Leaky Home Inspection Services & Solutions

If you are looking for leaky home inspection services in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch (NZ Wide), then choose carefully.

We get calls from all over NZ from plaster home owners and buyers who ask us lots of questions about what’s involved with a leaky home inspection. There are so many companies offering all kinds of leaky home inspection services and solutions that it starts to become confusing on who to employ to carry out the work!

If you own a home, and you suspect it ‘could’ be a leaky home or you just want a peace of mind either way, then ask yourself this… would you prefer to hire a company who offers leaky home repair solutions to inspect your house? Or a completely independent service provider who has no vested interest in making money from ‘back end’ leaky building repair opportunities on your home?

The second option is the logical answer… and then once you know if you are living in a leaky home, then get quotes from leak building repair solution companies as step 2, after the leaky home report comes through from an independant building inspection company.

There have been cases where some companies who offer leaky home inspection services will do the leak and moisture test at a ‘dirt cheap’ price, knowing perfectly well they will do the ‘hard sell’ at the other end of the inspection. So the actual prices of home inspections will vary from company to company… especially between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and the smaller towns that surround them.

Take the time to research the best inspection company in your area, and choose and/or interview a few different inspectors to get a feel for their knowledge and experience with the type of house in question.

The above information also applies to commercial leaky building inspection services.

What to Look For When Buying a House

Another ‘annoying’ story for you about a house I inspected in Wellington that leaked… but not according the structural building inspection company!

This is the 2nd home we’ve inspected for moisture in Wellington recently where the previous building inspector must have been wearing a patch over one eye. Some very basic telltale signs of leaking were visually evident, yet the inspector didn’t note ANY of them on his report! In addition, the buyer went ahead and purchased the ‘leaking home’ (not leaky home).

To their credit, the report said they didn’t moisture test the house… but no fancy leak detection equipment or methods where needed here… just normal eye site.

Here’s a sample what was missing in their inspection report:

  • Wooden doors extended right down and touched the deck (no ground clearance). There was severe rot in the bottom of the door due to the water soaking back up the frame. No mention of this in the report
  • Two splits in the butanol decking over the top of a room were not identified. We detected these leaks on the ceiling of the rooms below using infrared cameras. No mention of these splits in the report
  • HUGE CRACKS all over cladding that could be seen from two houses away… no mention in the report (Crazy). Cracks in plaster cladding could mean moisture ingress issues. The problem was the inspector assumed all walls to be block, but some sections of the wall were hardiflex that blended in with the rest of the cladding. He only needed to tap on the wall to find out what type of cladding was used!
  • ‘Bogged up’ door jams due to leak damage around the door frame.
  • There was a bench seat running along the width of one of the windows below sill level. The top of the seat flapped open with storage room underneath it. There was moist swollen particle board under the hatch… did he even look in there? It wasn’t on his report. Normally we don’t look under seats like this, but when it’s up against an external wall with cracks in the cladding, then any ‘logical’ professional building inspection company in Wellington (or anywhere) should be looking underneath these areas.
  • Rotted floor boards around the base of one door… moisture damage again with no mention in his building inspection reporting.

As mentioned above, the leaking deck that was dripping onto the ceiling underneath could only be seen with the thermal imaging camera… the owner couldn’t believe what I could see that he (or the inspector) couldn’t!

So when you’re thinking about all the different things to consider when buying a house, or what to look for when purchasing a property… then consider using our professional NZ wide infrared thermal imaging services… from Whangarei to Invercargill and everywhere inbetween!

Confidentiality of Leaky Building Inspection Reports

Are you worried about what the thermal leak detection results may show up during an inspection of your home?

Put your worries to rest…

Confidentiality issues for leaky building, or standard home inspection reports can be a worry for many home owners… and rightly so. If you would rather keep your head in the sand and not get your home tested due to the fear of unfavourable results, then read on… you might change your mind.

Yesterday I got a call from a home owner asking if my infrared inspection reports are kept confidential. The answer is 110% yes. Out of curiousity, I then asked what made him ask that question. He stated…

“We had an inspection 2 yrs ago, and the inspector found two leaks that he felt needed attention. 1 hour later we got two unsolicited phone calls from building companies offering to fix the problems!”

