Termite Action Group » About TAG » Andrew Campbell TAG Co-ordinator
Andrew Campbell TAG Co-ordinator

Mr. Andrew M. Campbell

The TAG Co-ordinator, Mr. Andrew M. Campbell, has provided this website as a termite  and building information resource for ordinary Australian Homeowners and Property Investors to assist them in understanding the problems and perils involved in preconstruction termite management.

The Australian Environmental Pest Managers’ Association (AEPMA) contracted Mr. Campbell in 2003-2004 to review the efficacy of ALL of the preconstruction termite management systems – both chemical and  physical – currently in the marketplace.

This process involved travelling throughout Australia to review differing building practises, the variant habits of various species of termites and the inter-relationship of termites and building methodologies and the impact thereon.

Advice provided to AEPMA by TAG at that time was that physical termite management systems were erroneously discussed as ‘termite barriers’ when, in effect, they were simply no more than ‘speed bumps’ to termite movement and, in some cases, often aided termites passage into buildings as ‘bridging’ devices by assisting termite movement over the internal cavity of typical slab-on-ground construction.

Further advice was that chemical systems discussed as termite barriers were better noted as chemical treated zones with differing modes of action dependent upon the chemical active termiticide constituent.

It was noted that the provision of preconstruction termite management systems was creating vast volumes of costly post-construction work, with no real guarantees or insurance, for long suffering homeowners.  Initially TAG met with individual homeowners to assist them with their problems, only to find that the flawed dictates held in the provisions of the Standard and Building Code were the entire basis of the problem.

An absolute catch 22!  This frustrated consumers who were subjected to unending financial stress and worry.

Stemming from this was ingrained and systemic illicit practises and corruption with commercial forces infiltrating the Standards Committee to prescribe and describe systems with properties and functions well beyond their capacity to perform and then to onwardly have these systems prescriptively-listed in the Standard (AS 3660.1 – 2000).

Pecuniary interests had entirely defeated the consumers’ rights to a just and equitable outcome by providing a completely flawed frame of reference as to the properties of the systems promoted in the Standard – in effect, the Standard was a sales document for flawed termite management systems which could not perform the task for which they were designed.

Improbable, but true!  Recent changes to the Building Codes and Standards attest to the veracity of the above statements.

Even the CSIRO were co-opted into this charade in the provision of the now discontinued ABSAC Appraisal Scheme, which provided Technical Assessments &/or Appraisals for preconstruction termite management systems and products based on flawed experiments which tested the systems in an ad infinitum context when, in fact, these systems were finite in their practical application.

The CSIRO bowed to external commercial forces in providing a service part-funded by commercial entities interested in having CSIRO approval for their system/product and selectively supplying cherry-picked favourable reports to substantiate claims of efficacy with no devil’s advocate to test the veracity of the findings.

The CSIRO engaged in testing products and systems with protocols that failed to encounter the ‘bridging’ of products and systems, by either applying external controls such as glass tubing through which termite movement was directed, or encompassing test timbers samples entirely in a product so as to deny termites bridging access they could easily achieve in a practical application thereof.  In effect, the only way that the system could actually work was if the entire house was wrapped in the product and access was denied to the homeowner.

Fortunately, in 2008 the CSIRO departed the  scene and their ABSAC Technical Assessment/Appraisals, though still relied upon by many system/product providers and certification schemes, have fortunately expired.  The CSIRO was hopelessly lost and confounded on this issue as is documented in their letter to the TAG provided during a reassessment of their Technical Assessments/Appraisals provisions which was conducted immediately prior to their departure from this particular area of science.

The TAG was placed in the indubious position of being required to educate statutory authorities and their functionaries of the crisis that existed in the area of preconstruction termite management because of their inane and unworkable testing methodologies and documented provisions that were designed to fail, thereby putting the homes of ordinary Australians at constant and ongoing risk of termite damage.

During 2007 – 2010, the TAG mission to educate both the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and Standards Australia, inclusive of their representatives and committees, was completed.  Several meetings were conducted in the board-room of the ACCC in Brisbane whilst many other meetings occurred in Canberra offices of the ABCB and the Sydney offices of Standards Australia.

Unfortunately, despite the wealth of information and education provided by TAG, belligerent authorities continued a course of inaction to the detriment of the welfare of ordinary Australian Homeowners and Property Investors and gambled with their major asset – Their Homes.

Whilst the evidence in support of the case put by TAG was overwhelming in its content, the ABCB and Standards Australia did not act on the advice until 2014.  In fact, Standards Australia were strongly opposed to enacting the changes – a view that was clearly expressed by the Chairperson of the Standards Committee in an article that he wrote on the changes.



The TAG Website

The TAG website continues to operate as an information resource for ordinary Australian Homeowners and Property Investors as a ‘body of information’ that has been sourced and researched over the previous fourteen years as an ongoing community service.

The purpose of the website is to assist people in further understanding the problems involved in the inter-relationship of ‘termites and buildings’ and the absolute failure of all parties to address the situation satisfactorily over an extended period of time.

