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Uni & Visiting Experts to Look at Leaky Buildings

Media Information: 14 June 2005

Uni & Visiting Experts to Look at Leaky Building Crisis

The country’s leaky building issue is being tackled head on, with the inaugural Leaky Buildings Symposium organised by the University of Auckland.

The Symposium, which will be held on July 18 and 19, has attracted two of the world’s most respected experts: Canadians Dr John Straube and Dr Joseph Lsitburek.

Both have been key players in the Canadian leaky building saga and will present their current thinking as well as the latest world research.

Dr Straube is a director of the University of Waterloo (Canada) Building Engineering Group that undertakes R&D for the building industry whilst Dr Lsitburek is a forensic engineer who investigates building failures.

Auckland University’s Prof. Geoff Duffy, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean Engineering Research, is one of the proponents of the Symposium. Prof Duffy and his team at the University have been involved in research into moisture effects, accumulation and transport mechanisms for some time.

“We are not looking for ‘who’s to blame’. We need to cut a swathe through all the talk and dishonesty and get through this minefield to create a platform of truth so we can build solutions ,” says Prof. Duffy.

Prof Duffy says the subject is controversial, complex and varied.

“We aim to table the issues, face up to the reality that there is no single blame and cause ,or single solution and then work together to find the best possible outcome for this iceberg of a problem.

“There has been valuable research done both here in NZ and overseas and this will be presented in the light of building future buildings right first time.”

The Symposium will cover the scientific causes of leaky buildings, practical ways of fixing them, legal issues surrounding the situation and converge on the vision of industry leaders in ensuring quality homes for all New Zealanders.

Registrations are on


Notes for editors:

John Straube, B.A.Sc. M.A.Sc. Ph.D. (University of Waterloo) is well experienced in building design and construction.

He has a joint appointment with the Civil Engineering Department and the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo in Canada, where he teaches courses in material science, structural design, and building science to both disciplines.

He is a prolific writer and presenter authoring over 20 conference papers, many articles and has delivered over a hundred presentations around North America on building science.

He is the director of Building Engineering Group (BEG) at the University of Waterloo, a multi-disciplinary research group that undertakes research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) for the building industry. BEG is a non-profit and non-proprietary organization within the Civil Engineering Department at U.W. and operating together with the School of Architecture. He also runs his own consulting firm Balanced Solutions. Dr Straube is an Associate Member of ASHRAE.

Joseph Lstiburek, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., Ph.D. (University of Toronto) is a principal of Building Science Corporation and an acclaimed public speaker and lecturer in building science.

He is a forensic engineer who investigates building failures and is internationally recognized as an authority on moisture related building problems and indoor air quality.

He is a member of ASTM and the past chairman of ASTM E241 - Increasing the Durability of Building Assemblies from Moisture Induced Damage. He is a contributor and reviewer of Chapters 21 and 22 of ASHRAE Fundamentals and a voting member of ASHRAE Standard 62 – Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality.

He is also a voting member of ASHRAE Technical Committee 4.3 Ventilation Requirements and Infiltration and ASHRAE Technical Committee 4.4 Building Materials and Building Envelope Performance.

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