A1.1 Functioning Safety switches
- show residents and community housing staff how to check that electrical safety switches are working properly and encourage regular checks; for example, check every three months as part of a community maintenance program
- trade test electrical safety switches and have a licensed electrician fix or replace faulty switches. Ensure electricians lodge a ‘notice of work’ when upgrading electrical safety switches.
A1.2 Electrical earth connection
- there is no damage or danger to the earth stake or the connecting wires from vehicles, lawn mowers or weed trimmers
- the earth stake is in moist ground
- if the earth stake is galvanised, have an electrician replace it with a copper earth stake
- the label giving the position of the earth stake is located in the meter box and it is easy to read
- the top of the earth stake is painted silver, making it easy to find
- housing managers should explain to residents the function of the earth stake and the visual inspection process and encourage them to carry out regular checks.
A1.3 Cabling and wiring
- check that the power points are safe, using a power point tester (available from electrical and major hardware stores)
- check that all lights, switches, fans and other fittings are operating, have no exposed wiring and are not cracked or loose
- install or replace door stops to avoid wall damage and mice entry
- as a high priority, patch holes in walls and ceilings where cabling is exposed.
- where houses are exposed to high levels of known household pests (mice plagues, ants etc), engage an electrician to regularly load test houses to ensure that electrical cables and fittings are safe.
- always use a licensed electrician to carry out electrical maintenance work, and to install electrical equipment such as lights, power points, switches, stoves, hot water systems and electrical pumps.
- where stoves, hot water systems and electrical pumps are not hard wired, (a cable from the appliance to the switchboard without a plug and socket), these appliances may not require an electrician to carry out replacement.
A1.4 Power points, lights and other fittings
- power points, switches and other fittings are sealed and secured to the wall, particularly corrugated walls
- all switches are working properly, are not cracked and have not been pushed into the fitting
- power points and light switches for fine cracks, because these can increase the risk of electrical shock
- after upgrading or renovation, power points and light switches have not been painted over.
- arrange for an electrician to replace power points, switches, lights and other fittings that are broken, are cracked, unsealed, or have been painted over.
- if replacing standard power points, consider weather protected power points in wet areas and external areas.
- if cleaning the house with water and/or chlorine based products, protect electrical fittings from getting wet. Chlorine based products contain ‘salts’ that continue to attract water to areas where the products have been applied and therefore are particularly hazardous near electrical switches and power points.
- if replacing incandescent globes, consider compact fluorescent lamps, or replacing the whole light fitting with a fluorescent or LED fitting. Before doing this, make sure the new lamps are available at a nearby store.
A2.1 Gas Safety
- the gas system compliance plate is fitted and is current
- safety instructions or warnings for the use of gas appliances are located on or near appliances
- there are no gas leaks, by putting soapy water on the gas pipes and connections and looking for bubbles
- residents are advised not to leave the valve on the gas bottle fully open to prevent the valve sticking and being hard to turn off in an emergency
- residents and housing managers have been provided with information on the operation, maintenance and checking of gas appliances.
- gas regulators, pipes and bottles are securely fixed
- gas stoves, hot water systems and heaters are in good condition and functioning safely.
A3.1 Fire prevention
- replace faulty light globes or tubes
- check all gas fittings for leaks
- clean flues of wood heaters and chimneys
- check for signs of household pests (as these may damage wiring and create a fire hazard) and, if necessary provide a pest management program.
A3.2 Fire and smoke detection
- smoke alarms are working by pressing the test button
- smoke alarms are vacuumed clean every 6 months to remove dust, insects and other pollutants by the resident or local maintenance team
- the 9 volt disposable battery in each smoke alarm unit, (that acts as a back up if the mains power is disconnected for a brief period), is replaced every 12 months by the resident or local maintenance team
- smoke alarms are installed in older houses
- before winter, that the wood heater flue is clean and door seals do not have smoke leaks
- exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens are operating and filters are cleaned by the resident or local maintenance team
- residents and housing managers have information on the operation, maintenance, checking and disabling of smoke alarms.
A3.3 Escape in the event of fire
- test that release catches and locks on security screens are working to allow escape in the event of a fire
- check that all doors including security screen doors have locks that can be opened from the inside to allow escape in the event of a fire
- all catches, latches and locks to be lubricated and eased by carpenter or local maintenance team
- if pad bolts or barrel bolts have been fitted to the outside of bedroom doors, talk to the residents about removing them for fire safety.
