Property Report: Watergate: the rot continues.

5 December 2016

As many as 90 per cent of standalone leaky homes are likely still rotting, says leaky homes specialist lawyer Tim Rainey. And tens of thousands of owners who have stuck their heads in the sand are too late for most forms of redress.

The Government's financial address package closed in July this year. Add in that once a code compliance certificate is issued, there is only a 10-year window of opportunity to file a complaint about a leaky home with the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service, and time is almost up for the majority of home owners. The whole process has been a "monumental failure", says Rainey.

The leaky home crisis was a perfect storm as a result of relaxations in the Building Act of 1991. But it's not just the buildings' designs, the lack of cavity, and the monolithic cladding that are the problem, says Gerard Ball, chartered building surveyor at Babbage.

When the building's outer layers are removed, other deficiencies are discovered such as non-compliant materials substituted for ones in the plans, and poor construction methods.

It's estimated that around 80,000 homes and apartments built between 1991 and 2005 used products and methods that have not proved weathertight. About 12,000 of those have been "remediated" (fixed) privately or with the help of government assistance, says Nick Gaites of the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors.

And the Rainey Law team says almost every street in the central city would have a leaky apartment building.

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NZIBS building inspector Gerard Ball says properties that make the grade like this one in Flat Bush, south Auckland, are increasingly few and far between.