Owners sneak inside the 10 year cut off by one day

Some owners knew their building was approaching the 10 year mark and knew from talking with others that they could claim compensation before 10 years was up, but not after.

They decided to install the Mdu Probe System to non-destructively check the building to see if there were any problems before the 10 year mark ticked over so if there was problems they could claim compensation.

The Step Up Group presented the Mdu Probe results to the owners onsite and the results showed that there was significant problems:

  • Timber damage was present
  • The timber appeared untreated
  • There were signs of moisture ingress

This showed that there was a need to consider applying for compensation by lodging a claim with the WHRS or another route. The next question was how long they had to claim before they became “ineligible”. The owners had bought their Council file and a review of the files showed that exactly TOMORROW was their final opportunity to lodge with the WHRS and be eligible for a claim.

That night the Step Up Group helped the owners sort out their WHRS Application form, and ensured that their claim would be adequately processed within time to ensure that the claim remained eligible.

It has been a very big decision, but the owners have now successfully lodged with the WHRS and are now eligible for compensation. Their challenge now is to gain the right level of compensation for the lowest cost to them. Again Step Up Group have been able to assist here and guide the owners in the right direction, and will be able to assist in taking them through the process.

That night, the owners alerted the other 3 neighbours, and they will be arranging for their properties to be installed with the Mdu Probe System to check their properties. Unfortunately they chose not to apply to the WHRS but will at least be able to identify the scope of their issues and minimise the cost and impact of remediation to be completed.


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Buyers and Sellers happy with ongoing moisture monitoring

This is an excellent example of how well things go when the building is moisture monitored.

  • 2006-2008: The original owner installs the Mdu Probes into the building and continued to monitor the house and carry out maintenance where required.
  • 2008: the owner sells – with the moisture results assisting them to show the new owners about the good performance of the building
  • 2008-2011: new owners continue to monitor the building’s moisture levels annually and carry out isolated maintenance as needed.

Both the sellers and the buyers have been continuing to monitor for years. Noting much out of the ordinary but for some isolated issues identified that get addressed by maintenance and monitoring afterwards to ensure that maintenance has been effective.

When the current owners come to sell the building, they will be able to prove the weathertightness of the building to prospective new purchasers with the results from the moisture readings over the years, and the new owners can continue with this basic monitoring. This ensures that everyone is protected and safe in the knowledge that the building is being monitored.


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Important information to know before starting

Installation Preparation

Internal access to the bottom of the external walls is needed by the Mdu Probe Installers. To aid the installers we ask that any furniture be removed from the external walls near corners, under windows or beside doors and other risk points (such as pipe penetrations etc) to allow installers’ access for at least 1m (especially if it is fragile, difficult-to-move or heavy). This includes hard-to-reach areas like under window seats and garages. The installers can guide you to what areas need clear access on the day of the installation. The installer may charge at its discretion for movement of furniture and takes no responsibility for loss or damage done due to the moving of furniture.

Hidden Details in Walls

It is the owner’s (or agent’s) responsibility to show installers exactly where any hidden piping, electronics or any other services are located in the walls and how to avoid them. While the installer takes all care they take no responsibility for the action and the consequences of affecting any hidden services that are not specifically pointed out or immediately obvious internally. It is also the owner’s responsibility to show the installers where the bottom plate is located in the walls where the investigation is occurring if it is not immediately obvious internally.

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WHRS video shows the destructive nature of their testing

Simply put – the WHRS Investigation leaves a building highly stigmatised and damaged and many times prevents the building from being able to be adequately remediated with a targeted repair solution.

While this amount of damage is not important if an area is to be reclad anyway – but if this destructive process finds that the area investigated is acceptable and performing well, how is the owner to rectify this area permanently without full recladding in the area? There is no mention of this and the WHRS to this day still refuses to give owners a specific answer to this.

There are ways to reduce and minimise this issue – homeowners who put the Mdu Probe System into their homes BEFORE the WHRS Intrusive Investigations or DURING the investigation (as part of the WHRS Assessors’ budgeted works) are able to minimise damage as much as possible while still allowing Assessors to collect the information they need.  There are also ways to reduce the damage of a building so that repairs costs are minimised should no problem be found.

Also, an independent comparative analysis report between the efficacy between WHRS and the Mdu Probe System was commissioned in 2009 by the DBH showing that the Probes were highly effective in assessing the condition of a building compared to the standard process, and that when combined together as assessment methods (where the destructive WHRS investigations are directed by the information collected by the Mdu Probe System) the process was highly effective in achieving a very robust analysis of a building without unnecessary damage.

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High court decision: has to be seen to be believed

The recent High Court decision of Chee v Stareast (CIV 2010-404-7804 2 June2011) has important ramifications for claimants and respondents in the leaky home circus. It should also be reverberating amongst experts whose methods of investigation have not changed in over a decade despite significant advancements in this field over that time. Those of us in and around the legal profession understand that evidence is the cornerstone of any legal proceeding and opinion is secondary to evidence, always.