A “Proposal For Change” and a “Submission to the ABCB” appear on this website and these documents have stood the test of time, being completely unable to be refuted by the ABCB, who, in mid-2007, requested by letter that Mr. Campbell take his case to Standards Australia.

This was noted in a letter from the Federal Minister for Industry at the time – the Hon. Ian Macfarlane.

It is important to note that absolutely no financial inducement or remuneration was provided by the ABCB when making this request of the TAG.  Several notable pest management industry entities such as Bayer, Amalgamated Pest Control, FMC, BASF, Garrards and others have assisted the TAG cause and provided letters of endorsement as to the TAG agenda in addressing the debacle that exists in preconstruction termite management.

Standards Australia initially failed to enact any of the TAG recommendations and refused to provide any answers to questions provided by the TAG that were put to them in a letter from the ACCC.  The ACCC Letter is available to be read on this website and definitively demonstrates the contempt that Standards Australia had for the end-user of their Standards in not providing answers to a letter that they had requested, as evidenced in their meeting minutes.

The Termite Management Standards’ Committee is currently represented by a host of pecuniary industry interests with little, if any,  real Consumer Representation.  The Consumer Representative derived income from a termite management system provider for tutoring installation methodology and marketing the product to builders.  That particular system was prescriptively-listed in the Standard!

Part of the TAG mission was to have the Standard become a performance-based document as opposed to being a prescriptive document that listed products that were unable to perform the function for which they were designed in direct deference to a primary tenet in the Building Code that deals with ‘Suitability of Materials’.

Two very differing accounts are provided in meeting minutes held by the Building Codes Committee (BCC) Sub-committee on Termites and those meeting minutes held by the Termite Management Standards Committee. The BCC sub-committee minutes clearly note a myriad of problems whilst the Standard Committee’s minutes state that the existing Standards are technically correct and best serve the community interest.

Both these sets of minutes are able to be viewed on this website along with a range of other content.

The ACCC is aware of a host of situations that act counter to the best interests of the Consumers and urgent address and redress of all these matters which should have been undertaken at a much earlier juncture.

The ACCC, for the most part, whilst rendering some assistance to TAG, has been a ‘Toothless Tiger’!

Of recent times, the ABCB has initially required the Termite Standards Committee to remove the word ‘barrier’ in its entirety from the Standard (AS 3660.1) where it applies to termite management systems in compliance with TAG requests made to the Standards’ representatives in 2007 and the Standards Committee in early 2009, as is evidenced and documented in their minutes.

Several million homes have been constructed since 2000 when this flawed Standard (AS 3660.1  Termite Management – New Building Work) first came into force.

People believed that they had a ‘Termite Barrier’ when, in fact, they had very little, if any, real termite protection!

What they really had in most cases was a termite management system that could be ‘bridged’ in minutes and had absolutely no warranty or insurance to cover such a circumstance.

The failure of regulatory bodies to address the hopelessly flawed and inaccurate provisions held in both the Building Codes and the referenced Standard (AS 3660.1 – 2000) when first approached in January 2007 and, their continued refusal to act over a prolonged period of time has caused millions of homes to be constructed in accordance with these flawed and inaccurate provisions!

Several million houses will continue to remain at high risk of incurring termite damage due to the provision of flawed provisions and the subsequent failure to act immediately once they were advised as to the inaccuracies and failures of these provisions and the requirement to redress the circumstance immediately!

Fortunately, TAG was able to educate the ABCB on the requirement for changes to existing provisions in both the Building Codes and the referenced Standards and the ABCB and Standards Australia are finally enacting TAG instructions thereon.


In Closing

The bureaucratic roundabout has achieved and caused total inaction over an extended period of time to provide absolutely no redress of the problem which continues to grow unabated in mammoth proportions.  This is clearly evidenced by the massive upsurge of post-construction termite management vehicles on the roads.

Faceless bureaucrats administer a subject for which they generally have little understanding or comprehension thereof.  Many comments have been made as to bureaucrats working with people in the private sector to thwart and subdue Consumers’ interests and well-being in these matters.

Unfortunately, the termites do not abide by bureaucratic rules and regulations and simply find that they aid termite appetites, as opposed to aiding the cause of  ordinary Australian Homeowners and Property Investors in the protection of their dwellings – i.e. The singularly largest investment portfolio in Australia.

These parties are not answerable for their actions and so the situation progresses with more packaged processed food being put on the termite menu – i.e. : ordinary Australians’ homes!

This unsatisfactory and ongoing circumstance provides a continuing source of angst and frustration for all concerned parties and will provide post construction pest managers with masses of work for several generations.  This is the advice provided to TAG by prominent pest management companies.

This website is designed to provide honest and forthright advice as well as placing informative documents in the public domain as a community resource commissioned by the TAG as a community service to ordinary Australian Homeowners and Property Investors.

Good Luck and Good Reading.

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