Commonly Asked Questions

About Recladding and Leaky Building Repairs

Do I need a Building Consent to reclad my home?

Can I live at home during the repair process?

What are the benefits of a full reclad over a targeted repair solution?

What does a reclad cost? 

Should I reclad or demolish and rebuild?

Do I have to reclad in plaster?

When does a reclad not make sense?

What are the main causes of the leaky building crisis?


Do I need a Building Consent to reclad my home?

Yes you do.

If you proceed with recladding work without having been granted a building consent, the Council will issue you with a stop-work notice and require you to obtain the necessary consents before the work is able to continue. It takes time to get drawings completed and to obtain a building consent (generally about 3-4 months) and during that time the building work would be on-hold.  [Top]

Can I live at home during the repair process?

In short - it depends. 

Where a fully reclad is required, we generally recommend the property be vacated prior to starting the building work. As a general rule, the building will be without cladding, insulation and windows for a period during the work. The building work required is very noisy, dusty and disruptive to the living environment within a home. That said, every project is different. We can discuss the options available to with regard to your specific project and situation.  [Top]

What are the benefits of a full reclad over a targeted repair solution?

The benefits of a full reclad over targeted repairs are significant and include:-

A full reclad will result in your home being brought up to the current Building Code E2/AS1 requirements.
A full reclad under a new Building Consent will mean you get a new Code Compliance Certificate issued in respect of the building repair work. 
A full reclad is the best way to ensure all problematic areas have been exposed and a proper repair completed.
Because recladding involves removing the existing cladding, the underlying timber structure can be treated against rot and decay (many houses constructed between 1997 and 2003 were built using untreated timber framing).
A full reclad will likely re-establish the full value in your property (possibly even increase the value) and will make it far more saleable.  [Top]

What does a Reclad cost? 

Every project is different and therefore the cost will vary. The major factors determining cost include:-

Size and complexity of house.
Extent of damage and rectification required.
Extent of redecoration work required (i.e. damage to high cost areas like kitchens and bathrooms, whether a full interior repaint is required etc)
Whether any alteration work is required or is to be undertaken at the same time.
Whether new joinery (i.e. window and door joinery) is being installed.
Access (i.e. is the house on a step site requiring extensive scaffolding).

In our experience, the recladding costs for a stand-alone mid-sized (3-4 bedroom) house fall into the following ranges:-

Remedial Design:                     $8,000 - $12,000 
Building Consent:                      $6,000 - $8,000
Building Consultant:                  $2,000 - $3,000  
Building Work:                   $300,000 - $600,000

For a more accurate cost estimate or quotation for your recladding project, you can contact us on (09) 479 8901 or call into our offices at 19A Triton Drive, Albany.  [Top]

Should I reclad or demolish and rebuild?

Recladding will be a more cost effective solution to demolishing and rebuilding in most cases. Typically, we find the cost of recladding to be around half the cost of demolishing and rebuilding or thereabouts. That said, rebuilding does provide greater flexibility for a change in design and means the entire building will be new (not just the cladding).

In some cases, where the damage to the structure is extensive, the cost of recladding could get close to the cost of demolishing and rebuilding. Whilst we have only come across one house where the repair costs came close to the costs of rebuilding, the longer leaking issues are allowed to continue, the more expensive the repairs will become and if left unattended, eventually the building will be uneconomic to repair.

The above comments are general in nature and there are numerous factors that should be taken into account when considering whether to reclad or demolish and rebuild a particular property.  [Top]

Do I have to reclad in plaster?

When recladding, homeowners have the flexibility to reclad in a modern plaster system or to change the cladding to something different (i.e. weatherboards).

That said, not all designs are conducive to being reclad in weatherboard. For houses with curved walls or a particular Mediterranean design ‘look’, a reclad in a modern plaster system may be the better option. Modern plaster cladding systems are as weathertight as any other cladding system available on the market and we have reclad plenty of homes and buildings with plaster cladding systems.  