A4.1 Structural safety
- check regularly for rust, rot, termites and other signs of structural deterioration
- fix water leaks including down pipes and sub-surface stormwater pipes to reduce water damage and mosit ground that encourages termites
- check garden beds, timber floors and ramps for termites
- if garden beds have been planted against walls, talk to residents about removing them to make it easier to check for termites
- consider organising a regular program of termite inspections and treatments by a qualified pest controller
- in tropical areas or areas close to the coast, check for corrosion of steelwork and re-apply paints and other protective coatings.
- inspect, tighten, replace or install structural tie-downs between roof, wall and floor
- if the roof is nailed on, replace the nails with screws and cyclone washers and have a qualified engineer check that the structure of the roof is in good condition before replacing the roof sheeting.
- if upgrading or repairing a house with severe structural failures, the residents should be relocated to another house and a qualified engineer should be consulted.
B1.1 Wet area design
- maintain and repair bathroom, shower and toilet windows, doors and locks to provide privacy
- repair or replace broken or missing hooks, towel rails, grab rails and shelves in bathrooms
- replace standard power points with weather protected power points in wet areas (showers, laundries, toilets)
- patch or repair holes in floors, ceiling linings and finishes in wet areas (showers, laundries, toilets)
B1.2 Hot water
- check that the kitchen tap point delivers hot water at 60ºC and that all taps requiring tempered hot water deliver water to a maximum temperature of 50ºC.
- check that all pressure relief and isolating valves are functioning and arrange for a plumber to replace if required
- check and re-fill the heat exchange fluid in solar hot water systems
- check and repair lagging on all hot water pipes
- replace the tap washers, as leaking hot water taps reduce the hot water available to residents and increase the household's energy bill.
- the condition of the sacrificial anode and electric element and replace if required
- the main hot water storage cylinder for corrosion or build up of mineral salts
- the hot water system thermostat is set at 60°C
- the condition of collector panels and the heat exchange fluid in solar hot water systems
- the condition of collector panels or air filter pads of heat pump systems, and that the system is filled with refrigerant gas.
B1.3 Water outlets, valves & taps
- check for leaks in all taps and spouts, including yard taps
- consider replacing all tap washers regularly to prevent leaks and reduce wear to the tap seat.
- when upgrading houses, select new taps to suit local water quality and consider standardising taps in all houses for easy maintenance
- when upgrading houses locate laundry taps at the side of the tub, using capstan or lever handle tap sets with a single outlet
B1.4 Washing young children ― hand basins, bathtubs, and laundry tubs
- the hot and cold taps and drainage are all working
- the fixtures and fittings are secure
- there is a plug at the bath tub, hand basin and laundry tub
- the waterproofing is intact and there is no sign of mould or water penetration in the surrounding walls
- there is no water damage to surrounding benches and cupboards.
- hot (temperature more than 45°C) and cold water is available at reasonable pressure for washing
- the drains are working as tested by draining at least 5 minutes of running water
- there is a good flow of water from water saving shower roses and flow limiting devices, especially for locations with poor water quality
- tap handles are secure, can easily be turned on and off, and are not leaking at any point.
B1.6 Wet area floor drainage (bathroom, shower, toilet and laundry)
- test all drains are working and that water is not pooling in wet areas.
B1.7 Turning the water off to allow plumbing maintenance
- check the water isolation valve can be turned off and on and turn jumper or gate valves fully off, then fully on, and then back one turn
- when the isolation valve is turned off, all water to the house stops flowing
- read the house water meter and record water use and if a house has a high meter reading, ask the plumber to check for leaks.
B2.1 Laundry design
- the taps for the washing machine and laundry tub are working and not leaking, replace washers if the taps are dripping, check the washing machine taps are not left in the fully open position by opening fully, then turning back one turn
- the drains for the washing machine and laundry tub and the floor drains are working
- the washing machine water supply pipes are flexible and are not leaking at either end
- there is a drain pipe from the washing machine to a dedicated drain, not through the laundry tub
- power points are secured to the wall and are tested as safe
- the tub and surrounding bench or cabinet are secure and in good condition
- there is a plug attached by a chain, or fixed in some way, to the laundry tub.
