The causes of the Leaky Homes Crisis

A leaky home (file)
A leaky home (file)

The Leaky Homes Crisis - it's a phrase we hear all the time.

But what does it really mean and how did the saga start?

It began in the early 90's when untreated timber-framed "Mediterranean" style houses with flat roofs and plaster cladding became the new trend and were built rapidly across the country.

But when bad weather hit, a major flaw was found. Cracks that were insignificant in other claddings, allowed significant moisture into the framing when in plaster.

Then the rot set in with a building code change in 1995, which allowed untreated timber to be used in framing.

Between 1993 and 2005 there were more than 89,000 homes affected.

Fixing leaky homes ranged from targeting isolated leaks to re-cladding entire buildings, which can cost more than $300,000.

In 2009, a building expert report panel calculated the cost of the crisis at $23 billion.

But the government believed the figure was an overstatement and later reduced it by half. Using "the consensus view" they found there were 42,000 homes and a repair bill of $11 billion.

To help pay for the damage, the government came up with a scheme to split the cost with the home owner.

The government and local council each paid a quarter of the repair cost with the owner paying the remainder.

But by November 2012, the latest figures available show only 12 homeowner had received final payouts.

And with several thousand homes across the country still awaiting repairs, it's boiled over into a costly legal disaster.