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Homeowners Set to Pay More

Homeowners Set to Pay More if New Standard Introduced

The proposal by Standards New Zealand to require all framing timber in new houses to be treated to ‘H1.2’ levels will punish rather than protect homeowners says Carter Holt Harvey.

Devon McLean, CHH Chief Operating Officer says the draft standard on the use of timber and wood based products released for consultation last night will end up costing homeowners more for something most do not need.

“If the Building Industry Authority and Standards New Zealand insist on this ‘one size fits all’ proposal every home owner will have to pay extra when nearly all the problems have been caused by certain design and claddings combinations and workmanship that has failed to keep buildings weathertight,” says Mr McLean.

Mr McLean says blanket timber treatment is not a catch-all solution and will not prevent the concerning problems of leaky houses which are caused by poor design and building methods, and not the wood products themselves.

“A revised New Zealand Standard should instead restrict compulsory preservative treatment to the high risk areas already identified by Weathertightness Steering Group, the Hunn Report and the Parliamentary Select Committee. These included high-risk designs and claddings and higher risk situations such as external walls, balconies and decks where there is a greater potential for leaks.” says Mr McLean.

“My concern is that this proposal is more of a knee-jerk reaction than a positive long-term answer for New Zealand homeowners. Homeowners should understand that this proposal has the potential to affect the perceived value of every dwelling built since 1992 or some 230,000 homes nationwide, when the weathertightness issue affects less than 0.5% of New Zealand houses.”

The proposal also means unnecessary chemicals will now be used in design and cladding styles with a blemish-free record such as well built brick-veneer and weatherboard houses.

“There is no question Carter Holt Harvey will be able to supply H1.2 treated timber if the proposals are adopted. However, the vast majority of New Zealand homeowners should not have to pay the price for such an extreme scatter-gun approach.”

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