Not good. This means the inspector revealed the issues detected in the home to a 3rd party without permission from the vendor.

The way we handle all building inspections is simple, private and discreet between yourself and us. We do a written report that gets sent to you only… not to repair companies, not to real estate agents or solicitors, and certainly not to the council. Some home owners will ask us to send  the report to 3rd parties, but we refuse to do this for privacy purposes and avoid getting caught up in confidentiality issues down the track.

We respect the fact your home is your biggest asset, and the last thing you need is other people who have ‘nothing to do with it’ knowing your property needs remedial work, be it a minor leak or a reclad. What you do with our report after you receive it is entirely up to you of course.

One option some vendors take is a verbal ‘Quick Scan’, which means nothing is put in writing… further assuring the home owner there is no negative report floating around in ‘cyberspace’ outside of their control. Quick Scans are also cheaper because time has been saved on the report writing component of the inspection.

Cost to Build a New House in NZ, or Buy Existing?

Are you buying a house in NZ?

Have you considered the cost of building a new home?

Here’s some food for thought before you commit to a mortgage!

We moisture test homes all over NZ, and one of the most common questions we get from clients, is “If this home was built to the old ‘leak building’ code, could it cause us leaking problems into the future, even if it’s not leaking now?”. The short answer is “yes” in many cases if the house isn’t maintained correctly (especially houses with ‘leaky building’ design issues).

More and more, clients are now starting to realise that it may work out better to buy a section and build! So rather than agonise over buying a potential ‘time bomb’ that may either be leaking now, or turn into a leaky home down the track… why not build a fresh new house! Benefits:

  • Brand new… choose your colours
  • Treated timber will be used in the external walls
  • It will be constructed with a cavity system
  • 10 year master builders warranty in most cases
  • You can build a solid brick and tile that has proven to withstand the test of time (Unlike some plaster systems)
  • Not a leaky home!

Today I was doing a leaky building test for a client looking to purchase a home in Albany on the North Shore. The house was $670,000 to buy… and the plaster system was making the buyer very nervous. This house was 180sqm. Now, lets look at some numbers to compare building v’s buying an existing dwelling that could already be leaking…

If you can buy a section in your desired area (or nearby) in a residential area that already has water and power running to the front gate, for about $300,000… then in the case of the example above, the buyer still has $370,000 left over to build the house. If they can get the house built for $2000sqm (at the time of writing, this figure is above the average build cost according to the department of building and housing), then they end up spending the same amount of money as the plaster home they were about to purchase, except this time they get a brand new home the same size… stress free!

The point of writing this article, is to remind you to ‘run the numbers’ on building a new home as part of your research in the area. If there is no available land left around the particular area you desire to live, then you don’t have an option to build new… but wouldn’t you prefer to move 1omins down the road and have the peace of mind a new home would bring you?

If you have your eye on an existing home… get a thermal imaging moisture test first!

How to Interpret Building Inspection Reports

Are you confused with your building inspection report?

Do you actually understand what your property inspection results mean?

There are some very good building inspection companies in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (and everywhere in between), but the reports some inspectors supply can sometimes confuse the buyer with ‘builders’ terminology that you may not understand.

Normally you would call the building inspector with questions, but if they aren’t available for whatever reason, and you want to know right now what they are talking about in the report, then take a look at the glossary of building terminology at the link below for a possible explaination.

For example: If your report says “The leak captured in this thermal imaging report above master bedroom window could be due to a missing head flashing, or miter joint failure in window on 2nd floor directly above this area”… do you actually know what this means?

Here’s a glossary of terms used by builders and home inspection companies:

Interpret Building Terminology Here

The ‘complexity’ of our infrared leaky building inspection reports are written in accordance to the buyers level of building knowledge. If you know nothing about how a house is built, or aren’t sure what certain parts of the home are called, then you will still be able to interpret our reports.

How Do I Know if I Have a Leaky Home/Building?

After fielding plenty of calls from NZ home owners/buyers every week, I have noticed a very common pattern occurs over time.

What are the most common questions I get asked?

1) How do I know if I am living in a leaky building?