Continue reading

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Hitex Diamond Cladding is ‘Approved System’ – Auckland Council

The Hitex Diamond Cladding System is on the “approved register” of Alternative Solutions for use as “face-fixed” on buildings up to E2/AS1 risk matrix of 20.

Find out more about the Hitex Diamond Cladding System

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No-one is immune from buying leaky homes

In this situation, a Real Estate Agent who knew the builder who built the building in question. Once it was built the agent sold the property. She then sold the building again – then the third time it was sold she bought it herself. She then found out the building had a high number of leaks and timber damage – from detailing and design problems that were likely there since construction. This shows that anyone can be caught out by this issue – despite having a deep involvement in the industry.


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Fascias-style guttering leak internally

Fascia-style gutters causing water to run into the building

Guttering can be a hidden leaky building danger in many ‘low-risk’ homes

The perfect storm that culminated in the ‘leaky home’ fiasco was caused by a number of products and processes being introduced into the NZ housing market with totally inadequate testing, validation or approval.

Untreated timber, no cavities, untested leaky cladding systems, leaking windows, complex designs, reliance on sealants… the list goes on.

If you want help to find and resolve leak and decay issues in plaster clad homes, contact Moisture Detection Company for assistance. They have solutions to manage problems associated with fascia style gutters.

Moisture Detection Company use their patented Mdu Moisture Detection Probe System to investigate and provide hard evidence on the moisture, decay and the timber treatment condition of houses.  

Moisture Detection Company help plaster clad homeowners to diagnose, repair and manage leaks and decay at minimum cost and avoid the need to re-clad.

You can contact MDC on 09 271 0522 or click the link above for more information.

One of the biggest and least well known contributors to leaks is the fascia-style guttering known as Taylor or Klass fascia which was hugely popular due to the sleek stylish appearance.  If you drive around many of the houses constructed in this era, a large number still have this system.

Fascia-style (hidden) guttering systems have a high risk of allowing leaks to come into building walls and cause rot and leaky building syndrome. Because of their design and construction, small defects of installation, or blockages can cause overflows directly into the walls.

Fundamentally, the problem is that the internal lip of the gutter is usually lower than the external lip so that when it overflows, the water can run accross the soffit (if there is one), and into the wall and ceilings.

Often, where a valley in the roof runs into the gutter, the internal edge is notched even lower which becomes the first overflow point. If there are any blockages, excess rainwater during heavy rain will overflow back into the house, often without the owner being aware.

The low point in Taylor Fascia where it is notched at a valley entry

This is a particular problems for owners of plaster clad houses built from 1992 to 2004 where there is unlikely to be a cavity allowing the water to drain away, and the timber is likely to be untreated or undertreated.

We have seen virtually the entire internal framing of the back wall of a house rotted away behind the gib because of persistent overflows of the gutter.  Many people aren’t aware that the decaying leaves which block gutters and downpipes often house particularly agressive decay fungi which can cause accelerated rot when overflows wash it into the house.

In traditional externally-mounted guttering systems, these are designed that if there is a blockage somewhere, water will overflow away from the building. This does no harm to the building, and will alert the owner to a problem.

The Mdu Moisture Detection Probes installed in a house, will pin-point leaks that could be caused by faulty or blocked gutters so that the problems can be addressed.  Installing Mdu probes should be the first step that any owner of a plaster clad house should take when looking for potential leaks anywhere.
Ideally, the entire fascia gutter system should be replaced, however this is an expensive excercise.  Often we can just install effective overflows at critical points, which divert water away from the house if the gutters are threatening to overflow.
For more information contact Moisture Detection Company.


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Likely kiln dired timber used on external framing to speed up pre-line pass

Kiln dried timber likely used to speed up pre-line pass

Untreated timber used on external framing, treated timber used on internal framing

This property was built with treated internal framing, but untreated external framing. It is likely the kiln dried timber was used to speed up pre-line pass with Council.#1542

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Buyer beware

Buying in the Summer? Its your funeral…

Houses can go from ‘leaky’ to ‘dry’ through seasonal change alone. Don’t get caught out!

This property is a typical polystyrene-clad property: its got a couple of cracks here and there and will need to be maintained. When you look at the Mdu Probe System’s moisture results, you could say something like “oh they’ve had some problems, and got them fixed, that’s why the probe readings have gone down”. You’d be dead wrong. This drop in moisture readings was caused SOLEY by the difference in seasons and the lack of rainfall prior to the second reading (in the summer). The owners have done NO works, the defects in the roof and windows are STILL THERE, it just wasn’t raining.

Buyer beware

If you were looking to purchase this property in the summer, a pre-purchase inspection might find some cracks here or there, but a moisture inspection, scan or thermoimaging camera would not have picked up any moisture because it simply ISN’T THERE. Even the Mdu Probe System moisture results would read ‘acceptable’.

How do I avoid this?

The ONLY way of picking up any sign of trouble at that time would be in the timber sample results that he Mdu Probe System collects. This is why the Mdu Probe System always take timber samples AND why it is always stipulated that in order to fully understand a property, it is best to monitor the moisture levels THROUGH at least one winter before a firm understanding can be reached.#1390

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