Remedying other defects

Condition and remediation surveys may also identify other work that should be done on the building. Other problems may also become evident once remedial work has begun.

Having the owners retain a specialist in remediation practice such as an NZIBS Building Surveyor through the construction phase of the project is recommended, particularly for designers new to remediation projects.

When problems are identified, there is a duty of care to advise the owner of the extent of the problems.

Common defects

Examples of problems that may be identified include the following:

Safety

  • Lack of fire performance of intertenancy walls and floors or boundary walls (a fire report may be needed to address fire performance issues). 
  • Inadequate barrier heights and construction.
  • No handrails to stairs.
  • Presence of hazardous materials.

Structure

  • Inadequate bracing.
  • Structural hold-down connections missing.
  • Too-long spans of rafters, beams and lintels.
  • Undersized framing.
  • Rotten framing.
  • Joists or bearers that are not effectively supporting loadbearing walls or that are missing or altered.
  • Bolted connections in structural steel members that had never been tightened or are missing.
  • Corrosion of steel framing, fixings/flashings.
  • Other examples of poor construction.

Moisture

  • High levels of subfloor moisture and a lack of subfloor ventilation. 
  • High levels of internal moisture – often due to a lack of ventilation and/or heating.
  • Failure of wet area waterproofing, particularly in tiled showers.
  • Plumbing leaks.
  • Failure of basement waterproofing.
  • Flashing details not following good practice (for example, a lack of cover or contacting surfaces).
  • Missing damp-proof membrane.

Drainage

  • Stormwater or sewer drainage that is blocked, lacks fall or is missing completely.

Legal

  • Unconsented (or illegal) work that has been carried out on the property. 
  • Incorrect location of the building on the site. (This is a difficult problem to address – legal input will be required to adjust boundaries or create easements.)

Other

  • Lack of acoustic performance of intertenancy walls and floors.
  • A material that has reached the end of its serviceable life.
  • A general lack of maintenance/repair, for example, blocked downpipes, paintwork in poor condition.

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What to consider

The ability or need to undertake this work will be influenced by:

  • whether the work is legally required – where a building is deemed by the BCA to be structurally unsafe or unsanitary, there is a statutory obligation to remedy the situation
  • the owner's circumstances - do they have the resources and the will to do work that is discretionary and not legally required?
  • whether the work is considered essential or desirable - a leaking bathroom or shower may fall into this category depending on the level of damage caused 
  • a positive assessment of the costs of doing the work versus the benefits gained - in some cases, it is difficult to assign a dollar value to a benefit such as a warmer house in the case of installation of double glazing
  • the age of the building - for example, insulation in a 2 or 3-year-old building should be close to current minimums while a building that is more than 5 years old is likely to be insulated to standards current at the time, which were lower, and therefore the benefit of doing the upgrade is greater
  • the condition of the building - has maintenance been deferred for some time?
  • the current (realistic) selling price of the building and the estimated selling price once repaired, estimated for each of the repair options – is completing the additional work going to be financially viable? 

Updated: 9 September 2014