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Industry Committed To Weather Proof Housing

16 May, 2002

Building Industry Committed To Weather Proof Housing

The collective expertise and experience of the building industry that represents approximately eight percent of the New Zealand domestic economy is now engaged in finding solutions to the problem of “weather tightness” associated with some new housing.

The chairman of the New Zealand Building Industry Federation (BIF), Mr Richard Carver, said today that credible and well established companies involved in the federation were committed to a full review of the problem.

He said the focal point for action was the Weathertight Buildings Steering Group. This group has the full backing of the BIF, the Construction Industry Liaison Group and the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ).

“Because we believe that the weather tight problem is not one that can be attributed to a performance failure by any specific sector of the industry, the steering group’s composition comprising representatives of a range of interests -- builders, material suppliers, design specialists and industry related service companies -- is the best placed forum for sensible balanced statements to come from.

“Through the activities of the steering group, the industry aims to get a detailed understanding of why the problem has arisen and how it can best be avoided in future. Once we have the group’s views and recommendations we are committed to moving forward for the best interests of all parties, including most importantly home owners.”

Mr Carver said he could not put a time frame on the group’s deliberations but expected an interim report within the next two months.

“In the meantime, it is essential in our view that homeowners understand the real issues behind leaking buildings. The facts are that some buildings leak, new and old alike. We believe the problem for some types of construction may have become worse in recent years, say the last eight, due to a combination of contributing factors that when combined on the one house make the risk of leaks greater, and the resulting damage potentially more extreme.

“Where less than ideal design, workmanship, materials and fixing in an exposed situation, or a combination of these four things arise, there may be a problem. When a problem arises the homeowner should contact the original builder who built the dwelling for a solution.

“It must be remembered that the problem is isolated to new houses that have a combination of the above four issues. Put another way, the majority of all new houses will not have any major problems.

“All of the broader issues raised are being, or need to be, worked on collectively by the building industry. The fix is not easy and who ultimately pays is even more complicated.

“All parties who are responsible for the issues need to be part of the ultimate solution to the problem and the rectification of current issues. BIF would prefer that all commentators on this issue swing behind the recommendations of the steering group.

“Our best advice to anyone thinking of building a new home is to ensure that the house design, workmanship and materials selection are carefully considered before building starts.

“The BIF would recommend current and potential home owners to visit the Weathertight Buildings Steering Group web site (www.weathertight.org.nz) to gain a greater understanding of the likely risks that can arise.” - ENDS

The New Zealand Building Industry Federation (BIF) is an independent body that represents industry participants including manufacturers, importers, distributors, construction companies, legal, financial and other service providers as they relate to,
and impact on, the building industry. The industry represents eight to 10 percent of New Zealand gross domestic product. BIF is dedicated to supporting, promoting and advancing the needs of the wider building industry.


Note for Editors:

The Board of Directors of the New Zealand Building Industry Federation comprises: Mr Richard Carver, Chief Executive of Carters; Dr Allan Nichols, Chief Executive Officer of BRANZ; Mr Tom Nickels, General Manager Australasian & Asian Consumer Solutions, Fletcher Challenge Forests; Mr Richard Percy, General Manager, Ajax Group; Mr Andrew Reding, Chief Operating Officer, Building Products Group, Fletcher Building Limited; Mr Bill Smith, General Manager, Tasman Insulation New Zealand. The Executive Director is Mr Kevin Marevich.

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