B2.2 Drying clothes and bedding
- check that clothes lines are functioning and replace or repair main support structure
- tighten loose clothes lines and replace rusted or broken lines
- repair or clean any path to the clothes line, to avoid slip or trip hazards
B3.1 Flush toilets
- the stop valve is operating and is not 'frozen' permanently open due to build up of mineral salts
- the toilet can be flushed and the cistern refills in less than three minutes
- the pan does not move when pushed gently from side to side and it is not cracked
- the door and privacy lock are secure and functioning
- the toilet roll holder is secure and there is a supply of toilet paper that can be stored out of the reach of children and animals
- the floor waste drain is functional
- ventilation, such as a window, can be opened and closed and does not compromise privacy.
B3.2 House drains
- run water through all drains to check they are working properly; if the drains overflow or there are leaks under or around the house, contact a plumber to check and fix the drains
- check that caps are fitted on all inspection openings and replace any missing caps; if the caps are frequently being removed by children, consider using a small amount of silicone or a screw on the outside of the caps to secure them but remember that a plumber needs to be able to remove the inspection opening cap for maintenance access
- check the grates on floor drains and drains in fixtures, such as the basin drain and kitchen sink, are in place to prevent blockages and replace missing or broken grates
- check that there is a mesh cap on the top of all vent pipes
- check the grate is in place on the overflow relief gully.
B3.3 Septic tanks, common effluent drains and on-site effluent disposal systems
- check that the lid and covers to inspection openings on the septic tank are secure
- if lids are broken or in poor condition replace them to prevent people accidentally falling into the tank
- check that the septic tank is in good condition and if there is any evidence of the tank leaking, or if the tank is concrete corrosion of the concrete inside walls of the tank. Organise for a plumber to inspect and replace the tank, if necessary
- check that the downpipes from the house roof have not been connected to the waste water system and that water running off the roof does not flood the area near the septic tank or the effluent disposal area
- a combination of septic tank size and house population will impact on the need to pump out septic tank sludge. Every six to 12 months, check whether the septic tank or grease trap needs to be pumped out and organise a pump out if required. Develop a pump out schedule to ensure the tanks work properly.
- inspect effluent disposal trenches every two to three years to check they are working properly, they should be damp but not full of water, and organise for new trenches to be built if the trenches have failed
- ensure a fence or barrier is in place to prevent vehicle damage to the septic tanks and trenches.
B3.4 Aerated waste water treatment systems
- refill the chlorine required by the system, as recommended by the manufacturer
- ensure the entire system is serviced by a licensed contractor every three months or as required by the manufacturer.
B3.5 Dry toilets
- the pan does not move when pushed gently from side to side
- the door and privacy locks are secure
- the toilet roll holder is secure
- fly screens are intact and preventing the access of insects or vermin
- there is a water supply to the hand basin.
- move the pit toilet every five to 10 years, depending on the level of use
- empty the waste container of a composting toilet regularly, most systems require emptying every 6 to 12 months.
B4.1 Quality of drinking water
- test the quality of the water from the rainwater tank or household filter and treatment system.
- check and clean the rainwater collection system, including roof, gutters, down pipes, inlet points and tank overflow
- secure, repair or replace unsecured, broken or rusted gutters and down pipes
- empty and clean the inside of rainwater tanks to remove the build up of algae and sediment or after a known contamination event, the tank should be rinsed with chlorine after cleaning to return to a sanitary condition
- check that the rainwater tank tap is working and change the washer, if necessary
- check and repair the mesh screens to inlet points and tank overflow
- empty the first flush diverter and check that it is working.
- replace the cartridge or other replaceable parts in household filters and treatment system
- test any pressure pumps.
B4.2 Food storage
- the cupboard door handles, locks and hinges are able to be open, closed and secured
- the shelves, cupboards and screened pantry or food storage areas are in good condition
- the kitchen is free of insects and vermin, and consider a regular pest management program.
- the freezer temperature is minus 10°C or colder
- the fridge temperature is 4°C or colder.
- if freezer and fridge temperatures are not cold enough, check door seals, location of the refrigerator or freezer in the house and the air circulation around the refrigerator and freezer.
