Builders are often left to choose which type of termite barrier or management system to apply or install on their projects. Most architects and client specifications are open ended just requiring compliance with the industry and Australian Standard AS3660.
This article gives Builders, Owner Builders and Home Renovators some advice about the options and pros and cons of each type of termite barrier and management system.
Termite Barrier or Termite Management System
The terminology termite barrier has been in frequent and common use across the industry however in the past few years this has begun to change.
The change accurately reflects that the application of a chemical or even installation of a physical termite barrier in and of itself is not a guarantee against termite activity occurring in the future.
Each termite barrier whether physical or chemical, requires management or ongoing attention to be effective, hence the termite management system.
Termite management systems require maintenance
The main issue is that once the applied or installed the home owner or even the builder may go on to do other works to the exterior of the property like decking, driveways, footpaths and landscaping which may compromise the effectiveness of the barrier they just installed.
Furthermore regular maintenance is often required if the client has installed a reticulation system which is like a slow release irrigation with chemical volume diminishing over time, it needs to be topped up. Chemical sprays around the exterior of the home need to be reapplied every few years.
Most importantly the client must maintain annual inspections of the property for the warranty to be maintained.
How do you choose a termite management system?
The main components to consider are:
- Client Preference – is the client price sensitive or do they want a chemical free home?
- Construction Method – is the house built on a slab, does it have a basement or is it built on stumps?
- Price – is the house being built as an investment where your intention is to maximise profit? Or are you seeking a termite management system of the greatest efficacy irrespective of cost because you plan to retain the home into the long term?
- Geographical Location – in some local government areas of Victoria it is mandatory to have a termite barrier, you won’t get a Certificate of Occupancy without one. In other locations – weirdly without any actual correlation to whether there is termite activity in that area – a barrier is not required and therefore only an act of best practice or client preference.
So what are the options?
- Chemical sprays
- Chemical reticulation systems
- Integrated chemical and physical barriers
- Physical, non-chemical barriers
- Construction methods and designs which create an effective termite management system
How are termite management systems installed?
Termite Management Systems will generally always have two steps or stages. That is the licensed pest controller will need to attend the construction site at least twice.
|Chemical||Biflex||Cheaper to apply
|Will deteriorate in the soil over time
Needs to be reapplied at regular intervals depending on the product allow at most every 5 years though you may get 8-10 out of some products
Ensure soil around the perimeter of the house is not disturbed.
Retreat if new soil or landscaping material is bought onto site and existing is disturbed
|Chemical reticulation system||Same products but distributed via a Reticulation or Irrigation system buried just below the surface of the soil||Less likely to be disturbed
Constant slow release of product
Can be easily topped up at a central point without needed to do anything to the rest of the house perimeter
|A bit more expensive to install initially in terms of material and labour costs
If damaged unknowingly then the chemical could just leak into the soil in one location
Regular top up of chemical is required, dependent on the system, allow every 2 years.
|Integrated chemical and physical barriers||Homeguard||Combine the best parts of physical and chemical barriers
Dual action creates twice the barrier and deterrent
Chemical is contained and not left in the soil, no one every usually comes back into contact with it
Out of the weather so will last longer
|More expensive initially to install
Not easily replaced or replenished when you get past 10-15years.
The chemical will eventually deteriorate over time 10+ years although there is a probability that they will continue to have some level of efficacy beyond that ten years.
|Physical barriers||Granitgard||No chemical at all||No chemical at all
Won’t stop or repel termites, just pushes there attempts to get in out into the open.
|Requires intensive monitoring as a physical barrier is designed only to prevent concealed entry, it will push attempted termite ingress out into the open but you still have to be regularly looking for it and then treating it when it occurs.|
If you would like us to assist you in your the termite management process, simply go to the contact section of our website. Here you can upload your building plans and we will give you a quote on different barrier types.