Why You Shouldn’t Re-Clad Your Home

No-one is immune from buying leaky homes

In this situation, a Real Estate Agent who knew the builder who built the building in question. Once it was built the agent sold the property. She then sold the building again – then the third time it was sold she bought it herself. She then found out the building had a high number of leaks and timber damage – from detailing and design problems that were likely there since construction. This shows that anyone can be caught out by this issue – despite having a deep involvement in the industry.


Success Stories

These case studies below are just some of the thousands of properties that have used the proactive building management system to successfully protect and enhance their building and market value. You will see that every one of them is a plaster-clad home and that they have been successfully sold for above their current CV – backed up by the great results we found in their properties using the Mdu Probe System.
Its easy to protect your property value with the Mdu Probe System

Building Expert specifies Mdu Probes

Below is an extract of a high-ranking Building Expert specifying Mdu Probes as part of targeted repairs and to protect timber from extensive damage from future leaks:

“MONITORING: If the targeted repairs option is selected, and there is a possibility of your continuing to live in or own the apartment, I would recommend you have a permanent monitoring system installed as soon as possible. A system such as that offered by Moisture Detection Ltd (Mdu Probe System) is likely to identify the needs for additional repairs, and can provide early warning of problems and a chance to carry out repairs before extensive framing damage takes place.”

Additionally, should the owners choose to follow a full reclad approach to their building remediation, then they would be well advised to install the Mdu Probe System as an excellent method to do the same thing – to check on works and address any future leaks that may happen in the future and provide total peace of mind for the current and future owners.

Purchasers pull out when vendor is unwilling to have the Mdu Probe System installed

Below is a recent case where the purchasers of a plaster home were seeking assurances as to the condition and health of the property. Their investigations and advice led them to request the Mdu Probe System be installed as part of their due diligence. However the vendors refused and the purchasers are now prudently taking their business elsewhere, for the reasons explained by the purchaser in the below email:

From: David (PURCHASER)
Subject: RE: Mdu PROBE System for “xxxxxxx”

Hi there,

Just to let you know the sale has fallen through.
The vendors have refused to allow us to do due diligence (i.e. install the Mdu Probe System), as recommended by our inspectors and legal representative. Two reasons were presented by the owners:
1) the probes are too invasive, and
2) that we might use the results to insist that remedial work is completed.

We can only assume that they either have something to hide, or don’t understand the realities of selling a plaster clad house in NZ.

Thanks for your time. We will now look at other properties.


Plaster home stigma may cost NZers more than actual leaky home issues

The construction of a generation of leaky buildings was a huge, and still unexplainable embarrassment for which no-one has been held to account.  There are many cases of badly damaged houses where owners have inherited major problems that need urgent and extensive repairs. These owners may or may not have had the ability to receive some compensation but almost always end up out of pocket to some extent.

However even more worrying, is that the message of “recladding is the only way” of fixing problem houses is wiping BILLIONS off the value of the remaining built infrastructure of our country through “leaky building stigma” – and this dwarfs the cost of the Christchurch rebuild. Unless this path and message are corrected, then ordinary NZers will continue to lose their wealth, retirement fund and nest eggs. Cumulatively this will mean NZers will be over $15 billion dollars out of pocket.

Put in perspective, this cost dwarfs the income generated by the planned SOE sell-down (estimated $5 – $7 billion – www.interest.co.nz ). Why would a country sell off its public assets for $5 – $7 billion at the same time as letting the remaining private residential assets be devalued by over $15 billion? It doesn’t make sense.

While there are many technical issues surrounding this debate, the reality is simple: not all plaster clad buildings have major issues requiring reclads. There has been a dramatic over-estimation of the number of buildings and size of the problem, which is fanning the flames of fear and condemning perfectly good homes. It has been proven factually time and time again that most buildings do not have major problems and can be easily looked after with the help of the right technology and approach. Also, there are reliable ways to discern problem houses from good ones with certainty and without damage (www.mduprobe.com) – giving home purchasers certainty that they can buy with confidence.

However, this is not the message the public is being fed, and with devastating effects. Along with the Christchurch earthquake rebuild, the biggest economic issue facing the country is not in how problem buildings are being expensively remediated – it is the “reclad them all” rhetoric that is condemning and DEVALUING ALL of the tens if not hundreds of thousands of plaster-clad NZ homes that in fact do not need extensive remediation. The mums and dads investors of these houses are now victimised and faced with the impossible situation of having hundreds of thousands of dollars wiped off the value of their sound buildings – yet there is no major physical damage or problems.

Many of you or someone you know will own a plaster-clad home from what is defined as the “at-risk” time period – from 1992 to 2004. “Official estimates” are arguing that 90% of these plaster-clad buildings need to be completely reclad – irrespective of how well they’re performing. But a much lower percentage actually have this level of problems – and the rest are being unfairly tarred with the same brush.

This issue touches many many people across New Zealand. This is not specifically a “building” problem, and it’s not specifically a “housing” problem, what this issue revolves around is more of a “property” and “investment” problem – and the erasing of hard-earned value in our infrastructure that NZers are being duped into devaluing and rebuilding. These homes are also typically the major asset in a family so their wealth evaporates. This must stop.

While this is contrary to the “official position”, this argument has the backing of a large number of professionals in the building industry right across the board who can speak from personal experience.  They are involved with all aspects including investigation, maintenance, targeted repairs, partial-reclads and full-reclads.

The rights of the hundreds of thousands of property owners and the protecting the generated wealth of the nation is at stake. This has been and will remain an issue of significance for many years for plaster homeowners. Over $15 billion will be wiped from New Zealand’s bottom line and remove any benefit state asset sales will have to New Zealand’s financial position. This is an issue that the government needs be taking very seriously as it starts to sell down its prime assets to make ends meet – unless the leaky home stigma problem is addressed quickly more and more NZers will continue to lose their life savings for no good reason.

Fascias-style guttering leak internally

Fascia-style gutters causing water to run into the building

Guttering can be a hidden leaky building danger in many ‘low-risk’ homes

Fascia-style (hidden) guttering systems pose risks of causing leaks to come into building walls and cause rot and leaky building syndrome. Because of their design and construction, small defects of installation or blocked drainpipes can cause overflows into the building. For example the back edge of the internally-mounted plastic guttering system may be cut too low and this becomes the first overflow point. Similarly over time the plastic can warp, causing low points along the wall. Excess rainwater from a blockage during heavy rain will overflow at low-points first. Then it will track where the surrounding materials guide it. If the surrounding soffit has even a slight tilt towards the house, this directs substantial amounts of roof water run-off into the walls and ceilings, causing leaks and encouraging rot. Unless the owner is aware of this happening, it could continue for years unnoticed.

An example where the fascia-style guttering has overflowed or leaked causing moisture to build up on the soffit liner. It is unclear whether water has entered the building walls. Mold can be seen growing on the soffit liner at the multiple locations where the gutters leak

Compare this design approach to traditional externally-mounted guttering systems. These are usually designed as ‘fail-safe’ in that if there is a blockage somewhere, water will overflow away from the building. This does no harm to the building, and will alert the owner to a problem.


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The aim of this blog is to keep everyone up-to-date on what is going on with houses in New Zealand. We will be posting news, advises, case studies and more here!