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Leaky homes case targets monolithic cladding system

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Jan 27 NZPA - Owners of six apartments in a Grey Lynn building have lodged a claim at the Weathertight Homes Tribunal against a non-cavity "monotek" cladding system.

Some "leaky homes" cases at the tribunal seek compensation from builders or designers. When developers and tradesmen or contractors have either vanished, become insolvent, or died, they have tended to seek compensation from the local authority which did the building inspections or signed off on the code of compliance.

Though many claimants have alleged systemic failures of various moisture management process, lawyer Adina Thorn said today she thought her clients were the first to challenge the integrity of one of manufacturer James' Hardie's Monotek cladding systems.

"I believe this is the first weather tightness claim where the direct-fixed Monotek cladding system is in issue," she said. "This will be a benchmark claim for affected homeowners throughout New Zealand.

"The claimants allege that the non-cavity Monotek cladding system, as sold at that time, varies significantly from the standards of weathertightness now required, despite it being sold as a premium product," she said.

Ms Thorn noted that the claim did not involve James Hardie's cavity Monotek system, for which the company has a Building Research Association (BRANZ) appraisal from August 2005.

The Weathertight Homes Resolution Service was set up by the Department of Building and Housing and the Ministry of Justice after some experts reported that the vast majority of monolithic-clad dwellings constructed before 2006 will suffer weathertightness failures.

According to the service's website, many of these failures will be in homes built before 2006 "particularly those dwellings with so-called monolithic claddings".

It suggested the use of such claddings coincided with more complicated building designs and construction methods vulnerable to water penetration through the exterior of the building, though other commentators have also pointed to a shortage of skilled builders after training requirements in apprentice schemes were relaxed.

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