This section of discusses the information a designer needs before designing a remediation project that addresses the building's weathertightness issues.

It is important to obtain all the relevant information available on the building to be remediated. This forms the background of what the remedial design needs to address.

Further information should be sourced from building owners, original drawings and other documentation, and a site inspection. The primary source of information for a remediation design is the building condition and remediation report prepared by a specialist weathertightness assessor or other suitably qualified consultant.

While all sources are important, the key component of any remediation design is the report on the building’s current condition, which should include likely causes of problems, the extent of the damage and the proposed repair method. The designer should ensure that the report was carried out by an appropriately trained and qualified person such as an NZIBS Building Surveyor.

Making decisions

Once information gathering is completed, the designer should evaluate the proposed repair to determine whether:

  • all specific concerns with the building have been addressed (if not, further investigation may be warranted)
  • the building condition and remediation report has covered the basic weathertightness and durability issues that need to be addressed to make the building Code compliant 
  • the damage is minor, localised or widespread 
  • further investigations are likely to be required during construction. 

The designer should then assess the repair options and decide the most appropriate option to address the specific weathertightness issues of the building. This should include consideration of costs and a decision about whether the designer is competent to design the work.

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Legal action by the owner

This website does not provide guidance on legal remedies available to building owners, although claim processes may be taking place at the same time as design and construction work to remedy weathertightness problems.

Good record-keeping by all parties is required for professional indemnity purposes. If legal action or a Weathertight Homes Resolution Service (WHRS) claim is contemplated or proceeding, the designer needs to keep an accurate record of:

  • the analysis of the recommended repair option and why that option was chosen 
  • actual costs associated with the weathertightness remediation work
  • consultants’ costs incurred
  • costs incurred by the owner such as rented accommodation
  • the extent of the damage that was uncovered (when compared to the estimates of damage in the original survey of the building) – good evidence-gathering will include taking photographs as the building work proceeds, including photographic and testing records of damage
  • a comparison between the constructed details and those that were covered by drawings, manufacturers' literature and codes and standards applicable at the time of construction
  • whether the identified causes were consistent with the original assessment of the problems 
  • costs and extent of any betterment/improvements the owner has undertaken or authorised.

You can find more information about the government services here.

Be aware that under the current rules there is a deadline of the end of 2021 for claims to be accepted by the Weathertight Homes Tribunal. The house must have been built (or alterations giving rise to the claim were made to it) before 1 January 2012 and within 10 years of when the claim is brought. If a code compliance certificate was issued, this may be taken as the date the house was built.

A 2016 Supreme Court decision found that homeowners who had applied to the WHRS for an assessor’s report effectively “stopped the clock running” for limitation purposes. This applies to action in both the Weathertight Homes Tribunal and the courts.

Some people have tried to use the same approach to stop the clock running for limitation purposes on non-weathertightness problems, such as structural faults or fire safety issues. A July 2020 court decision found that an application to the WHRS does not stop the clock running for limitation purposes for defects not related to weathertightness. For these defects, the 10-year limitation in the Building Act still applies.

Updated: 9 September 2014