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.