The day you decide that you’re going to build your dream home or structure, you might not be aware of all the regulations involved or the lack of enforcing them correctly.
The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act (Act 103 of 1977) forms the basis of how buildings in South Africa should be constructed. This legislation became enforceable as law in 1985 and was published by the SABS as part of the Code of Practice for the application of the National Building Regulations, currently known as SANS (South African National Standard) 10400.
The SANS 10400 standard refers to a section called “Soil Poisoning”, also known as subterranean termite control in buildings. This section states that it is necessary to protect your new building or structure if it is located in a high infestated termite area or if the local authority requires such a treatment.
Most coastal areas, such as the West Coast, do fall within the high risk areas for subterranean termites, making it a crucial factor to consider when building a new structure. It is therefore, the co-responsibility of the homeowner, architect and building contractor to familiarise themselves with the bylaws of the local municipality and ensure that such treatments are performed by a reputable pest control company. The relevant pest control company must also adhere to the correct regulations, namely SANS 10124; “The application of soil insecticides for the protection of buildings”. This pre-construction termite treatment requires a specialised qualification by the registered pest control operator.
Many building contractors attempt to conduct soil poisoning themselves – just to be able to say it was done – without the relevant knowledge or training. These contractors often use incorrect pesticides and methods, while other building contractors see pre-construction termite treatment as non-essential. It’s also possible that building inspectors are not aware of the bylaws for soil poisoning and do not enforce them at all.
There are many ways to perform pre-construction termite treatment, but the only correct method is prescribed in SANS 10124 documentation. Yes, there are fly-by-night pest control companies that will perform this treatment at a fraction of the cost charged by a professional pest control company. In these cases, the remedy is sometimes diluted down to get the coverage, or the application does not cover the entire area as stipulated in the regulation. Not all remedies are prescribed for soil poisoning and it is the homeowner’s or building contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the treatment performed by the pest control company is in accordance with the regulation, using the correct remedies. It is also very important that you receive a warranty for the work completed.
Most building contractors and homeowners are not aware of the damages that subterranean termites can cause. Neglecting to perform pre-construction termite treatment when a house or office structure is built could result in excessive costs later on. Termites can cause cracked/sagging floors, cracks in the walls, trusses being destroyed, water leaks, electrical failures and even electrical fires as these pests strip the insulation from the electrical wires. The solution for an infestation of subterranean termites in an existing structure is to perform a drill and inject method – a relatively simple, but costly exercise.
Prevention is better than cure and therefore, a proper pre-construction termite treatment is the superior solution for peace of mind.
Written by Johan Reynecke
Pest Control Specialists West Coast