2) We would like you to moisture test a house before we buy it to make sure it’s not a leaky home… how much is it?

3) Should I buy a home built with plaster? 

The obvious pattern that emerges week after week, is that people are almost scared to buy a house these days without further testing beyond a standard building inspection. This is NZ wide!

While some people want to know how to avoid buying a leaky home, others want to know if they are living in one… so how do you know?

Answer: 95% of time you won’t know, unless you have a background in the building or thermal imaging/moisture testing business.

There have been many cases when a home owner will call me in because they have signs of a leaking problem, such as a skirting board that is swollen, or the carpet has mould growing on it in the corner etc. Then… 1 – 2hrs later i’ve found anywhere between 1 and 10 other leaking problems that were not anticipated. Sometimes all the window joinery has failed throughout the house, and there is water under every window! Unless you have the right equipment, you most likely will have no idea.

Recently I went out to a job in a very wealthy area in the Bombay Hills area of Auckland, and the home owner had just had a re-cladding company quote him $167,000 to reclad the building… and do you know what their justification for this price was? To bring it up to the standard of the new building code!  Hey?

After doing a complete moisture test on this plaster home, it turns out one window was leaking, some drainage needed to be installed around the base of the cladding, and one section of wall needed to be re-meshed and a coat paint over the top… maybe $20,000 work in total, if that. So unless you get an independant inspection from a company that doesn’t sell re-cladding services, you may be getting biased information.

The above company were certianly right that the building was built to the old building code, but the home owner is under no obligation to convert it to the new code if it’s not a leaky building!

If your wondering if you live in a leaky building right now, and your home was built between 1992 and 2004, then it’s worth a ‘quick scan’ thermal imaging inspection for the peace of mind if anything.

Infrared Building Surveys – What’s Included?

Are you considering hiring a professional infrared building survey company?

What’s included in the quote?

One of the common questions people will ask when calling for a free quote, is “What do you do during the infrared building inspection?”.

You will see exactly what’s included on our ‘contact us’ page, but before that, it’s also important to know what the purpose of an infrared building inspection report is, and why you actually want to get it done in the first place… because most people just hear about thermal imaging, and go with the flow without understanding what it’s actually about and how infrared cameras work to benefit you.

When you walk into a house and look at the ceiling, what do you see? You most likely see some gib board and lighting… and that’s all we would see also. Using an infrared camera, this is what we see (that dark spot is a hidden leak)….

ceiling parapet leak

What about when you look around the walls of the home during your initial visit to the home? You see windows and walls… that’s about it. During an infrared thermal imaging building survey, this is what the walls look like…

Infrared Building Wall Frame Image

How’s the house looking for insulation… how do you know if there is insulation in a wall or ceiling space of a house? Here’s what we see in your potential future house…

See how the external wall is a different temperature to the ceiling? No ceiling insulation.
See how the external wall is a different temperature to the ceiling? No ceiling insulation.

These pictures taken in NZ houses demonstrate how the infrared camera gets a completely different ‘view’ of the house to what standard building inspection survey companies will see.

Our infrared house inspection surveys will detect all kinds of annomalies behind walls that are impossible for the human eye to see… and we also deploy back up moisture testing methods during our building survey to achieve the best possible results we can without needing to put holes through the wall.

Read more about what’s included on the contact us page.

Building Inspectors Auckland – Which Company?

Are you looking for home inspection services in Auckland?

When buying real estate in Auckland (or anywhere in NZ), you seriously need to ask the right questions when booking the inspection before the building inspector turns up!

Why do I mention this?

As time goes by, and after completing 100’s and 100’s of infrared building inspections all over NZ, I get to meet lots of real estate agents who have also seen all types of building inspectors… and how they go about their work. 

Take a read of this!…

Recenting an agent was telling me about an Auckland building inspection company who also does moisture testing. The inspector arrives at the property and begins the job… and the buyer of the home was wondering why he wasn’t testing under the windows and around the skirting board. What was the builders answer when asked why? My knees are too old to get down that low? HEY? That is just not right in my opinion. If you are in this business of real estate home inspections, then you must know that one of the most common causes of leaks is window joinery failure… and wicking of moisture back up under the cladding into the bottom plate of timber.

