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Leaky House Syndrome

 

Leaky House Syndrome is the term used to describe houses that have fallen victim to poor building standards and inspection. The outcome is that water is leaking into the wall space via window and roof flashings and not able to escape, thereby causing the wooden framing to rot and dangerous bacteria, called Stachybotrys to grow.

Nobody wants to take responsiblity for Leaky Houses, well certainly not in New Zealand - but let's just quickly look at how this soul destroying syndrome developed.

  • The NZ Government has a body that researches building structural design and defines the building codes - called BRANZ
  • The Architectual Designer must design in accordance to the code, if they hope to get a building permit.
  • The Building Contractor must build to the exact building specification presented to them by the Designer
  • Local Government Bodies check designs ensure the design and the construction are done in compliance with the code - if so, the building is issues a Building Permit before construction and Code of Compliance after construction.
  • The Homeowner trusts that each of these parties has done their job, and is probably paying a premium of about 5-10% over the bare cost of their homes to ensure all these things are in place.

But guess who has been left holding the baby!  And the $200,000 PLUS bill to fix the Leaky Home - you got it, the homeowner, the only person who didn't have a role in meeting the building code, the building permit or the code of compliance.

It's a disgusting show of irresponsibility by the Government of New Zealand and one that I am ashamed to witness. If you look at the sequence of compliance above, you can clearly see that the basis of the problem lies with a faulty Building Code - and whilst it is accepted that mistakes are made [we are all human] it is not acceptable for responsiblity not to be taken and a remedy put in place.

So here I am with an $850,000 house needing a $230,000 fix up, which will add absolutely no additional value to my home.

Okay, now that I have vented my disgust and frustration, let's look at how best to deal with repairing a leaky house. There are three broad steps

  1. Ensure your leaky home is safe to live in until repair - both structurally and from the harmful effects of toxic molds
  2. Plan the repair process
  3. Ensure the remedy meets all new codes of compliance and will not suffer a repeat problem

 

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