29 Jul 2011

Leaky homes still being built - adjudicator

12:19 pm on 29 July 2011

A building disputes adjudicator says the Government's financial assistance package for owners of leaky homes fails to address the cause of the problem, and more urgent action is required.

Under the scheme, which has come into effect on Friday, the Government and local councils will each pay 25% the cost of the repairs. Homeowners will pay the rest as long as they waive the right the sue the Government or council.

The major banks will provide loans to homeowners with a government guarantee.

Building Disputes Tribunal principal adjudicator John Green says the package will be good for some homeowners as it offers a guaranteed financial contribution where otherwise there has been none.

However, he says defective structures are being built every day and will continue to be if the Government does not take urgent action.

"The reality is it's going to take donkey's years before the skill level of the industry gets to a sufficient level that we're not going to see the same incidence of these problems."

However the manager of the Weathertight Services Group at the Department of Building and Housing, Jeff Montgomery, is confident the Government is addressing issues within the building industry.

Mr Green says the Government has taken a whole range of initiatives to ensure leaky homes are not being built.

He says they will not know the enormity of the issue of leaky homes until the assessments get underway.

Many can't afford leaky home package - group

A group representing owners of leaky homes is sceptical of a Government prediction that as many as 70% of those affected by the problem will take up the financial assistance package.

The Home Owners and Buyers Association says that, even with so many sweeteners, many people will not be able to afford their half of the cost.

However Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson has responded, saying it's a fair offer and a positive, alternative way of getting homes fixed.

The Weathertight Homes Resolution Services (Financial Assistance Package) Amendment Bill passed through Parliament earlier in July and was signed into law on Thursday.

The package is voluntary and offers an additional option to the current Weathertight Homes Resolution Service.