Weathertightness failure of school buildings

If you think you have weathertightness failure, known as a ‘leaky building’, the Ministry’s Building Improvement Programme (BIP) team will work with you, as a board of trustees, to address it. The source of funding for any repair work depends on who owns the building and the cause of the failure.

Dealing with weathertightness failure

Weathertightness failure happens when water gets past the external cladding of a building and can’t easily escape or evaporate. If left untreated, the dampness can cause the building’s structure to decay. Mould can grow, creating health and safety risks to people in the building.

If you think you have a leaky building, either:

Work with the Ministry’s BIP team

The BIP team works with you and your property advisor to consider whether your building is within the scope of its programme, and do testing to confirm weathertightness issues. Testing identifies the area of the building affected. If the initial tests suggest the building is leaky, a more in-depth or invasive or ‘destructive’ assessment might be needed. These tests involve removing the building cladding.

At each stage, a BIP Case Manager will meet with you to discuss the results of the testing and the next steps.

If you have a building that is deemed to be within the Programme, BIP will manage and pay for all the testing and investigation for both Ministry and board-owned school property.

For more information, download Building Improvement Programme: Information for schools [PDF, 502 KB].

BIP’s nationwide testing work

Between 2009 and 2012, all school buildings built or modified after 1994 were inspected for weathertightness problems. BIP has used the results of the inspections to prioritise further testing and repair work.

A second stage of detailed testing began in December 2013 and will continue throughout 2015.

Funding weathertightness repairs

Funding the repair work for Ministry-owned buildings

If a building is Ministry-owned, the Ministry will fund the remediation to be completed to a similar or better standard. We may decide to replace the building where this will give best value for money for the Crown.

Your school’s 5 Year Agreement (5YA) funding will be used to contribute to remediation costs. Your property advisor will explain how your funding will be affected.

Funding repair work for board-owned buildings

You cannot use 5YA funding for repairs to board-owned buildings. We can only spend capital funding on Crown-owned assets. However, if a board-owned building has weathertightness failure, you can ask the Ministry to fund part of the repairs. For instance:

  • for a fully board-owned building, we will consider funding 50% of repair costs
  • for a building that is part board-owned and part Ministry-owned, we will pay 100% of the repair costs for our share in the building, and 50% of the repair costs for your share of the building.

You have to pay any remaining costs.

If we contribute towards repair costs, we will take an ownership share in the building. The area we take a share in becomes part of your school’s School Property Guide (SPG) entitlement.

Alternatively you can use board funding to pay for the repairs and keep full ownership.

Providing documentation for compensation claims

The Ministry might seek compensation from companies that designed or built your leaky building. If your board managed the building project, we will ask you to provide project documentation. This includes contracts and completion certificates.

Keep your project documentation accessible for this reason.

Funding weathertightness repairs due to poor maintenance

If lack of maintenance has caused weathertightness failure of your building, you have to pay the full costs of any repair work. This applies to both Ministry and board-owned buildings.

Undertaking repair work on leaky buildings

If repair work is needed, the BIP team will:

  • engage the surveyor and contractors for the remediation work
  • establish a project management committee.

You may want to be represented on the project management committee. You can contribute by identifying any other scheduled works in your 10 Year Property Plan (10YPP). You may find that:

  • remediation work could be combined with other planned projects, or
  • it is more economical to replace the building than repair it.

The timing of repairs may be affected by other projects, such as rationalisation projects, planned modernisation projects or coordination with earthquake strengthening.

Weathertightness Bulletin

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