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Leaky Home Scare: Scientist, MP Should Apologise

News release
19 August 2005

Scientist & MP Called Upon To Apologise For Leaky Homes Scare

The MP and scientist who last month alleged 10,000 homeowners were in for a repeat of the leaky home crisis are being called on to apologise after failing to provide any evidence to back their claims.

A five week investigation by the Department of Building and Housing into the effectiveness and approval of the TimberSaver wood preservative has failed to uncover any evidence that the product is ‘a con’ and should not have been approved for use as claimed by National MP Nick Smith.

At no time prior to making his allegations did Dr Smith seek any information about TimberSaver from the product’s manufacturer or independent appraiser.

Instead, Dr Smith based his allegations upon information from Dr Wakeling, who has subsequently admitted working for a rival chemical manufacturer. It stands to gain commercially from his attempt to discredit TimberSaver.

Commenting on a report released today by the Department of Building and Housing, Osmose Technical Sales Manager, Terry Smith said the performance testing and thorough accreditation process undertaken by the company and the Building Industry Association was also proven to be sound and correct.

“It is concerning that despite having complied with all the required regulations and processes to have TimberSaver accredited, it has been the subject of these serious but unsubstantiated allegations regarding its effectiveness against borer and decay.

“These allegations have not been substantiated with any shred of evidence, either in this report or elsewhere,” said Smith.

“Even more concerning is the angst and uncertainty homeowners and the entire building industry have suffered because of these unfounded claims that the product was ‘a con’ and it is now up to the individuals responsible to make a public apology.”

TimberSaver is the only timber-framing product with a preservative treatment that has been reviewed against the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code.

The Department’s report has not identified any failures with the product or reasons to withdraw TimberSaver’s accreditation and has not found any evidence that TimberSaver boron does not perform.

While TimberSaver had already been peer reviewed by two independent international experts as part of the extensive accreditation process, the report recommends BRANZ undertake a third review.

An independent review has also found that the BIA followed the appropriate steps to accredit TimberSaver.

“Waiting until later this year to conclude the BRANZ investigation adds unnecessary delay since the Department has not identified any fault or any reason to withdraw TimberSaver from the market after five weeks of investigation,” said Smith.

Smith said the company supports recommendations made in the report to effectively determine exposure to weathering and to ensure that builders and merchants were aware of when and how the product should be used.

“The report clearly states that Osmose has made information on the proper use of TimberSaver readily available to designers and builders through information sheets and that the conditions of use for TimberSaver are more clearly defined and precisely stated than for other forms of treated timber.

“Part of the accreditation required that TimberSaver carried its unique orange colouring and additional branding in order for it to be readily identifiable on a building site,” said Smith.

“We are confident that the BRANZ review will again confirm the robustness of our product and believe it should be completed without any further delays,” said Smith.


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