- fridge temperatures are maintained and running costs reduced, by organising an annual fridge maintenance program to improve the ability to store nutritious food.
B4.3 Preparing food - sinks and benches
- retro-fitting an integrated kitchen bench, splash back and sink.
- junctions between kitchen bench, splash back and wall are sealed
- kitchen bench has not been affected by heat or moisture.
- all stove burners or elements are working
- the oven is working
- all stove control knobs are fitted and working
- the oven door opens properly and fully seals when closed, and that the oven door glass is not cracked
- on electric stoves, the timer, isolation and safety switches are working.
B5.1 Performance of health hardware in households with more people
- Organise regular assessment and maintenance of essential health hardware for houses, particularly electrical and plumbing works. Maintenance schedules and priority should reflect that houses with larger populations will need more frequent maintenance as a result of higher use.
B5.2 Developing the edges of the house and the yard
- fences and gates are in good condition
- yard taps and main water isolation valve are available, working and the area around any yard tap is drained
- any outdoor cooking facilities are functional.
B5.3 Storage areas in the house
- all storage and fittings are in good condition and secure
In particular check
- bedroom storage areas, shelves are secure and cupboard doors function
- shampoo and soap holders, are fitted and secure
- clothes hooks, are fitted and secure
- towel rails, are fitted and secure
- toilet roll holders, are fitted and secure
- shelves in the toilet and laundry are secure
- all kitchen storage (for detail refer to section B4) cupboards, drawers, shelving and pantries
- outside and yard area storage, all items stored can be secured in the event of a storm / cyclone
B6.1 Animals: Dogs, cats and others
- high storage shelves are in good condition
- the pantry door and lock are working
- screen doors, gates and fences are in good condition
- under floor area of the house is screened and the gate is working
- the garbage bin is secured and is in good condition
- yard taps are secure and not dripping.
B6.2 Animals: rats, mice, snakes and birds
- if there is an observed pest problem, establish a pest reduction program carried out by a licensed contractor
- repair holes, cracks or gaps that allow rodent entry
- cut back tree branches that are near to, or touching, the house that may provide vermin entry.
B6.3 Insects: ants and cockroaches
- establish a pest reduction program carried out by a licensed contractor
- check for, and destroy, ant mounds and cockroach nests
- check that gaps, cracks and junctions are sealed
- cut back tree branches or plants that are near to, or touching, the house.
B6.4 Insects: mosquitoes and flies
- check for leaking waste water or taps and repair
- clean gutters
- trim plants and remove any plants that harbour water
- repair or replace any torn mesh on window and door screens
- repair or replace any torn mesh on sewer vents, gully traps, soakage trench inlets and vents, rainwater tank inlets and overflows, and check that dry toilet vent stack screens are intact.
B6.5 Insects: Dust mites
- windows can be opened and closed
- any exhaust fans fitted to the house are working.
B6.6 Insects: termites
- check all houses for evidence of termite trails or other termite activity
- implement a program of regular termite inspections and treatments by a licensed pest management contractor, with written reports for all houses.
B7.1 Reducing the health impacts of dust
- weather strips on doors and seals on windows
- fences and gates
- the condition of yard plants and any surfaces that reduce dust
- the function of taps and irrigation systems
- gutters, downpipes and rainwater tanks
- clean insect screens to remove dust.
B8.2 Passive design in tropical zones
- clean insect screens to improve ventilation through windows
- maintain planting and thin out vegetation to maintain airflow
- repair or replace shade cloths and other screens
- clean the roof so that the build up of dust and mould does not reduce reflectivity (the amount of heat the roof can reflect), and therefore reduce temperatures inside the house.
- insulating and venting all roofs
- fixing awnings, verandahs or other shade devices to northern, eastern and western walls
- installing more and/or bigger windows
- knocking out openings internally to improve cross ventilation
- installing high level vents in rooms.
B8.3 Passive design for houses in arid and temperate climates
- prune deciduous vines in autumn
- check, repair or replace door seals as required
- repair or replace shade cloths and other screens
- clean the roof so that the build up of dust and mould does not reduce reflectivity and thermal performance.
- insulating and venting all roofs
- fixing awnings, verandahs or other shade devices to northern, eastern and western walls
- insulating suspended floors
- installing more and/or bigger windows to northern faces
- installing high level vents in rooms for night time cooling
- planting around the house.
