Winter Maintenance Checklist

Winter Maintenance Checklist

Winter is the time of year where many maintenance issues in the home show themselves in the form of leaks, damage and breakdowns. Follow our winter maintenance checklist to make sure you are prepared for when the wet weather hits!


Your roof is your first line of defence from the elements. Cracked tiles, damaged pointing, lifting sheets, rusted out valleys can all lead to serious damage if left unattended. It is recommended that your roof is inspected at least every 12 months and any identified vulnerable areas are rectified.


Gutters play a vital role in protecting your home in wet weather by directing water away from the home. Over the Autumn period, gutters are often filled with leaf litter and debris which can impede effective drainage and cause damage to the home.

Venatic recommends thoroughly cleaning and inspecting gutters prior to the winter period to ensure they operate effectively and protect your home from water related damage.


According to Sustainability Victoria, drafts account for up to 25% of heat loss in homes. One of the most effective ways to improve heating efficiency in winter is to address drafts entering the home.

Common areas to address drafts include –

  • Installing weather seals on external doors and windows
  • Check seals around any wall penetrations
  • Seal any gaps in floors or walls


Your homes heating systems are about to be working around the clock as the weather continues to cool down! It is time to make sure your heating system is ready to work efficiently and safely through the winter period.

  • We recommend home owners consider having their Gas heaters checked before use each winter. It is now a requirement that gas heaters in rental properties are serviced at least every 2 years by a licenced gasfitter.
  • In Victoria, our Solid Fuel Heaters remain unused for around 8 months of the year. Servicing your solid fuel heater every 12 months will ensure your flue remains unobstructed and your heater is operating efficiently.
  • Split System Air Conditioners are a notoriously expensive method of heating the home. It is important to ensure your air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible to make sure you are getting bang for your buck! It is recommended your air conditioner is serviced every 12 months by a refrigeration mechanic and you clean filters every couple of weeks.

Exhaust fans

Mould can thrive through the winter months with the combination of warm homes and wet weather. While we keep our windows closed to keep our homes warm, it is important to ensure exhaust fans are working effectively to manage condensation and prevent mould.

Make a list of rainy-day jobs

When you are stuck inside on those rainy winter days, it is a perfect opportunity to tackle those small maintenance items that have been pushed to the end of the to-do list through the year.

Here’s a quick list of common maintenance items to kick you off with some ideas –

  • Clean grout on tiles to inspect and repair any cracks or gaps.
  • Replace sealant around shower bases and baths.
  • Clean your exhaust fan vents.
  • Degrease range hood filters.
  • Clean air conditioner filters.
  • Lubricate and adjust ‘sticky’ door hardware.

Does my shed need a permit?

In Victoria, most sheds require a building permit to be issued from your local councils planning department. This is to ensure compliance of the structure for the safety of the occupants or people using the space.

While permit requirements can vary slightly from location to location, generally speaking a permit is required if the structure is –

  • Over 2.4m in height,
  • Greater than 10m2 in area,
  • Less than 1m from a boundary,
  • Attached to another structure or building

It is strongly recommended that you contact your local councils town planning department to discuss your requirements in terms of building and potentially planning permits. Venatic Building and Pest have information on permit requirements and obtaining permits here.

When building a shed, you can either use a registered builder or register yourself as an owner-builder to manage the project.

Using a registered builder for your Shed

Most registered builders will offer to apply for the relevant permits for you for an administration fee with your permission. Alternatively, you can apply for permits yourself with a registered building surveyor. This building surveyor may be from you local council or a private service.

A registered builder must be complete any building work over $10,000 (including labour and materials) under a domestic building contract.

If the building work is over $16,000, you builder must also provide Domestic Building Insurance.

Owner builder Sheds

When undertaking the project as an owner builder there are a number of things to consider –

  • You must submit applications for relevant building permits with yourself named as an owner builder prior to starting any works.
  • For any work over $16,000, you must obtain a certificate of consent from the VBA before commencing work.
  • Any trades people engaged to commence work over $10,000 must enter a major domestic building contract.
  • Consideration may also be made to enrolling in an owner builder education course.

Consumer Affairs Victoria have a helpful owner builders checklist for reference if considering this option or selling as an owner builder. There may also be further requirements for owner builders should they decide to sell the property.

Plumbing & Electrical Work

As with any structure, all plumbing on your shed including roof sheeting and guttering must be completed by an appropriately qualified plumber. Your plumber is required to issue a compliance certificate for any works completed over the value of $750.

In the same regard, if you are having power connected to your shed, any electrical work must be completed by and appropriately qualified electrician. Your electrician must issues a Certificate of Electrical Safety an assurance the work has been completed by an appropriately qualified electrician in accordance with Energy Safe Victoria standards.

