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General Building

Leaky Homes


At what stage do I involve a builder?

Some builders will only want to talk to you once you have “working drawings”.  At Reliant, we prefer to become involved in discussions as soon as possible, preferably before you see an architect or draughtsman.  By understanding all the costs associated with building a home, we often save clients tens of thousands of dollars in the long run, by advising on design and materials to achieve the look and feel you want within your budget.

Architect vs. Draughtsman

An architect has an university degree and often charges a higher rate than a draughtsman.  Both trades are qualified to draw plans, from concept through to working drawings to obtain a building consent.  In this instance, we believe creativity and skill is more about the person than the qualification. 

What are the different Contract Options available when building?

There are generally four contract options which are:

  1. Full Contract
    The builder provides you with a written “fixed price” quote to complete the project from start to finish.  With a full contract, the builder will organise everything from sub-contractors to building inspections, through to obtaining your final code of compliance.  This contract allows you to be involved as much as you like, without any pressure or stress associated with hiring and supervising sub contractors or organising the right people to be on site at the right time.  You know exactly what the project will cost and any overruns are the builder’s problem, not yours.
  2. Cost Plus  
    The cost of materials plus a builder’s margin.  It’s like a “pay as you go”;  there are no guarantees on costs.
  3. Labour Only
    *   This contract is to supply the builder’s/carpenter’s labour only for your project. 
    *   For Cost Plus and Labour only contract options, you will need to hire all the subcontractors yourself and also hire a separate Project Manager, unless you have the time and knowledge to manage the entire project yourself.  This type of contract can be extremely time consuming, expensive and very stressful.
  4. Project Management
    A project manager is paid a set fee to manage, organise and oversee the entire building project for you.  Your project manager will arrange for all the materials to be delivered on site at the appropriate times and also organise all the subcontractors when they are needed.   

Paying for the building project – How does it work?

Payment options depend entirely on the type of contract you have chosen.  With a full contract, you only ever make payments to one company; usually progress payments made at specific stages of the project.  When you receive a written full contract quote from Reliant, we will provide you with a progress payment schedule and also a construction schedule, so you know what to expect and when to expect it. 

What insurances are required for my building project?

Any reputable builder will take out a “Public Liability” insurance and a “Contractors All Risk” insurance.  If work is being done to an existing property, your builder will discuss the best insurance options with you to protect your existing property.

How can I keep the building project within our budget?

The only way to keep your project within your budget, is to enter into a full contract, fixed price agreement with your builder.  Discuss all the PC Sums and work out if you are likely to spend more on these items than what the builder has allowed, for example kitchens and carpets can vary hugely depending on what you want. 

Some of the extra costs to the home owner that can be overlooked and are generally not included in a quote are: landscaping and lawns, washing lines, letter boxes, curtains and blinds.  These items can add up very quickly.

How do I get started?

To get started, simply phone Craig now on 537 1018 or email to craig@reliantgroup.co.nz

Can I use my own subcontractors?

Absolutely, if you choose to use Reliant.  Some builders and building companies do prefer to use their own contractors.



How do I know if I have a leaky home?

Sometimes you can see visible signs of moisture damage, like a crack in the plaster or water marks on your plaster or internal paint.  Unfortunately, many “leaky homes” show no signs of moisture related issues or leaks until the damage is substantial.  In September 2003 a requirement for a cavity system was put into place under The Building Act:  any plaster home built before 2003 should be professionally checked for moisture related issues and leaks.

How long to complete a reclad?

Approximately 12 weeks.  For a particularly large home, this can be longer.

If the timber used to build my home is treated, is the house OK?

Treated timber will last a little longer than untreated timber until it rots.  Over an extended period of time, treated timber can still rot when exposed to moisture.

I don’t have a Code of Compliance for my home, what can I do?

You need to contact your local City Council and request a final inspection.  If any issues are found, you will be issued with a notice of what needs to be fixed.  At this point you can contact a builder to discuss in further detail what needs to happen from here.

Are there health risks to living in a leaky home?

Yes absolutely!  There are vast amounts of information and articles on this issue on the internet.  For more information please contact Craig at craig@reliantgroup.co.nz or visit www.dbh.govt.nz

What are the structural risks to my home if it’s leaking and not repaired?

Structural risks are a serious issue if a leak is not discovered and the timber begins to rot.  There are many “load points” within your wall framing; if these areas are weakened from rot, then your house can become extremely unsafe.  As the moisture damage and rot spreads and increases, so does the cost of repairs.   

Who is responsible for my leaky home?

As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to keep it maintained.  However, there are a number of issues that are responsible for “leaky home syndrome”.  Some of these are specific building products, poor workmanship, design and fine detailing that has been overlooked during construction.   More information below:

How can I claim the cost of repairs for my leaky home?

If your home was built within the last 10 years, you are likely to be eligible to put a claim into the WHRS (Weathertight Homes Resolution Service), for the cost of repairs.  The costs are then claimed through various methods like the Disputes Tribunal and High Court.

For further information about claiming the costs to repair a leaky home, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing by telephone or go to www.dbh.govt.nz.  We also recommend you discuss your situation with your solicitor as soon as possible.  Please call Craig anytime on 537 1018 or 0274 394 356 for further advice.

Do I have to leave my home during the repair process?

Some people choose to remain in their home during the repair or recladding process, but we do recommend you find alternative living arrangements.  During the recladding process there will be scaffolding, window removal, tarpaulins, and lots of dust.  It is a building site, so there can be potential safety issues, particularly if you have children.

Do I have to get plans drawn up to repair my home and do I need a building consent from my local City Council?

Yes, absolutely.

Can I get a fixed price quote?

Yes and no.  A fixed price cannot be given for timber replacement as this is unknown until the framing is exposed.  Timber replacement is different for every house as dependent on timber treatment, the amount of rot in the timber, the amount of time the timber has been exposed to moisture and the amount of moisture that has been exposed to the timber. 

Are there other leaky home owners I can talk to?

We are very happy to provide you with a list of names and contact numbers for our clients who have or are going through the repair process; you can also contact the Leaky Homes Action Group.