B8.4 Active cooling of houses
- inspect evaporative air conditioners before summer, check water flow, and replace filter pads, if necessary.
- plant shade trees around houses
- keep air conditioning units, especially evaporative systems, cleaned and fully maintained
- consider using rainwater in evaporative cooling systems to reduce the effect of mineral salts on filter pads
- if evaporative cooling systems have been mounted on the roof, take overflow pipes to the ground to stop mineral salts from corroding the roof; also consider soakage beds
- monitor the temperature in houses and the cost of cooling houses to identify more energy efficient housing designs and cooling systems.
B8.5 Active heating of houses
- heaters (electric, gas, wood) are working efficiently and safely
- the doors on wood heaters close and seal properly
- there are no cracks in the glass face of gas or wood heaters
- non-flammable materials around a wood heater are intact
- flues or chimneys are cleaned regularly.
- consider developing timber wood lots using waste water and use the harvested timber for fire places
- monitor the temperature in houses and the cost of heating to identify more energy efficient housing designs and heating systems.
B9.1 Hazardous materials
- create a community register of all buildings that contain or may contain asbestos or lead paint, and make this available to all building and maintenance staff
- regularly inspect houses for the presence of deteriorating materials containing asbestos, and immediately seal exposed edges of damaged building materials containing asbestos with a latex or bituminous paint sealer
- regularly check the condition of lead paint to ensure it is not flaking or peeling
- apply paint to exposed timbers that are CCA treated, particularly play equipment.
B9.2 Personal security
- check and maintain all fences and gates
- replace faulty bulbs in external lights, and ensure fittings protect the bulb or tube from insects
- replace damaged security screens on external doors and windows
- keep bushes and shrubs trimmed to reduce hiding places for intruders.
B9.3 Preventing slips, trips and falls
- check that external and sensor lights are working and replace bulbs if necessary;
- check that hand rails are secure
- replace incandescent globes with long life globes or fluorescent fittings.
B9.4 Preventing cuts and abrasions
- check all windows can be opened and closed and their catches are working
- replace any broken glass
- re-fix any screws or nails that may have worked loose.
B9.5 Preventing burns
- test water temperature and check that the hot water temperature in bathroom areas is 50°C or less and at all other hot water taps is 60°C or less
- check that thermostat is set to 60°C
C1.1 Water quantity and treatment systems
- regularly take water samples as per NHMRC Australian Drinking Water guidelines and send them to a laboratory for testing
- review the test results and take action to improve water quality
- ensure the water treatment plant operators have been properly trained, and follow all steps in the operation and maintenance manual
- if rainwater is used to provide a source of potable water to houses, ensure the tanks are regularly maintained and that the water quality in the tanks is monitored, see B4.1 ‘Quality of drinking water’.
- follow a prepared risk management plan based on maintaining water supply integrity, using the Community Water Planner available at http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/eh52web
C1.2 Water quantity and demand management
- record meter readings and identify leaks in houses or the pipe work between houses in the reticulation system
- check all taps, spouts and shower roses, including yard taps and pressure relief valves, for leaks
- check pipes for water hammer and in-ground leaks and repair or replace
- check pipes for water hammer and in-ground leaks and repair or replace
reseat taps and replace washers in taps every two to three years depending on water quality
- check toilet cisterns for leaks and repair, if necessary
- flush out grey water irrigation systems
- clean the pads in evaporative coolers
- clean ‘first flush’ diverters and insect screens on rainwater tanks.
- a maintenance contract is in place for the power generation system and that the electrical supply system is regularly maintained and kept to a safe standard.
C3.1 Waste water
- repair leaking taps to reduce the load on the waste water disposal system
- check and maintain house drains
- ensure that downpipes and stormwater drains are not connected to the sewer, and disconnect or re-direct any drains that are connected
- pump out septic tanks that form part of a CED system
- service and maintain pumps and valves in the sewer to avoid failure
- maintain the treatment ponds
- fix broken or blocked stormwater pipes that are flowing into local land application areas.
C4.1 Household rubbish disposal
- empty bins at least once a week, and maybe more often
- replace broken or missing bins
- consider developing waste minimisation programs, such as recycling or composting.
- employ and equip a parks and gardens team to maintain landscaping throughout the community.