Our love of the ocean and urban creep along the coast means we are exposing ourselves to more than just proximity to the beach. The National Construction Code (NCC) requires corrosion protection is required for buildings constructed within 1km of breaking surf, and other exposure environments.
Breaking surf means any area of salt water in which waves break on an average of at least 4 days per week but does not include white caps or choppy water. Breaking surf normally occurs in areas exposed to the open sea. Breaking surf does not normally occur in sheltered areas, such as that which occurs around the Swan River and similar locations.
The corrosion protection requirements for breaking surf are applicable to wire ties and structural steel beams as well as the building elements listed for lesser environments, only to a much higher standard.
In the Perth metropolitan area, this is due to the Swan river being brackish or salt water river. The BCA classifies the level of corrosion protection required as medium (mild steep corrosion), because of wind direction and topography. Roof sheeting and steel masonry accessories (i.e. lintels, shelf angles) to have corrosion protection.
Your Builder is responsible for the suitability of the materials selected.
As the client and building owner, you need to know about the maintenance requirements of your building. Keep steel components (in particular structural components) protected from corrosion in areas subject to more severe conditions.
Wash down walls and roof, inspect all the parts of your building for any signs of rust, and treat immediately. Paint protects the timber and steel used in your building, if it starts to show signs of cracking , bublling or peeling, it is time to repaint.
Remembering there are components that the NCC does not require the protection of (non-structural elements) and the builder only needs to build to a minimum standard so consider increasing the specifications of the corrosion projection of your home to keep it looking good for longer – as it could quickly age in the harsh coastal exposure environment.