The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Building Performance website has information on the resolution of weathertight building issues that should be referred to.

As a part of resolution, the option of utilising the Government’s leaky homes Financial Assistance Package (FAP) is available to homeowners in Christchurch.

Under the package, qualifying homeowners will receive a 25 per cent contribution from the Government and may receive a further 25 per cent contribution from the Christchurch City Council, each towards the cost of repairs. The contributions will be based on actual repair costs. Qualifying claimants will also need to demonstrate they can afford their share of these costs.

Homeowners who wish to know whether they qualify for the package should visit the (MBIE) Building and Performance webpage on FAP.

Even though Christchurch is one of the least affected by weathertight claims of New Zealand’s major cities, there are further complications for Christchurch residents who also have earthquake damage to their homes.

Information on homeowner eligibility for weathertight claims can be found on the MBIE Building Performance website.

Discovering a leaky home following earthquake damage

Many homes in Christchurch have been badly damaged following the earthquakes. Some people may discover their home has weathertight issues after removing linings to assess this earthquake damage.

There are two main potential causes for the weathertight issues:

1. The earthquakes may have damaged the envelope of the home, allowing moisture to penetrate the outer protection. This should form part of your earthquake claim with the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

  • If it did not form part of your original EQC scope of works, it is important to establish when and how this damage occurred. This can be determined by a suitably qualified professional, such as a Registered Building Surveyor; or

2. If the damage pre-dates the earthquakes, and your home has been built or altered in the last 10 years, you may be eligible to make a claim (e.g. WHRS/FAP) for the non-earthquake damage caused by leaks, dampness or mould.

  • As soon as this damage is discovered, stop work and photograph and note the damage. Then, if applicable, temporarily protect the area from adverse weather.

Tips for maintaining a weathertight home

The Council advises homeowners to be active in maintaining their properties to prevent potential future damage from leaks, dampness and mould.

Below are some key guidelines to assist homeowners with property maintenance:

  • All home exteriors should be regularly maintained (ideally every three to six months).
  • This includes cleaning exterior surfaces, inspecting surfaces and joints for gaps or damage, and repairing or replacing materials when necessary.
  • Exterior maintenance is a year-round on-going process, although tasks such as clearing spouting, repainting and replacing sealants are best undertaken in the drier months.
  • Monolithic clad homes, with proprietary cladding systems, should be inspected regularly, and it is recommended that recoating should occur every five to ten years, depending on the system. This maintenance is usually part of the manufacturer's warranty conditions.
  • Stucco (or Solid Plaster) cladding should be inspected annually for any signs of deterioration. Typical maintenance issues that may arise are: impact damage, loss of adhesion between plaster coats due to shrinkage, surface staining (due to concentrated water run-off, need to clean walls, corrosion of reinforcing mesh in the stucco), alkaline water run-off from cement plaster onto aluminium and glass, sealant cracking due to movement or weathering, plaster cracking due to movement.
  • Using a certified tradesman for these jobs may be a good investment to prevent the risk of damage from an unsuccessful DIY job.
  • If you think your home has a leak that needs repair work, make sure you 'shop around' and get a number of quotes from various quality certified builders.

For more information around weathertightness and further tips and guidelines for protecting your property against leaks and water damage visit the MBIE Building Performance website.