15,000 leaky homes

November 25th, 2005 at 6:17 am by David Farrar

A new Government reports there may be as many as 15,000 leaky homes.

Remember this is the issue in which the Prime Minister denied there was much of a problem, and attacked the NZ Herald for scare-mongering about it and “banging on”.

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14 Responses to “15,000 leaky homes”

  1. Logix () says:

    From the Herald article:

    A director of building surveying company Prendos, Greg O’Sullivan, said his firm had not changed its view for years on the likely cost – which it put at $2 billion to $5 billion.

    He said a proper study of the extent of the crisis was essential.

    While the “number of claims was growing” it had yet to reach its peak.

    I totally agree. I build in insulated concrete panels only, totally permanent, warm and cost-efficient over the life-time. But at some point in the early 90′s now disbanded Building Authority, directed by the govt of the day, to move away from the old prescriptive building code (and there was merit in that) was for reasons I still cannot understand, was totally suckered into giving formal approval to the changes that lead to this mess.

    1. The thin, non-breathable coatings, directly layered over polystyrene, insulating batts and untreated timber….was to my mind at the time, and to more than a few others in the industry…a disaster waiting to happen.

    2. Experience in the Pacific Northwest had already demonstrated the deficiencies of the method.

    3. However at least one large Australian company, very dominant in the NZ market, wanted to push the system. They got their way despite quite obvious objections.

    4. There is no question in my mind that the Govt IS liable for the entire mess….the entire $2-5b amount refered to by an expert.

    Now partisian politics apart…if you want to attack Clarke for wanting to deflect the possibility of a bill that size hitting the Budget…then think about how you have been blowing hard about how this Govt is spending irresponsibly. You really cannot have it both ways, calling for Govt to cut taxes and reduce spending, and at then attack them for NOT wanting to pay a potentially $5b bill foisted on them by a previous Nat govt.

    Until Parliament gives bi-partisian approval for accepting the potentially open-ended liability for leaky-homes, then all you are doing is playing the usual political game of no-win football.

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  2. David Farrar () says:

    You really are inventing things today. Local bodies have been meeting most of the settlement costs to date.

    Clark viciously attacked the media because she had an incompetent Minister who had failed to act on industry warnings.

    And you also fail to understand the difference between the Government denying it has liability for an issue, and denying there is an issue at all. Pity you can’t tell the difference because you know it is pretty important.

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  3. Logix () says:

    Government denying it has liability for an issue, and denying there is an issue at all

    And there lies the nub of the problem. I agree Clarke went too far in denying the problem was as large as it is. Consider however that everybody with any potential liability has been minimising and ducking for cover…and it has only been a relatively few troublemaking voices who have been telling the truth about the matter.

    The simple fact is that the so called “Insulclad” building method, and it’s close relatives… is not a permanent building method. Almost all of those buildings will prove unsatisfactory in the long run. Look around…that is a hell of a lot of buildings put up in the 90′s….and are still being built.

    The correct solution would have been for the Govt to have put it’s hand and accept full liability…but that was never politically possible.

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  4. johnie () says:

    Perhaps the “less regulation is more freedom” idiots in the national government who allowed the use of nonpermanent materials should have to pay? Taking responsibility for ones actions is after all, a fine neoliberal slogan…

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  5. Cadmus () says:

    The fault lies with the 90′s National govt who wanted to be seen as “Blue Greens”. The country ended up ‘not’ allowing treated timber in construction framing, with an Insulclad exterior. We are now reaping the rewards of vote seeking without common sence!
    In the US a lot of these types of homes are built with a alloy steel framing, like Dexion shelving or the old Mecano set. NZ just used the Natural resource timber, but untreated.
    I feel sorry for the owners of such properties. Best advice go see your National MP, and ask for an answer on why his/her party bought in such legislation?

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  6. Sam () says:

    Time to realise Cadmus that it was the GOVERNMENT that “bought [sic] in such legislation”, and that as a consequence the GOVERNMENT should take responsibility for it. Referring it back to the party is pretty unhelpful to the homeowners who are suffering.

