Thousands of homes throughout New Zealand may not meet acceptable construction standards regarding resistance to weather according to the latest information from the country’s Department of Building and Housing.
As of May 31, the Department says it has received 6,818 claims relating to 9,799 properties under a Financial Assistance Package designed to assist homeowners whose properties do not meet acceptable standards.
Of these claims, 1,839 remain active while 1,822 have been resolved and a further 3,157 have been ‘closed’, which typically means that the claimant was ineligible for compensation or the claim was terminated or withdrawn.
Since the mid-1990s, a significant number of homes throughout the country have been built using methods that are not adequately able to withstand the weather conditions in New Zealand and therefore do not comply with the New Zealand Building Code.
When it rains, some of these houses leak because of problems involving design and installation of materials. In some cases, the materials themselves have been used inappropriately.
Once water or moisture gets behind certain types of cladding, if there is no drainage and ventilation between the cladding and the framework, the water becomes trapped and the potential for fungal growth and rotting rapidly increases.
The Department says the problems, which have been particularly common in high-density, multi-unit developments, are typically the result of a number of contributory factors. These include flat roofs, complex building shapes and junctions, parapets, narrow or no eaves, monolithic claddings, untreated framing, sealed decks, built-in balconies and inadequate flashings around windows and doors.
Estimates vary as to how many homes throughout the country have been affected. A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2009 estimated that around 42,000 homes built between 1992 and 2005 do not meet required standards. The Department says it is likely that around 30,000 dwellings have either already failed and not been repaired or will fail in the next 10 years.
Under the assistance package set up by the New Zealand government, homeowners can receive financial assistance from the government for up to 25 per cent of the cost of repairs. A further 25 per cent can be claimed from the local council in cases where the council approved the work and is participating in the FAP.