Maps link and away you go.

Click “I agree to the above terms and conditions.”

Type in an address in the search bar.

Click on a line (a sewer line) or a circle (a sewer access hatch) and you’ll be able to identify the depth and diameter of the Urban Utilities sewer infrastructure near you (so long as you are in an area serviced by Urban Utilities).

If your property is mid-way between two access hatches, you’ll need to interpolate the depth of the pipe between the two known invert levels because Urban Utilities does not give invert levels along pipelines – only at specific connection points and bends.

Tips & Tricks

Older Buildings Need Love Too

Time goes marching on. With the change of seasons and bringing in of new years, each passing day, month and year makes those older buildings of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s a year older too.

The trouble is most of those older buildings were designed and fashioned for an expected life of 50 years. What happens to those buildings as they move past their design life?

Tips & Tricks

Beware Underpinning Rip-off

I was staggered this week.

It was just unbelievable.

A client came to me for a second opinion about a quote to underpin his residential property in Queensland. The quote was from a local builder for 25 underpins to an approximate depth of 2.5m in order to ‘stabilise a single level house.

The quote was based on an engineer’s assessment. A geotechnical engineer had also attended and provided the results of a soil investigation. Both good signs.

So on the face of it, everything seemed legitimate. However, once I dug deeper the justification for spending so much money was very thin.

Very thin.

So very thin.

So how do you, as a homeowner, evaluate a quote for underpinning from a builder and determine if you’re likely to get value for money.

Let’s go through my independent assessment process together.

Tips & Tricks

Solving Drainage Problems for Houses on Sloping Blocks

Have you got a house on a sloping block with drainage problems?

The queries we get go something like this:

Hi. My house is on a sloping site (slopes from the back towards the front) and water gets in under our house when it rains. The ground under our house gets wet and then takes ages to dry out. Sometimes the water gets into the downstairs rumpus room, storeroom, laundry, garage slab (pick one or two!).

How can I stop water getting under my house? Should I use an ag pipe and or should I install a better drain?

Well, we have some ideas (and a video) that might just help.