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The multi-faceted design of theTMS donger makes it an effective tool for termite inspections. 

It may seem like a basic technology, but using a donger during visual termite and timber pest inspections is a valuable, if not essential piece of kit. But how should you best use a donger and are there any alternatives?

The Australian Standard AS4349.3-1998 defines non-invasive inspection (1.5.14) as ‘Visual inspection supplemented by sounding that does not mark the surface and may include limited use of equipment as described in this Standard’. In tables 3.2 and 3.3, the Standard also describes the timber pests indicated by a type of noise produced from sounding. Appendix D section D2 lists some essential and necessary equipment but not specifically for sounding.

However, sounding timber during a timber pest inspection is not an exact science and is largely predicated upon the focus, the skill and the experience of the inspector.

Over the years, various equipment from the humble screwdriver to the traditional donger have been used to sound timber. However, tapping at somewhat random spots on woodwork using a traditional donger carries the significant risk that areas of damage are missed due to the small amount of surface area tested (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Using a traditional donger to sound skirting by tapping

Only a small area of the round donger head actually makes contact with the timber. Although running the donger along the timber will increase the amount of timber sounded, the small surface area of the donger in contact with the wood represents a significant limitation.

Timber pest inspection paperwork is likely to include disclaimers regarding the reliability of sounding, tapping and probing internal timbers as a means of detection of termites, especially if provided by an insurance company, due to the limitations of tapping with a traditional donger.

The Multi Facet Donger from Trade Management Systems is designed to reduce the risks of missing potential termite damage. The Multi Facet Donger has a rounded side for traditional tapping but also has a flat edge and curved faces to allow pest managers to run the donger along wooden elements of different shapes and sizes. Sounding by running along wooden features is faster and more complete than tapping, allowing a more complete visual inspection.

Figure 2: Using the Multi Facet Donger to sound skirting

Ryan Mills, managing director at Gold Coast Pest Services, has found the Multi Facet Donger an invaluable tool for his team. “Having completed thousands of visual inspections, sounding timbers is certainly one of the riskiest aspects of the inspection. I am constantly looking for innovative tools and equipment that can help improve my inspections and reduce my risk. We all use the Multi Facet Donger, and I can highly recommend it for anyone carrying out visual inspections.”