So in summary, he was “too old” to test the most critical areas for damp and leaks etc. Hmmm.

Next… What about the roof? How is he going to get on his ladder? You can guess the end of this story right? He didn’t even pull the ladder out… even for a visual scan of the roof from the top of the ladder.

When booking your home inspection, maybe ask if you can see proof of at least 20-30 testimonials from other clients… if they can’t provide you with that, then they possibly haven’t been in business long enough, or they aren’t doing an outstanding job.

How Much Does an Infrared Building Inspection Cost?

Are you paying too much for your building inspection?

The reason I decided to write this article, is because a real estate agent who was present with me during a recent infrared building inspection made an interesting observation.

She said “How much do you charge for an infrared building inspection?”

I gave her the figure based on the size of the house we were inspecting at the time, and to my surprise, she said “That’s half the price of what some other companies are charging for a similar inspection!”. Now I can’t speak for other companies and how they operate, but she said my inspection is very similar to what most other companies do… and she has obviously seen plenty of pre purchase moisture tests over her 27yrs in the business.

There is no set inspection price to charge clients in our industry, and what you get for your money can vary… so make sure you do your homework.

How much does a building inspection cost?

Generally, it’s based on the size of the house and what you require. For example, if you don’t require a written report (verbal inspection), then our company charges less because time has been saved not having to put the report together.

Be sensible before making a decision on which home inspection company to use. Take a look at the company testimonials, check out their ‘about us’ page, make sure they specialise in what they do, and take a good look at example of their work. AND… make sure they don’t offer further services to fix the problems once they find them… because some companies may have a cheap building inspection fee up front, then sell you services to fix the leaks, or sell you whatever else they can to make more money out of the job.

An example of what I’m talking about here, is a home I inspected in Mt Roskill recently which had signs of two leaks under each end of a single window. Instead of doing an invasive test first (logical way to go), some local builder came around and told the home owner he will need to take out ALL the windows around the whole house and install sill flashings. Hmmmm.

Make sure you get multiple quotes for any type of remedial work that needs doing on your home… prices can vary wildly for the exact same job.

We quote you a fixed price over the phone… and it doesn’t change once we get there!

Should I Use the Building Inspector Which My Real Estate Agents Refers?

The process of buying a home in NZ is not as easy as it appears, so if you are in the market to buy a property, you might like to read this!

If you like a particular home and get your offer accepted, should you hire a building inspection company which the real estate agent recommends?

Well… if you ask the client that I did a building moisture inspection for yesterday, then he’ll tell you a big NO! Here’s what happened…

To start with, let me say that the good real estate agents will always suggest getting a building and moisture inspection anyway, for your sake and their reputation.  But, if they go on and give you the name of an building consultant to do the inspection, then be careful. Most inspectors will do the right thing either way… but like in any industry, there’s the odd ‘loose cannon’ who simply needs to make a dollar fast. That’s not who you want to hire.

My client purchased a monolithic cladding townhouse, and the inspector ‘verbally’ told the client that there was no need for a moisture test on the home because the paintwork was in good condition. Are you kidding me! Any building inspection company in NZ should know that these types of buildings could be leaky buildings. In my opinion, the building inspector is asking for trouble telling people no moisture test in needed with plaster homes.

Even if the paintwork looks good (He also failed to see a very large crack in the cladding), you can still have window joinery failures which lets water down into the wall and onto the timber. And guess what? That’s exactly what happened in this case.

Due to the fact the builder/building inspector ‘verbally’ said not to worry about it, then the buyer has no real come back because  it’s not in writing… and second to that, the new home owner was beginning to wonder if the inspector and real estate agent were working in together, because the buyer wasn’t there through any of this process… it was all  ‘organised’ through the agent.

The end result was that I found moisture IN THE UNTREATED TIMBER under one of the windows, and it extended right down the timber stud to the bottom plate. Although this area was isolated and it shouldn’t cost much to fix, it’s still something you need to know prior to purchasing.

Always choose an inspector who offers a non-biased opinion… be it a structural building inspection, or an infrared thermal imaging test.