Property Managers Guide to Maintenance

Information for Property Managers

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    All buildings leak

    Don’t believe the leaky building crisis is just hurting a few unlucky home owners. If it’s monolithic cladding it’s leaking.

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    It’s about how long and how wet the framing is that matters

    Certainly treated timber helps – if you do have treated timber the equation is – how well treated, how long and how wet?

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    The sooner your maintenance plan detects the leaks the sooner you stop the rot (damage)

    Permanent moisture probes are now available to detect moisture, decay and timber treatment levels of the framing without causing any damage.

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    Damage is preventable – the sooner you detect and act the less the impact and cost

    Incorporate Probes in your maintenance plan today.  You may not have to replace everything.

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    Moisture Probes are essential - they test whether your maintenance plan has been/is effective

    If regular painting and washing down was all that was needed then how did we get a leaky building crisis? Truth is no paint job will fix defects in windows, flashings, guttering, ground lines or penetrations. The probes will detect what is defective and what is okay.

Moisture Probes don’t damage the cladding and can be monitored as repairs are done and as the building ages

Buildings that will benefit from Detection often have the following attributes

Untreated framingUntreated framing was used mainly between 1998 and 2002. Wet untreated framing can decay causing total loss of strength. Once decay has become advanced it will likely rot out fully as it dries after repairs – ie any leak can be terminal to a wall.
Treated framingBoron treatment in wood restricts germination and slows down decay advancement but is not a decay exclusion principle. Walls still need checking to ensure they don’t have defects and that repairs are successful.
High complexity roofs especially flat roofs without eaves – and decksWater gets in at joints in complex detailing around rain heads, parapet caps, flat roof laps, internal gutters, over flows, joints to claddings, at deck junctions and through membranes.
Complex windows Windows don’t often get flashed adequately allowing water in especially in windy situations around complex windows like facetted, stepped, arched, round types and large ones with flex.
No control joints in multi storey wallsCauses excessive cracking and leakage points in the cladding. Often control joints have been concealed with mouldings which aren’t weatherproof and hide the entry points.
Cracks and stains in the paintworkWater enters cracks. Moulds growing on damp surfaces are a tell tale sign.
Cladding embedded into ground linesGround and surface moisture wicks up porous claddings – sometimes a meter high wetting framing and preventing drying.
Penetrations especially sign boards, wooden beams and pipesDirect water entry at failed junctions and wicking through wooden beams keeps framing wet.
Poorly performing sealantsWater entry points.
Buildings that haven’t recently been tested Damage accelerates once it starts. The longer between tests the worse the likely condition of the framing.

What do I need to implement?

  • Install Detection equipment to test the effectiveness of your maintenance plan
  • Update your maintenance plan to incorporate Detection
  • Create a maintenance plan utilizing Detection

Start by undertaking a visual assessment to consider your buildings riskAll buildings exhibit some form of weathertightness risk – risk can never be totally eliminated – it needs managing. Define what risks your property portfolio will accept and what it doesn’t? It is not wise to deny risk exists – it is more appropriate to understand risk and take steps to reduce the cost consequences by implementing Detection so if things go wrong they are caught early.

Call us NOW to discuss your property risk and how Detection can add value by reducing long term costs and consequences.

What we offer?

  •  Visual on site risk assessment. One of our experienced weathertightness personnel will visit your properties and meet with you to discuss how you want to manage the risks identified.
  •  Moisture Detection system – permanent Mdu moisture probes. When we install probes we test moisture, treatment and framing condition in the most likely areas of risk around the whole building or area being assessed – see www.mduprobe.com
  •  Simple maintenance plans or modify your existing one to reflect findings. Where issues are found extra maintenance work may be required to stop leaks. We have policy statements to manage moisture and decay. Not all decay must be removed.
  •  Auditing work and monitoring – ongoing test of performance. As building work is completed we monitor the probes which show how well the plan is working. Maybe more work is required, maybe not.

Testing includes:  

The installation of the moisture probes involves collecting timber samples for testing. These are the basic tests:

  • Moisture Content – ONGOING
  • To probe that leaks are not present now or in the future, wetting the timber and allowing rot to develop.
  • Timber Condition and Strength
  • To probe that past or current leaks have not allowed rot to cause damage in the structure.
  • Treatment Test
  • To probe that timber is protected from future leaks.

This information is required to understand how well the building has performed to date and how likely it will in the future. If not how bad? Does it need a rebuild or something less? The benefit of undertaking dozens of tests around a building is this pinpoints where actions are needed and where things can be left. It’s not about ripping the whole building apart because of one or two bad results. The more extensive the diagnostics the more fine tuned the response.

The Mdu Probe investigation system

We use the Mdu Probe system as it’s the most reliable non-destructive and permanent investigation and Detection system available. With regular ongoing monitoring performance is no longer guesswork.

The Mdu Probe System is the smart way to check the moisture levels around the whole perimeter of the building

  • No Damage
  • Any problems can be identified.
  • Healthy areas can be proven.
  • Frame samples are collected for treatment and decay tests.
  • Ongoing moisture readings are simple & easy

See www.Mduprobe.com  for information on Mdu Probes.

Reports are included:  Results are presented online plotted onto plans, elevations and 3D viewer. A colour graphic representation allows easy understanding of results. Pinpoints where decisions are required to rectify leaks and make repairs.

Case Studies

Building Surveyor said reclad – but that was an extreme reaction. A retirement home administration, recreation and nursing station building was assessed by a building surveyor and the results were bad – so bad – reclad. Instead the property manager sought a second opinion using the Mdu Moisture Probes. Installing 150 Mdu Probes showed only 5 areas needed fixing. What was helpful was the probes also showed previous repairs had been successful so the property manager was equipped to continue doing what they started – they just needed to know where else repairs were needed – the problems were detected so they could get on with it. Nobody had to move out, no plastic covers, no loss of income. This demonstrates efficient management of buildings.

Building Surveyor

How bad is it asked a property manager of a shopping mall. His underlying concern was he has been watching other shopping malls spring up plastic covers and being reclad. This building had the same cladding system so he feared the worst. What should be budgeted to reclad and why didn’t his maintenance plan find this in time? It was welcome news when our investigations found many walls had no damage at all. Now he can concentrate on just the few areas of walls with damage. The test results pinpointed where the damage was and the extent of it so the repairs can be prioritized over the next few years income – meaning shareholders won’t get deprived of dividends.

Property Manager

Body Corp. Committee confused and sought facts they could rely on. When we were approached the committee had already tendered and received a maintenance plan as required under the new BC rules. Trouble was the building surveyor said reclad first. This was unwanted news especially after they had just repaired the decks and roofs. The committee discovered one of the owners had installed probes and was in the process of fixing her unit with maintenance. This program has now been extended to all the units. The plan is affordable so thankfully every owner is on board allowing the plan to proceed. Interestingly only a few walls need timber replacement which is to be staged over the next 5 years at owners’ choice. The driving force was the owners could not see value in the reclad.

Body Corp. Committee