Protecting against termites

All areas in Queensland are subject to termite attack, however, termites are particularly aggressive in North Queensland and need a higher standard of treatment. It is important to discuss termite management options and maintenance requirements with your builder.

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) requires that the following areas be treated against termite infestation:

  • roof and floor framing (structural elements)
  • door jambs
  • window frames and reveals
  • architraves and skirting.

You can ask for a higher level of termite management than required by the BCA in your contract.

Termite management options

There are a number of termite management options available, each with varying costs, durability and maintenance requirements.

Some termite management systems include:

  • Monolithic concrete slab
    Installing a slab as part of the management system with another approved method to protect any penetrations, such as waste pipes (the slab edge may be exposed in this method)
  • Chemical
    Using approved chemicals under the slab and around the outside of the building on completion. Also requires:
    • installing a 300mm wide concrete protection strip
    • a reticulation system to top-up the chemical.
  • Graded stone
    Placed under the foundation slab and around the perimeter
  • Stainless steel mesh
    Full or partial mesh under the slab and around the perimeter
  • Termite resistant materials
    • Treated timber
    • Masonry
    • Steel
    • Concrete
    • Fibre-reinforced cement.
  • Termite resistant timber
    • Treated timber
    • Naturally resistant timber.

You can use one or a combination of the above, especially if your home has different types of construction or is split-level. Your builder may give you an acknowledgement form to sign confirming discussion of your termite system.

The Termite Management Systems (PDF) booklet provides valuable information on the details of different types of termite management systems and maintenance requirements involved.

Termite management notices

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) requires that a durable termite management notice be installed in a prominent location on your property, usually found in your electrical meter box.

The notice must state:

  • the method/s of termite protection used on the building
  • the date of the installation
  • where chemicals are used, the life expectancy listed on the Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) label, and
  • the installer’s or manufacturer’s recommendations for the scope and number of future inspections for termite activity.

Termite system maintenance

It is important to inspect the termite management system regularly yourself, and have a licensed pest controller inspect and report on your property every year (more often in high hazard areas).

You also need to meet your system’s maintenance requirements (e.g. yearly top-ups for chemical barriers) as stated on the termite management notice.

Termites and renovating

If planning to renovate, you should consider the impact of the work on your termite management system. Building footpaths, garden beds, patios, pergolas or landscaping/laying turf may cause your termite system to be less effective and allow an infestation.