For those that want a complete change to the appearance of their home, weatherboard seems to be the option of choice. The majority of of reclads have been completed in weatherboards (pine, cedar and Linea), although there are alternatives on the market.  [Top]

When does a reclad not make sense?

A full reclad always makes sense where the end goal is to ensure the structure of your home is completely fixed with all rotten timber, poor design and construction details removed and your new cladding system constructed in accordance with the current Building Code requirements. 

So when does it not make sense to reclad?

It does not make financial sense to reclad when the cost of recladding is more than the discount from ‘full market value’ required to sell the property. Take a house valued at $1,100,000 (in a fully repaired state). The $1,100,000 is made up of Land Value $650K and Improvements $450K. The estimated cost to reclad is $400K. If a sale price of greater than $700K can be achieved, it does not make economic sense to reclad the house. Financially, the best option is to sell the property at the discounted price.

For a number of our clients over the years, non-economic influences have been the overriding factors in their decision making.

We had a lovely couple who were retired and on a fixed income. They had $350,000 invested and could have used that money to reclad their home. However, they had spent their working lives saving that money to pay for their annual overseas holidays in their retirement years. The issues with their house were not catastrophic in the short term and they elected to undertake targeted repairs at a much lower cost which allowed them to continue living in their home and enjoy their annual holidays. The value of the property at the end of their lives was of less concern to them (“that was the kids’ problem”).

We have also had a number of clients who loved living in their homes but could not afford to service an increased mortgage to fund recladding costs. If they borrowed to complete the repairs, they would be forced into selling. For these clients, the targeted repair option was less about ‘fixing’ their homes but more about slowing the continuing damage to give them time to save more money to pay for the reclad costs or make other changes in their lives (for example, one client wanted her children to finish schooling before they either sold “as-is” or found the funds reclad).

At Allied Exteriors, we know every persons’ circumstances are different and we take our clients through the options to find the best solution for them.  [Top]        

What are the main factors causing leaking homes? 

No single cause can be blamed for the leaky building problem. Instead, the problem with leaky buildings arose out of a combination of factors that created the perfect storm of risky design, poor building practices, substandard materials and a general lack of knowledge and trade skills in the building industry.

From 1990 to 2004, a large number of houses were built using construction methods and systems that have not withstood the weather conditions in New Zealand. The majority of the leaky building problems have arisen in homes built with plaster cladding systems fixed directly to the timber framing. Once water or moisture gets behind direct fixed cladding, in the absence of a drainage and drying cavity (mandatory since 2004 for most cladding systems), the water becomes trapped in the wall structure.

During this period there was a prolific growth in the use of monolithic plaster cladding systems and few experienced and skilled tradespeople available to install these systems. There was no formal trade qualification or proper installation training available for these exterior plaster cladding systems. Consequently, a large number of the plaster cladding systems constructed during that period were installed by unqualified labour with inadequate supervision by experienced building professions.

The increased use of monolithic cladding systems and the flexible design options available with these systems brought changes in design trends. Higher risk designs became commonplace and have contributed to the leaky building problem. Higher risk design factors associated with leaky buildings include:

    • recessed windows
    • flat roofs with narrow or no eaves
    • solid balustrades with flat tops and no waterproofing
    • complex roof and envelope design 
    • cantilevered balconies with joists penetrating the cladding
    • waterproof membranes to decks and gutters   
    • penetrations through the claddings (i.e. pergola beams, rafters)


Untreated kiln-dried framing timber was extensively used for building homes between 1996 and 2004 and is highly susceptible to rot when moisture penetrates the building envelope. Whilst not the cause of leaky buildings, the use of untreated timber has increased the extent of damage to the timber framing and shortened the timeframe in which timber decay will occur. Since 2004, treated timber has become mandatory for timber framed construction.

Aluminium joinery has played a major role in the leaky building crisis with moisture often leaking into the wall structure through poorly flashed window penetrations in the cladding system and moisture leaking directly into the wall structure through the aluminium joinery mitres.

If you are thinking about using exterior plaster on your next project, contact us on (09) 479 8901 or call into our office / showroom at 19A Triton Drive, Albany.  [Top]  

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