Message Board Thread - "Information Urgently Required"

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Information Urgently Required Kiwi J 2/10/2005
As former homeowners we are involved in a New Zealand (South Pacific) dispute through water entering what we term a monolithic clad house, which in the States is referred to as an EIFS structure.

When the controversy over leaky houses hit the media here in 2002, the person who had bought this house from us (it was thirteen months old) immediately sought a building report as to its condition. By this time it was six years old. The report (which has subsequently been made available) showed the house to have been built to an above average standard, and was in good sound condition. However, the building surveyor advised in his report that to add some protection to areas like doors or windows, it needed more sealant to provide for better caulking. This work was never carried out.

Instead the guy got a cold water high pressure (2000 PSI) waterblaster (we photographed him) and waterblasted the house from top to bottom including all those areas deemed vulnerable.

The building survey was commissioned to carry out a further inspection in 2003, with largely the same result – house in good condition, but apply more sealant.

The Owner lodged a claim at the end of 2003, but one week before the Official Building Assessor inspected and tested the structure for moisture, he hired an elevating scissorlift platform and waterblasted the entire building from the roof parapets down to the foundation. I guess houses can withstand low pressure rain from above, but a waterblaster (jet washers, pressure washers) aimed at the joints of a house cannot help but put water into the walls, and that is what was found.

Our question is whether incidents like this (we built another house right next door, and have photographs and correspondence with Police) have occurred elsewhere. We have found incidents of “wet arson” in the US, and it was clear this guy simply wanted to place sufficient water in the wall cavity to advance a claim.

We would appreciate any information anyone can refer us to in this matter, as if proven the matter is possibly fraud. We need situations where water has been deliberately injected into a house, or, where evidence can be shown that waterblasting is a reckless activity.

We look forward anxiously to either your replies, or a response identifying who may have such information.

Kind regards

Re:Information Urgently Required Scott Wood 2/10/2005
We have performed building inspections where the water source could not be clearly demonstrated. In one case the homebuilder contracted our services to determine the source of a reoccurring hall carpet water damage (second or third call to dry down the damage). We arrived to find the home builder had removed the lower section of the hall/bathroom wall as well as pulled the toilet (to check the seal). No problems were found (supply line fine, toilet drain fine). We investigated the whole area visibly, with IR as well as moisture meters and determined that the water originated in the hallway. In other words the homeowner flooded the hall. The final resolve was to buy the home back, since it could not be proven the homeowner caused the damage and the home builder could not determine what was leaking.
Your EIFS case is clearly a documented fraud. The home owner was caught on tape introducing excess water into the openings of the system. Further more, due diligence as described in the building reports, was not performed (sealing joints). If this case were in California the lawsuit should go against the homeowner, not for the fact that the suggested recommendations were not followed, but the deliberate act of introducing water into the building envelop via a method that far exceeded any environmental conditions that may have produced similar results.
Water testing procedures for building envelops are developed and set by ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials, example: E1105-00) or AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association, example 502-02) They include types of systems (spray-rack, hand held) to use, amount of water to deliver (5gal/sqft) and even the pressure inside the building. Homes are not fish bowls and will limit incoming water, but not prevent all water entry, especially if water is applied in an excessive manner (such as a power washer directed at the openings).
Codes and guidelines for your area and country need to be evaluated to determine if his water testing was at specifications. Since the homeowner, “blasted” water at the EIFS, he may have caused (or enhanced) the system’s failures or defects. I’m sure the water “blasting” further exposed the vulnerable areas of the system, enhancing or incurring a failure of the system.
Re:Information Urgently Required Kiwi J 2/10/2005

Thank you for your prompt and knowledgeable reply.

No court application has yet been lodged, and we think it was threatened to prompt a pre court settlement. There are a number of issues in the matter, but in the New zealand system, the onus of proof lies on the claimant. In this case the matter of water damage around windows, doors, and other penetrations that are not in the structure facing rainfall systems, points to sealant and caulking blown out or degraded by the waterblaster, and subsequently allowing more water to enter.

If it does proceed it will be interesting. Intentional damage is a criminal offence down here!


Re:Information Urgently Required Knowledge 3/5/2006
Kiwi J, the Department of Building and Housing publishes a newsletter - Codeword. Get a copy from look up publications then codeword issue 008. Page 7. All about waterblaster and the damage they do. The approved documents to the New Zealand Building Code specifically ban this action - section E2 - high pressure water is not to be used in cleaning ...
I to am a home owner who sold a home that subsequently was waterblastered, - 13 witnesses - a 3000 psi trailer mounted machine. These people sold the home, the new owners purchased it knowing it was leaking, and now want my wife and I to fix it.... it was damaged in 1999. Love to hear from you. I will keep an eye out for any more comments.
Re:Information Urgently Required Knowledge 3/13/2006
water blaster or commonly kniown as Power Washing in the U.S. and Canada:
Re:Information Urgently Required Knowledge 6/25/2006
Where abouts in New Zealand are you?
I am in Wellington, 0274 921 897
Re:Information Urgently Required Kiwi J 8/9/2006
Dear Knowledge

I have just returned to this site and spotted your message. I will give you a call tomorrow. Many thanks for your input - we have seen the Dept of Building's advisory.

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