Termite infestations can devastate a completed building, so you can imagine the havoc they wreak on incomplete ones. Before the structure was even there, it was compromised. Project costs sky-rocket as exterminators are called out, and the foreman must assess the extent of the damage. Deadlines are pushed back since the crew must now redo much of the work they already spent hard effort on. For these reasons, use the following tips for how to prevent termites and treatment tips to reduce the risk of an infestation during or after construction.
Learn How to Prevent Termites
On top of this danger, construction firms must be prepared to defend against future allegations that their work led to a termite infestation. Since termite infestations can be incredibly costly, some site owners will seek compensation from the firm who built the structure. Therefore, preventing termites becomes as much about due diligence as it is about efficient work timelines.
The best time to begin preventing termites is after excavation and before construction begins. Some states even require certain pre-treatment prevention measures, as described in this article from North Carolina State University’s entomology department.
Pre-treatment can consist of many different techniques, but the most common and effective ones involve treating the soil post-excavation. By digging out cores of earth and filling them with pesticides and repellent, a construction crew can prevent an infestation before it even starts. Forming a solid perimeter around the future structure is the best practice, with each treatment chemical spaced a few feet apart from the last one.
Treatment areas include the bottom and sides of the excavated site before slab placement. Other areas that should be pre-treated include pipe beddings, intersections of walls and floors and areas where wooden fixtures such as cabinets and doors will be placed.
Treated wood products can also reduce the risk of infestations, but they cannot guarantee against them unless sound practices are followed.
Certain practices can be open invitations for a termite infestation. Never leave wood construction products in direct contact with the soil for more than a few hours at a time. Completely wrap these materials in a tarp or mesh that can prevent insect intrusions.
During construction, avoid having wooden framing or finishing elements making direct contact with soil. These wooden components provide an avenue for termite colonies.
Earth-filled porches are a particular concern. Because they are frequently inaccessible post-construction, there is no way to monitor for the presence of termites even after an infestation is discovered. Rigorously treat the foundation for structures that use such porches, and pay particular attention to gaps where the porch structure meets the main building’s foundation. You can also join the porch’s interior with the structure’s crawlspace so that inspections and treatments can be carried out.
Existing wood materials like rotten stumps should be extracted around building sites to the extent possible. Wooden construction materials should never be disposed of onsite, such as in a refuse pile that will be backfilled. Grade stakes, form boards and other materials should be properly disposed of as well.
In addition to the presence of wood, termites are attracted to moisture since it allows them to travel more easily through soil and building materials while they construct permanent tunnel pathways. Ensure that drainage is adequate to prevent moisture or humidity buildups. Also verify that drainage systems like gutters are operating as intended.
Knowing How to Prevent Termites and Contractors Insurance
Termite infestations are costly and have a long case history in U.S. courts. These factors mean that some contractor’s insurance policies have benefit exemptions for termite infestations or damage. Review your general liability policies as well as your errors and omissions policies to ensure that in a worse-case scenario you will be covered against termite-related financial damages.