Selling your home 

When the certificate of final inspection or certificate of occupancy was issued less that six and a half years from the date of sale, there are requirements owner-builders must meet.

If you have built a shed on your property as an owner-builder over the value of $16,000 as an owner builder you must –

  • Obtain a 137B Owner Builder Defect Report from a Registered Building Surveyor
  • Obtain your own Domestic Builders Insurance

When the value of a shed is under $16,000, only a 137B Owner Builder Defect Report is required.

Sheds built by a registered builder require no further inspection prior to sale.

Insurance is covered by your builders domestic building insurance for shed’s valued over $16,000.

For peace of mind pre-sale and pre-purchase, Venatic Building and Pest recommend a combined building and pest inspection of your home and outbuildings.

Gas Heater Safety

Gas Heater Safety

Gas heaters present a heath risk in the home if not adequately maintained. All gas heaters including central heating units, wall furnaces have the potential to leak carbon monoxide (CO) into the home.

Health Issues Linked to Faulty Gas Heaters

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas which can cause serious health problems.

While symptoms from carbon monoxide are non-specific, they may appear as a ‘flu-like’ illness.

Common symptoms include-

  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath

The Victorian Department of Heath has developed a guide ‘Could it be carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning‘ for more information. If you believe your symptoms may be related to CO poisoning from a gas appliance in the home there are 3 steps you should take.

  • Open windows/doors to ventilate the room.
  • Turn off the appliance and do not use until it has been serviced by a licenced gasfitter.
  • See your GP to discuss your symptoms and any links to CO exposure.

Maintaining Gas Heater Safety


All gas heaters should to be serviced at least every two years by a licenced gasfitter with an endorsement to service Type A gas appliances. In fact, new Residential Tenancies Regulations came in to force in March 2021 for rented properties. Gas safety checks are to be conducted every 2 years under these regulations. You can find more information on gas safety checks on this Gasfitter Toolkit from Energy Safe Victoria.


When air is removed from a space more quickly than it is replaced, it creates a negative pressure environment. Negative pressure environments cause CO to be drawn into the home rather than being vented outside. It is imperative that there is adequate ventilation in the home to ensure there a negative pressure environment cannot be created by the use of extraction fans.

Installation of carbon monoxide monitors

Because you cannot see or smell carbon monoxide, installing a carbon monoxide monitor is can be a useful method of early detection. When installing a monitor, ensure it complies with either the US (UL2034) or European (EN50291) Standards. While beneficial, installing one of these monitors is no substitute for safe installation and regular maintenance of your gas appliances.

Safety Alerts 

Energy Safe Victoria maintains a safety alerts list for open flued gas heaters that have been identified as posing a serious risk to health. Do not use any heater on this list until it has been tested and serviced by a qualified gasfitter.

What does a pest inspection consist of?

What does a pest inspection consist of?

The Standard

Pest inspections are guided by Australian Standard 4349.3-2010 Inspection of buildings Part 3: Timber Pest Inspections.

This standard covers the inspection for timber pest that damage timber including subterranean termites, wood-boring insects, and fungal decay (rot).

Drywood termites and mould are not required to be reported on under this standard.

The Inspection

The inspector will undertake a visual and ‘limited invasive’ inspection of the property. Your inspector will use sounding tools, moisture meters, radar technology and thermal monitoring to make an assessment on 4 key areas –

  • The evidence of presence of timber pests
  • The evidence of damage caused by timber pests
  • Elements of the building susceptible to timber pests
  • Recommendations for further investigations

A Venatic report will provide a clear explanation of what the inspector looked for in terms of fungal decay, wood-boring insects and subterranean termites. Your report will also provide detailed explanations of the characteristics of the specific timber pests found (if any) and their impact on the home.

Your inspector will also investigate and report on any damage caused by timber pests including –

  • Decaying timbers (shrunken timbers, stringy and cubical rot)
  • Termite damaged timbers (misshapen or collapsed timbers)
  • Borer damaged timbers (holes and portions of timber missing).

Throughout the inspection, your inspector will note conditions which may make the home more conducive to timber pest attack. This includes (but not limited to) –

  • Heightened levels of moisture in building elements
  • Inadequate drainage around the home
  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Untreated timber landscaping materials.

After your inspection

After the inspection, your inspector will make an assessment on the home’s overall susceptibility to timber pests. Based on this assessment, your inspector will also provide a recommendation for further inspections. AS 3600.2 recommends a routine inspection at least annually for the purposes of termite management, however, your inspector may deem more regular inspections are necessary based on a high level of susceptibility to timber pest attack. You inspector may also recommend a more invasive inspection to determine the extent of damage or suspected infestation.

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