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Proposed Changes on Timber Treatment Miss the Mark

Proposed Changes on Timber Treatment Miss the Mark

Higher levels of treated timber should only be mandatory in high risk situations, not throughout every new house built says Building Industry Federation Chairman Richard Carver.

Standards New Zealand last night released a proposed new standard that would require all framing timber in new homes to be treated to an 'H1.2' standard.

Richard Carver said the proposal was excessive and would send shock waves through the industry and cause confusion and extra costs for consumers.

"It is now an established fact that almost all leaky homes problems are caused by just a few high-risk design, construction and cladding styles, as well as poor workmanship. Any intelligent solution should therefore be aimed at that slither of combinations that are creating the unacceptable problems caused by leaky buildings," Mr Carver said.

If the new standard is adopted, BIF believes home owners could face a double whammy of direct cost increases of at least $1500 on a new home for increased treatment costs and possible devaluation of the 230,000 homes built since 1992 using untreated timber, an acceptable solution under the current Building Code.

"There is no justification for the use of unnecessary chemicals when chemical treatment of timber framing is not required for 99% of homes. In Vancouver, where authorities began dealing with this issue some 15 years ago, untreated timber is still used in the majority of new home construction," Mr Carver said.

In calling for the committee to re-consider its proposed standard for H1.2 timber framing throughout new homes, Mr Carver said that the industry, developers, builders and home-owners faced a period of uncertainty while the changes to the standard were being considered.

Mr Carver says there are other long term effects for local timber producers and forest owners, particularly in the South Island as a result of the proposed standard.

"The building industry in the South Island use quantities of Douglas Fir which is generally considered untreatable to H1 standard. If the proposed changes are applied to Douglas Fir it could mean business failures and loss of jobs in areas that rely on these species," Mr Carver said.

"While we clearly need to solve the problems for the 1% of homeowners who have experienced the stress and uncertainty of leaky homes, we must also protect the interests of the 99% of those who have experienced no such problems and prevent unnecessary disruption to one of New Zealand's most significant industries."

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