A Quick Guide to a Dry Winter

December 11, 2013

By Philip O’Sullivan
Registered Engineer, BRANZ Accredited Adviser, Registered Building Surveyor, Fungal Research, Moisture control, Civil Engineering and Building Pathology.
Trained as both an engineer and building surveyor, Philip has more than 20 years experience in all facets of building design and construction. Philip is responsible for bringng a range of pressing issues to the attention of the New Zealand construction industry. For example, Philip has identified the presence and cause of dry rot – not thought to be a significant problem in this country – in near new dwellings. He writes a monthly column for the Progressive Building magazine under the pen name, Dr Rot. Philip is the Prendos representative and current Chairman of the Cladding Institute, Prendos is a corporate member of that Institute.

Autumn is here. The leaves are changing colour and soon the ground and gutters will be clogged. With the changing weather comes more frequent rain. You can be sure with the first heavy rain, many buildings will flood. It is therefore a good time to check your stormwater systems.

Have a look at your gutters, whether they are in carparking areas or up on the roof. Check the downpipes, clean out the sumps, check their condition and remove those supermarket plastic bags that I sometimes find on top of 10 storey buildings!

Ask yourself: If this downpipe blocks, where will the water go? Where is the overflow? Is it big enough? Is it too high? Have you had problems before? At ground level, if the cesspit was to block, where would the water go? Not through your front door I hope!

Modern cesspits are designed to stop sediment entering the stormwater system. If the sediment level rises, it could block the outlet. If there is nowhere else for the water to flow, catastrophe may strike. So annual cleaning of cesspits is a sensible precaution.

As an incentive to carry out this task, just think about your damaged stock, the sodden carpets and the wasted time. If you have any concerns, we are happy to give you some brief advice over the phone. If you require further assistance, contact one of our building consultants.

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