Water ingress issues

AREAS THAT COULD RAISE CONCERNS

Wall claddings in contact with the ground.

Recessed windows.

Roofs with narrow or no eaves.

More than one storey.

Design features such as solid balustrades, complex roof design and envelope shapes where roofs frequently intersect with walls on upper floors.

Decks and balconies that jut out from walls.

Enclosed or concealed gutters.

Inadequate sub-floor ventilation for timber floors.

These features may not allow adequately for deflection or drainage of water unless particular care is taken in the design and construction.

Many were built with untreated, kiln-dried framing timber which is susceptible to rot if it gets wet and cannot dry out.

Inspecting homes with potential weathertightness problems

If you are interested in a home that has these types of features, an independent building survey is essential. Ask your building surveyor to look particularly for signs of water damage or potential leaks. They should use a moisture meter. Moisture meters are generally non-invasive meters that can indicate moisture problems and water leaks without making holes in the walls. They do not guarantee that no weathertight problems exist, but might find areas of high moisture levels. (Check that your inspector is using a non-invasive meter.)

However, not all defects can be found, so ask the person doing the inspection to highlight the areas they couldn’t check and identify risk areas that might warrant further investigation. Most pre-purchase inspection reports will have a disclaimer on weathertightness as some of it is too difficult to check without removing linings or claddings. But a pre-purchase inspection is still recommended.