1. What equipment do you carry?
We use a variety of top-of-the-range moisture sensors and thermal cameras from companies such as Flir, Extech and Trotec to compile our reports. We also use HD GoPro cameras to record the inspections.
2. Why do you use hygrometers in your inspections?
Often you read in reports that "moisture higher than expected was found", or there were "moisture fluctuations".
By using a hygrometer, you can determine what the moisture content in the building materials should be—without a hygrometer, it is not possible to make these statements.
At Building Science, we conduct science-based inspections. This style of inspection provides actual data which can be used to determine how much moisture should be present in any tested environment.
3. You use thermal cameras in your inspections. Others don't—why do you?
At Building Science we believe without a thermal camera, you are missing half the inspection. What we mean by this is you cannot see what the eye cannot see.
A Thermal camera allows you to scan a building quickly and efficiently to determine if there are any hidden leaks or failed insulation. Check out what we mean below. And then decide if you would be better off not knowing these things before you buy.
Our Thermographers are Level 1 and Level 2 Certified for your peace of mind.
4. How Does Thermal Imaging Work?
5. What is the difference between using invasive and non-invasive moisture metres?
Non-invasive metres create an electric or microwave field which penetrates 20mm into the building material. Moisture in the material enables the metre to register this change and provides a reading that gives an approximate value in some brands, or a scale of moisture in others.
An invasive inspection is performed when the technician drills into the wooden baseplates or framing materials and inserts probes to get a reading of the moisture deep in the timber. This type of probe measures the resistance in electrical charge between the two probes.
6. Will you check our home by making cutouts around our home?
No. As Certified Water Damage Technicians, we sign a code of conduct, on passing the examinations, where we agree not to perform actions that can cause damage to our client's building, or to cause our client's financial loss through our actions.
Cutouts should only be made when you have decided in advance to have a reclad performed on your house.
As trained technicians we have the equipment and training to achieve the testing required by inserting probes discretely inside through the gib walls or skirting, two areas which are easily repaired and do not stigmatise your home. We will never cut into the exterior of your home without written instructions from you first.
7. Will you put a camera through our power points to check for moisture or mould?
No. As Certified Water Damage Technicians, this method, though popular with some inspectors in New Zealand, is not recognised as being of any value. Electricians tend to place power points far away from water and it is impossible to age test mould. Therefore, any results from testing this way is of little or no value.
We recommend only registered electricians touch live power points after they have been installed. Or you could check with your insurance company as to whether you are covered if your inspector removes power points which later creates electrical or fire issues for you. If you desire pictures of the framing timber, ask your builder for them before the walls are closed in.
Here's an interesting article on the subject by an inspection company called Realsure.
8. You say you are Certified—by whom and what for?
Our water damage technicians are certified by the IICRC.
The IICRC is a certification and standard-setting non-profit organisation for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. Serving the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, in partnership with regional and international trade associations, the IICRC represents the entire industry.
The IICRC is recognised internationally as the knowledgeable industry voice and a significant resource. With over 30,000 active Certified Technicians world-wide, certifications and standards are used globally by the insurance industry as the common language for agreement for standards in treating, assessing and remediating claims.
Technicians must maintain continuing education credits to maintain their technician qualification and ensure they are up to date with the latest developments in the industry in regards to equipment used and research into the latest scientific understandings.
The team are certified as, or are in the process of certifying as. Water Damage Remediation Technicians.
There are two team members who are qualified builders.
Two team members have been employed previously as insurance assessors.
One team member has been previously employed as a building scientist.
9. Who have you worked for? And are you experienced enough to work for us?
The French Embassy
The Thai Embassy
Guardian First National
Medical Assurance Group
Number One Shoes
Lowe and Co
Southwards Car Museum
Various architect practices in Auckland & Wellington—to fix leaks, and assess "leaky buildings"
Various building inspection companies—as expert witnesses and for "leaky home" assessments
Various Wellington legal practices—for second opinions and assessing of "leaky homes"
Various major property developers wanting surveys completed of disputed properties
Various body corporates nationwide wanting second opinions and verifiable data
Various survey work for members of the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors
Various Wellington contractors requiring troublesome leaks located
Plus many more.
BRANZ, for a recent article, called on our experience.
At last count in June 2016, we've had over 600+ water call-outs for leaking decking, failed plumbing, roof leaks, moisture entry around joinery, floods, ground / cladding junction failures, finding leaks, and over 400+ home inspections—this is just for our lead technician.
If we included the full team, it would be over 2,500 attendances for water entry call-outs to assess moisture in residential or commercial buildings.
PS: We have over 25,000 thermal images on file from inspections we have undertaken.
10. What services can you perform for us?
Water Damage Clean-Ups
Fire Damage Remediation
Research and Development
Remediation and Restoration
11. Why do you recommend Positive Input Ventilation?
If you are interested, you can access PIV systems through us at wholesale rates. We are a big believer in these and install them in many monoclad buildings to reduce the risk of moisture entry and future-proof the home to handle condensation from single-pane windows.
