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Research Finds Help For Rotting Homes

15 April 2002

An answer to the problems of rot in some New Zealand homes may be at hand, with the successful development of a new ventilated cavity system.

Koolfoam, an Auckland based manufacturer of expanded polystyrene for the construction and packaging industries has drawn on more than 21 years experience for the development of the system.

Polystyrene sits behind the weatherboard or any exterior cladding, creating a cavity leading to specially designed drainage plane to draw any moisture leaks back outside, away from the timber framing."

A grant of $41,000 from Technology New Zealand, through its Grants for Private Sector Research and Development Scheme (GPSRD), helped the company establish that the system worked.

Mark Maiden, Koolfoam's General Manager, says the results from field-testing on a full-scale wall, exposed over time to the elements have been positive and some further refinements have been made.

"It was important to create something that was simple to install, particularly with new architectural styles which don't have eaves. Our goal was to find a simple, effective solution that accounted for human error in building, and helped avoid leaks coming into contact with timber framing structures," he says.

Mr Maiden says the product won't add significant costs to building, but that it will provide an added safeguard to untreated timber, which can support a high degree of fungal attack and is regularly used in building.

The company will manufacture locally for the New Zealand market, but expects to export the technology eventually.


a.. This is the newest scheme run under the Technology New Zealand
b.. Grants are targeted specifically to technologically aware SMEs
(usually less than $50m turnover). The aim is to increase the level of
private sector expenditure of R&D.
c.. Support of up to 33.3% of R&D costs, to a maximum of $100,000 is
available for qualifying projects.
d.. Latest figures show that around $1.5m per month is being invested in
private sector R&D projects by GPSRD.
e.. The scheme has allocated over $23.6 m. to 399 companies to the end
of February 2002, since it was launched in September 2000
§ GPSRD is the first of the Technology New Zealand schemes to
operate exclusively via the Internet, with initial registration through
its website,

About Technology New Zealand:

a.. Technology New Zealand is a set of government-funded business support schemes encouraging R&D in business. b.. Around $35 million is available each year to help companies develop new products or processes, build human capital within businesses and provide access to information and expertise

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