What’s Wrong with My House? Faults in Wood Framed Houses

Date: February 2, 2017 - 5:30pm

A presentation and discussion lead by Dr. Nigel Isaacs, Fulbright Scholar from New Zealand, currently visiting Urbana

  • Where: Urbana Civic Center, 108 E Water St. Urbana
  • Date & Time: Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm
  • Who should attend: Home owners, home inspectors, home repair contractors, handymen/women, building code officials, building researchers, architecture students, building construction students etc.

About the Discussion: Many houses in Urbana-Champaign are wood framed, with or without a crawl-space – very similar to New Zealand houses. We all like to think that our house is in great shape, but what is the truth? The time most people look is just before the house is offered for sale. Based on a study of New Zealand house inspection reports, this presentation illustrates common problems. Just one fifth (21%) of the houses could be considered to be in excellent condition, suggesting there is a very large need for house maintenance. Common issues include high levels of moisture, asbestos, poor sub-floor structure, use of untreated timber, poor management of external moisture, concrete spalling, corrosion, fungal, plant or animal impacts, ground or material movement and dangerous electrical systems. While the identification of problems is a first step to their resolution, in the longer term the house owner will get better value and a better living environment from their building through being able to direct their maintenance funds.

About the speaker: Dr. Nigel Isaacs is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and is currently a Fulbright Scholar at the Indoor Climate Research and Training Center, University of Illinois where he is exploring the background to a 1922 American building code. Nigel teaches courses in environmental science, history of building technology and heritage conservation. His research focuses on the interface between buildings, their creators and users. Previous research includes national studies of energy use in houses, offices, shops, schools and hotels; identifying faults in existing houses; the history of the technology of the New Zealand timber house and the international development of sub-floor (crawl space) ventilation requirements.

Sponsored by the Indoor Climate Research & Training, the Applied Research Institution at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Contact Indoor Climate Research & Training, Stacy Gloss, 217/300-7430 or

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Last modified:Friday, December 22, 2017 - 15:45
- Author: Visitor