100 pints = 47 litres of moisture a week that is introduced by a family inside a building by cooking, cleaning, washing and breathing.
12. Why do you recommend shower domes so often?
Showers put a large amount of moisture into the air; a shower dome can solve this for you. If you are a landlord, this will save you money and protect your home.
13. All buildings have different design risks. What can we expect between different styles of buildings?
14. What is the difference between a house with leaks and a leaky building?
15. Is it normal for monoclad homes to get fine lines and cracks over time?
Yes it is. This a known feature of this cladding. It is normal and can be handled by regular painting with elastomeric paint. This type of paint fills and hides the small hairline cracks.
16. We have a monoclad home and we want to understand what risk we are facing of it actually failing?
Based on the figures from Price Waterhouse Coopers 2009 report into the leak homes crisis, they have presented this happy statistical chart. How old is your home?
18. We had a building report done and we think our inspector didn't test correctly. What can you tell us?
We were not there so we would prefer not to comment, but here is some information for you to review for yourself. If there is an issue, please raise it with them, and discuss why they tested in this fashion.
19. What are your Terms and Conditions?
Click here to read.
20. Can a test conducted with 20mm non-invasive or 10mm invasive determine the moisture content against the cladding?
The answer is no.
21. In your opinion, what is the biggest cause of equity loss in a vendor's home?
Deferred maintenance and blocked weep holes. It appears very few people are aware of the need to clean their windows on a 3-4 month cycle. Most window warranties are voided if people fail to maintain consistent cleaning.
22. You recommend FFR - K1 and Blue Barrier. Where is the data about these products?
23. Explain more about moisture.
Here is an excellent article on moisture: Click here.
24. Explain more about moisture sensors.
Here is an excellent article that explains the pros and cons of moisture meters: Click here.
25. Asbestos—what are the risks?
We don't believe the risks are that high unless you saw it, drill it, and snort the dust.
Keep yourself away from that snorting habit and the risks are generally very low.
For the latest information on asbestos in New Zealand: Click here.
Latest news article: Click here .
26. Codemarks and Appraisals.
Here are where you can find the CodeMarks and Appraisal Certificates for products or systems we recommend.
FFR - K1: Click here.
Blue Barrier Liquid Membranes: Click here.
This is for use behind cavities and internal substrates.
STPE Membranes: Click here.
Christchurch Flood Test: Click here.
Marriot Hotel: Click here.
Architects Offices: Click here.
Architects and Specifiers: Click here.
Overview: Click here.
27. What is a CodeMark?
A CodeMark provides impartial certification of building products as proof of compliance with the Building Code. Certification ensures acceptance by all Councils or Certifiers within New Zealand or Australia. A CodeMark Certificate provides a much higher level of proof of performance than other forms of compliance.
CodeMark is a voluntary product certification scheme that provides an easily-understood and robust way to show a building product meets the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code. A product can be a building or construction method, building design or a building material.
CodeMark is suitable for any building product but is particularly beneficial to manufacturers and suppliers of products that are innovative, new to the market or would have serious consequences if they failed. It also provides a marketing advantage as certified products are deemed to comply with the Building Code, are listed on our public Register and can use the CodeMark brand on advertising relating to the product.
CodeMark is an unchallengeable form of product assurance. Building consent authorities (BCAs, usually councils) must accept a product certificate as evidence of compliance with the Building Code – that is, as long as the product is used in accordance with the use and limitations defined on the certificate.
28. We were told Thermal Imaging is not necessary for a building inspection!
Many inspectors do not carry thermal imaging cameras. They may have decided not to for many reasons that we do not know or cannot comment on. It's a free world, and that's their choice.
But there are some reasons why you may want thermal imaging used as part of your next building inspection.
One of the key questions banks and buyers are wanting to establish an answer for is, "Is this building suffering or going to suffer from moisture issues?" A simple moisture meter is unable to answer that question for a variety of reasons (see previous section on moisture meters for some reasons why).
But let's approach that question using the principles of building science and the need for thermal imaging becomes apparent. Not all water in a building is from a leak or rain. A large amount of water entering a home comes in as water vapour . . .
"Water vapor is not only transported by vapor diffusion, but also by air leakage. When warm, moist air inside a conditioned building leaks through unintentional openings in the building enclosure, there is a potential for interstitial condensation to occur during periods of cold outdoor temperatures.
In cold climates, the duration of this risk is over most of the heating season.
Air leakage induced by indoor to outdoor pressure differences across the building enclosure can transport significant amounts of moisture, some or all of which may condense on cold surfaces within the building enclosure assembly.
In severe cases, moisture accumulation may lead to damage or failure of materials, and under all circumstances, the loss of energy due to the leakage of conditioned air from the building can prove expensive."
~ from Moisture Management Strategies by Ted J. Kesik, Ph.D., P.Eng., MASHRAE, University of Toronto.
The best way to spot air leakage is with a thermal camera—end of story. Without a thermal camera, you have no way of spotting this issue.
Require that a thermal camera is involved in any inspection of any building you are buying and used in the diagnosis of any internal moisture issues you discover.