Tuesday, January 18, 2011

~ ~ WET~ ~ WET~ ~ WET~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~

Or how your house in New Zealand can be flooded!!

You must have read about the devastating flood in Queensland, Australia.

My heart goes out to those affected, I know how water, at the wrong time; wrong place; can absolutely DESTROY your life!

How do I know? Well, in December 2008; our NZ home was flooded!

Our "disaster" was, tiny; compared to what the Aussies experiencing but I hope my story can serve as a warning to new arrivals to this beautiful country and looking to buy a house!

6 Jan 2008

We arrived in Singapore, from Penang; after a 4 weeks break on the island we left behind in 1988.

We were supposed to spend 4 days with my sworn brother, then fly back to Wellington.

After nearly 5 weeks in the tropical heat and it's mugginess, we were looking forward to windy, cool; Wellington!

What happened on the second day is best reflected from the email I sent to all my friends:

"Hi everyone

A Belated HNY or late reply or whatever, our apologies!

We arrived Singapore from Penang on the 6 Jan and planned to stay for a few nights in my sworned brother's house but like they say, Mr Murphy awaits!

That night I was sweating "cats and dogs", with no reason at all; I was drenched even with the air cond at full blast! In the toilet I nearly black out and my stool was black!

I knew I was bleeding inside but thought it was just a mild food poisoning and it will run it's course!
But after a few more toilet run and really weak the next morning, my sworned bro said I must see a doctor at once!

At the Bukit Timah Clinic the GP said I lost a lot of blood and my pressure is really low and if I try to get on a plane I might have a stroke while up in the air!
I was send to the Gleneagles Hospital where the specialist said a tummy endoscopy and colonoscopy must be done immediately!

So there I was for three days and I was given THREE XO-Red
transfusions! Slurrp... Singaporeans blood is yummy! Hee hee...

So after nearly becoming Count Dracula, here I am back in the red, back in action!

We really appreciate all our friends who came and vistit me and the help they offer!

Especially my sworn brother KS and family, Jeffery and Rachel , Peter Chew and my lady boss Audrey Fenton and family who are visiting Singapore and Andy Fenton who is training the Singaporeans at their National Archives ;)

Hopefully there will be seats next Tuesday (thats the earliest I am allowed to fly) so we can get home! We really missed The
Land of The Long White Cloud!

Oh... my doctor reckoned that the many bleeding ulcers in my guts were caused by my greediness for Penang sea food!

I reckoned that AND the crazy driving that I had to endure everyday in Penang!
The drivers there are just BLOODY insane!

A young biker wanted to attack me after he clipped my car!!

Last but not least, my wife who has been with me at the hospital all the days and to the incredible professional efficiency of my doctor Dr.Ngoi, his staff (Jane and Hazel) and the TLC of the ward 9 nurses at the Glen!

See all of you soon!

Kind Regards
Count C.Y. and Countess Lean

PS- The Singapore hospital and Dr Ngoi gave me 2 DVDs and colour prints of the exploration of my innards to enjoy! Talk about value added services! Ha ha ha... anyone interested to watch? Do not come with a full stomach though!

Good Time?

After the hospital, life looked rosy again :)

Our incredibly efficient travel broker Litia Brown managed to get us on Business Class (thanks to SIA) for our trip back to Wellington!

We were catching our flight at the spanking new Terminal 3, which only went into operation a few days ago!

These were taken with my spanking new Nikon D300 DSLR and the Nikon 12-24 ultra wide zoom lens.

The flight to Wellington, Business; was cloud nine! And all I shot in the cabin was this multi-function remote that control our huge seat! Ha ha ha...

The window seat gave me a good view of Auckland city as we approach to land and change to a local flight.

Our local flight approaching to land at Wellington! Home at last!

Wet! Wet! Wet!

We were very excited to be back home but got a rude shock when we stepped into a totally soaked house!

The carpet was so wet that you "splashed" your way to the rooms! The kitchen was covered with an inch of water!

We discovered later that a water pipe above Ming's bed room was "spraying" for at least three weeks and the water accumulate and part of the ceiling caved in, pouring gallons of water down!

(Make sure you read the story at the end about the notorious water pipes in thousands of NZ homes!)

The wet corridor!

No reward for pointing out where the water was coming down from!

The water soaked through the chipboard floor and leaked into the double garages below the house!

The soaked garage, some of the boxes were stuff removed from the house.

We called our insurance company and was told that we can check into a motel first and they will take over the next day. Problem was; due to all that soaking, the front door was a bit warped that we can't lock it! So ended up we spent our home coming night in the cold, smelly; moldy house!

Welcome Home!!

The next day our insurance jumped into action and a Damaged Control person came and she got a team of ChemDry people in. After accessing what they are going to do, we were put into a motel.

Friday was a really busy day indeed, 10 people from two moving companies came and started packing everything to take them away for storage while the house is being repaired.

The ChemDry people then proceed to tear up all the wet carpet. The big problem here was the floor board which is made of chipboard! When chipboard are soaked in water for a long time it swell and buckled! Just like Wheet-Bix!!

The manager from the insurance company reckoned the whole floor need to be replaced!

How do you replace the floor when the house and the roof is on top? He say they will get the original Lockwood builder (who built our house) in to take a look.

The "Purple Shelves" partition was knocked down to give the living room more space!

The Damaged Control Team, the carpet has been stripped off the floor.

To stop further water damage the ChemDry guys put in 10 giant "turbo blower heater" to raise the inside temperature up to 40C, two humongous dehumidifiers will then extract the moisture away!

