Leaky buildings aren’t over: thermal bridges create moisture issues

8 April 2021 by Jason Quinn

PREDOS director Rory Crosbie’s article in BRANZ’s Build magazine mostly argues for a national home warranty scheme based on the Canadian model. He does briefly touch on the inadequacy of the current New Zealand Building Code (of course, I agree):

“Weathertightness aside, the New Zealand Building Code performance requirements of a building’s external fabric is still way below international standards.

The consumer’s expectation is that buildings should not leak – and rightly so. They also assume that their new property will maintain a comfortable internal environment at an affordable cost.

However, the current minimum Building Code standards allow use of building elements not permitted in other parts of the developed world. For example, window frames that are not thermally broken can be used in new Code-compliant construction, increasing the risk of heat loss and possible condensation build-up on the internal face of the frame. Thermal bridging has the potential to create new leaky buildings in parts of New Zealand with greater daily temperature variances.” [emphasis added]

A good resource on thermal bridging in NZ buildings (maybe the only one?) is our forthcoming book, the High-Performance Construction Details Manual.

And yes, the building construction industry has recently stepped up to the conversation on energy efficiency and construction methods. But I think it’s a response to the threat of the legislation stemming from the Climate Change Commission’s drive for net-zero carbon construction.

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