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Builtin New Zealand - WaterTight Warranty for Leaky Homes

Builtin New Zealand - WaterTight Warranty for Leaky Homes

2nd November 2011

Today Builtin New Zealand announced the launch of their WaterTight Warranty, covering repair work to leaky homes.

More than two years after the government announced a new home warranty system to protect homeowners the first warranty covering leaky home repairs has been launched.

Various estimates put the number of leaky buildings in New Zealand between 42,000 to 89,000, with a potential cost of up to $23 billion.

Jim Rickard, Director of Builtin, says “we’ve seen many cases of people who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on repairs, only to discover secondary failures, often within 12 months of the original remediation. We’re now hearing reports of tertiary failures”.

Builtin has ten years experience managing the HomeFirst Builders Guarantee for both new houses and alterations. “We see this as a natural extension of the work we already do.

Our guarantees provide reassurance to homeowners that if anything happens during or after their building work, and their builder is no longer around to put it right, the guarantee will step in to do so.”

Owners of leaky homes are often unable to sell because of the risk associated with them, or are forced to sell at substantially reduced prices.

Many prospective buyers now won’t bother going in to a property if it even looks like it could be leaky. Because the risk of being a leaky home is often associated with specific design features, this has affected even those homes that aren’t leaky. These design features can include Mediterranean styling, monolithic claddings, parapet or flat roofs and closed balustrades.

“Overseas examples show that having a robust home warranty scheme in place is central to good building practice”, says John Gray, President of the Homeowners & Buyers Association of New Zealand (HOBANZ), who have been campaigning on behalf of leaky home owners for more than five years. “It’s great to finally see a product that provides this protection for homeowners. An independent warranty system will also help raise the standard of repair work being undertaken around the country”.

Having a warranty goes a long way in providing confidence to potential purchasers of a home. It reassures them that if anything were to go wrong in the future they will have the support of the guarantor to rectify it.

“We expect repaired leaky homes that have a warranty in place to sell faster and for substantially more than they otherwise would because of this reassurance”, says Mr Rickard.

The WaterTight Warranty is underwritten by CBL Insurance Limited, a New Zealand insurance company that specialises in credit surety, performance bonds and builders risk insurance worldwide. CBL also insure the HomeFirst Builders Guarantee. They have nearly 40 years experience in this industry and are Standard & Poor’s rated. CBL’s Managing Director Peter Harris says “our warranties protect more than one million homes worldwide, including almost ten thousand here in New Zealand. We know from experience that having a warranty in place increases property values and also helps them to sell faster.”

Chief Executive of the Certified Builders Association, Derek Baxter, endorses the warranty. “We’re proud of the long association we’ve had with Builtin New Zealand, who independently administer the HomeFirst Builders Guarantee that all our members can offer their clients.

The Government’s Financial Assistance Package (FAP) for leaky homeowners has also helped provide clarity to the industry. As a result we should start to see work in this area picking up strongly in 2012, which is good for both homeowners and our members.”

Builtin’s Jim Rickard states “it’s unfortunate, but with the amount of homes out there that will require repair work, there are going to be companies and individuals offering to do this work who aren’t qualified and who won’t be around in two or three years when their works fails. That’s why having an independent warranty from an Investment Grade rated insurer should be an essential part of every homeowner’s repair plan.”

The key features of the warranty include:

• Structural defects – guaranteed for ten years
• Weathertightness of the building envelope – guaranteed for five years
• Non-structural defects – guaranteed for two years
• WaterTight repairs guaranteed up to $500,000
• Loss of deposit and non-completion of the repairs
• The warranty is transferrable to another buyer, helping owners sell their houses faster and for more
• Only builders with the right experience, qualifications and skills can display the WaterTight Seal of Approval and offer the WaterTight Warranty. This means homeowners can trust a WaterTight Approved Builder to do the job right.

The website for the WaterTight Warranty is,


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