Drying the floor will take at least one week! Only then they will see what damage has been done to it!

The living room after it was completely dried. Notice the solid pine wall of our house? Lucky for us, this Lockwood construction sustain NO DAMAGE to the wall at all!

Houses with the common fibreboard panel walls will need total replacement. These wall literally suck up water like drinking straws!

A small piece of the floor was cut out and sent to a company in Tauranga for "penetration test".

As expected it failed the test! Duh!

The insurance appointed builder gave us 2 choices:

1. To replace all the floor with new chipboard.

2. To glue and screw on 14 mm plywood squares all over the floor.

Trusting the second opinion from our own builder, we opt for the plywood solution.

The "new" living room, after the plywood top were applied.

And in with a new main pressure cylinder.

Deciding which type of carpet we are laying for the new floor!

Decision, decision! The original carpet compared to three new samples.

The small kitchen having a make over.

One of the worst motel we were put into! Luckily we complained and was moved to a much better one!

The water damage under our shower box was termed "hidden damage" by our insurance co and was NOT covered! It cost me $2,500 to get the damage fixed. Notice the new, grey water pipes (read about them at the end)!

The kitchen coming together.

After more than 2 months, new carpet was finally laid. The large curtain was later replaced with a new and plain one.

Finally, FOUR MONTHS after the flood, movers brought back our belongings! Boxes upon boxes!

The double garage were swamped! Full! How the heck did we collect so much junk?

Our living room! Full!

All our clothing, washed; dry cleaned, all paid by our insurance!

The movers did a few boo boo, General's beloved "Turkey Platter" was smashed because the movers piled heavy stuff on top of the plate!

My precious, one and only; "Star Goes National" poster's frame and glass were damaged and shattered!

For the next many weeks, we slowly went through all our stuff and try to put our life together again!

You might think that staying in a paid motel for more than three months is fun, believe you me; it is NOT! On hind sigh, we should have insisted that we were put in a rented apartment or house.

Humans need a certain space between each other, clamp together in a "room" for more than a hundred days will drive any sane couple loco! Don't do it!

Our insurance company paid for all the repair work, the carpet; the curtains; the storage; the movers; the motels; I estimated that cost them $40,000, easy!

Me? I paid for the hidden damage fix, I changed all the water pipes; I don't have to but if that leak happened once, it will happen again, big time! All told I spent about $5,500.00.

Finally, in SEPTEMBER 2008; we got a email from our insurance company:

"In respect of the damage to the bathroom floor I have confirmed via the builder, whose plumber did the repair work, that this gradual damage was as a result of the shower box leaking. It was not from an internal pipe and therefore does not fall within the gradual damage criteria of the policy.

Unfortunately there is no claim for this damage.

I will arrange payment to you for $4,440.00 as claimed under the contents claim.

Please provide your bank account details so payment can be made directly into your account.

Many thank"

Imagine, a flooded house of ours took NINE MONTHS to reach a conclusion, I hate to think how long those poor Aussies will have to suffer and to put their lives back together again!

Famous Last Words:

If you are thinking or going to buy a house in New Zealand, I advice you to take note, below!

The Evil Dux Quest water pipes!

According to house-buying-downunder.com and I quote:

"In the late 1970's and early 1980 a large number of New Zealand homes were constructed using Dux Quest Plumbing piping.

The product was removed from the market because there were problems with pipes bursting and leaking water into home.

As the Dux Quest piping ages it's plastic breaks down and deteriorates with time.

A lot of owners with this plumbing product have come home to burst pipes in their house and many insurance companies will ask you replace all your piping because it is aknown problem.

It is recommend that you check to make sure any house you are purchasing does not have Dux Quest Plumbing.

What to Look For

Dux Quest piping is a black plastic pipe.

Always ask your real estate agent or house owner to confirm if the house you are looking to buy has any Dux Quest piping. If you are unsure, get a certified plumber to check over the plumbing before you purchase.

If you do decide to purchase a house with Dux Quest piping you will need to submit a reduced offer based upon the cost of replacing all the piping. Be sure to get a quote from a plumber if piping needs to be replaced."

Some of the black Dux Quest pipes that were removed from our plumbing, notice some of them were connected with the new gray pipes? Those were the joints that leaked through the years and got fixed by our first plumber.

No thanks to him that he NEVER warn us about the evil black pipes!



A New Zealand Builder "shame" that they try to hide and forget!

Plucked from the internet:

It wasn't just cheaper houses. It was most new houses in the 70's, 80's and early 90's, as the dux plumbing was the alternative to copper back then.Even today, most new houses have plastic piping installed, and Dux Quest was the 70's version. I just saw an expensive architect designed house that was built in 91, and has leaking dux quest plumbing.

They are going to need to rip out a number of walls. Probably a 10-20k job in all.

Pipes aren't just in the floors, but also in the walls, which can be a hell of a job to reline all the walls and replace adjoining floor coverings. The cheap way is to just attach the replacement pipe onto the outside of the wall, and leave the old faulty water pipe in the wall, but it doesn't look good.Even today, most new houses have plastic piping installed.

It can take 20-30 years before the dux stuff begins to leak, so it is a ticking time bomb, and you don't know it is leaking until you see a slightly bulging wall or floor.

Faulty plumbing is also very difficult for a property inspection to pick up."

Go and Google "black Dux Quest pipes" and the 277,000 hits will scare the heck out of you!!

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