    Ideally however, the consumer should be able to take their case to the professional companies that built these buildings as is the case in normal consumer law. They are responsible firsthand to the consumer. The builders can then make a case for reimbursement against the supplier/manufacturer for supplying faulty building systems and so on. Of course this falls over due to the dodgy nature of the building industry here, where companies just declare themselves insolvent, and set up under a different name – this is the real root of the problem that has prevented the normal consumer guarantees from taking effect. In my view something should be done about this.

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  7. Cadmus () says:

    Sam, I agree with your second paragraph, that about sums it up.

    However in my view it was sloopy legislation bought in under National’s “Blue Green” banner. mainly to appease the moderate NZ voter, National are clean & green, it backfired on this issue! No one did their homework and just rubber stamped a building product that wasn’t tested & suitable for NZ conditions, why?
    Your correct it is now up to government to correct it, but also it’s another case of Labour having to fix National’s botch ups.

    BTW I read your post in reply to employment, just keep going, don’t even worry about the knock backs, also go for employment that you may think is out of your reach, you maybe suprised.

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  8. dave () says:

    I can’t for the life of me work out what leaking homes has got to do with the Government.

    Surely it is a matter between the builder and the home owner?

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  9. Logix () says:

    I can’t for the life of me work out what leaking homes has got to do with the Government.

    Real failure of imagination there Dave….never heard of Building Permits? The industry does not act in some “free market” vacuum, there are very important authorities at both central and local govt levels who are very much involved. Neither you nor your builder are free to knock up any old shack you want….there are strict codes and requirements to meet. In this case the system stuffed up big time, and permitted builders, indeed encouraged them, to create faulty products.

    The entire system failed at all levels, and the principle liability in this case belongs right at the top.

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  10. dave () says:

    Everyone except me seems to think “the Government” is some bloody great piggy bank there to plunder whatever goes wrong.

    If my house leaks, I blame the builder, not the Government.

    The Government didn’t build my house. Thank god.

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  11. Lance () says:

    The Labour govt could just do the usually leftie crap and change the rules, back date it and make the builders pay.
    It wouldn’t be anything new. They are expert at confiscating private land and taking away owners rights.

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  12. Lucyna () says:

    I heard a guy on National Radio the other day saying that he had a leaky home and spent more money fixing it than it would cost for his company to build him a new home. He didn’t claim for his leaky home problem – paid for it himself because he felt he could afford to. He theorised that most the current big spendup on mortgages that Bollard is trying to quash is more due to poeple having to borrow against the value their homes to fix leaky homes and do other maintenance than it is to go on that big overseas trip and/or buy lots of stuff. It would be really interesting to know for sure.

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  13. Charles Bathurst () says:

    Deregulation of the building industry certification would have worked if National had made insurance ,compulsory, so a homeowner gets say 10 yrs insurance cover for any failure of the certifying process. This is where the ‘leaky building’ crisis should belong with National- the shambles over the construction payments process also belongs home with national since they were busy little bees passing new laws and repealing old ones during the 90′s’

    Building Act 1991
    Apprenticeship Amendment Act 1991
    Building Amendment Act 1992
    Clerk of works repeal act 1992
    Industry Training Act 1992
    Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 1992
    Quantity Surveyors Repeal Act 1992
    Building Amendment Act 1993
    Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Amendment Act 1993
    Building Amendment Act 1996

    As you can see they went on to other things , like the Fire Service, student Loans, Hospitals and the electricity industry by about 1994

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  14. Paulc () says:

    Charles, compulsory insurance is fine if there is a market prepared to provide it, and that market isn’t. Insures oddly enought have shareholders expecting a return on investment so they don’t underwrite known losses in terms of claims. That is why so many home owners who had Private Certifiers are now finding themselves suing “houses of straw”, the Certifiers are uninsured under “claims made” policies.

    For any reader owning a boggy moldy apartment reading this, think very carefully about how you went about purchasing the dump you now own. Who is to blame? Well, you principally, for not checking it out first. Why should the ratepayers and tax payers of New Zealand now put right your poor investment decisions? Go read Hay v North Shore City Council & Ors for a good contributory negligence argument on the part of a home owner who failed to check out what they were actually buying (they were found 75% contributory negligent!). So folks, its like buying pants, if you get it wrong

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