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Below are a collection of frequently asked questions and answers. Should you need further information, please contact us.

What is a Building Survey?

A professional review of a property that will give you a comprehensive account of the property's condition. The survey may relate to various types of buildings, including residential, commercial, industrial and public service buildings. The type of survey can be tailored to your needs. Where required we can coordinate other specialist services such as cadastral land surveys, engineering surveys and scientific expertise. On completion of the site survey and relevant research and testing, you will receive a detailed technical report describing the findings and advising as to further investigations or the way forward.

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What does a Quantity Surveyor do?

In simple terms the quantity surveyor is your accountant for the building industry and is involved in the financial matters of building construction. The traditional role commonly includes estimating costs for proposed projects, obtaining tenders for construction and administering the financial aspects of a contract; being the preparation of progress payments to the contractor and agreeing the cost of variations and a final account for a project.

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What is Hygrothermal Monitoring?

Hygrothermal monitoring is essentially the collection of moisture and temperature conditions within the building assemblies over a given amount of time. (This could range anywhere from one month to one year.) Sensors embedded within the assemblies take regular measurements of the relative humidity and temperature within the cavity, pressure differences across the cladding and the moisture content of timber components. This data is then transmitted to our computers in the office where we can format and analyse the information.

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What is a Provisional Sum?

A Provisional Sum would typically be an item within an overall estimate for a project and is an estimated cost allowance to supply and install a portion of works that may not be fully designed and detailed.

Example - Provisional Sum allowance for Entry Canopy - $15,000.00. There are no details of the canopy construction, however we know we need to make an allowance for one. The Quantity Surveyor will determine the value of the Provisional Sum by size, location, quality of finishes specified for other components of the building, and historical pricing resources.

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Do you carry out pre-purchase house inspections?

No, we do not.

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How long will it take for your comprehensive report to be completed following the investigation?

Usually around six weeks, depending on our workload. We believe it's important to be very thorough in our reporting, especially when there may be litigation involved. We will need to send off for forensic analysis of samples taken from the building and analyse our moisture content readings. We also take time to choose pertinent photographs and undertake a study of the council property file. We peer review all our reports to ensure they are of the best quality and value for our clients.

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How can I upgrade my existing thermal insulation, and is it necessary?

We can model the existing situation with WUFI and develop the proposed upgrade based on the outcome. By doing so, we can show the difference between the existing situation and the proposed upgrade, which will determine whether it is necessary to upgrade.

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Why do I need drawings?

The drawings qualify and quantify the work to be done, so that all parties know precisely what work is to be completed and how the work is to be carried out. Local authorities often need to check drawings to ensure the proposed work complies with all the relevant building codes and standards.

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My property is designed in a Mediterranean style and this is causing me concern. Can you help?

Yes, we can help. Firstly, we can provide an initial assessment of the building based on a visual inspection supported by amiable information. Our report will provide recommendations as to what steps, if any, should be taken to maintain the property value and condition.

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Useful Apps


MagicPlan measures your rooms and draws your floor plan just by taking pictures!

You can then get your floor plan in PDF, JPG and DXF format or publish an interactive floor plan on the web.

MagicPlan is the ideal app for Real Estate Agents, Craftsmen, Adjusters, Firemen, Architects, Home Inspectors, Interior Designers, Small Businesses, Furniture Retailers and many more.

With MagicPlan, everyone can create a floor plan in only a few minutes.  

  • No need to measure
  • No need to draw
  • No need to move furniture
  • No need for expertise  

To download something similar for Android click here


AutoCAD 360

Autodesk® AutoCAD 360—formerly AutoCAD WS—is the official AutoCAD® mobile app. 

AutoCAD 360 is a free*, easy-to-use drawing and drafting mobile app that allows you to view, edit, and share AutoCAD drawings—anytime, anywhere. Simplify site visits and fieldwork with powerful design review and markup tools—available online and offline. Seamlessly share drawings with others across desktop, web, and mobile devices. Easily access drawings from web browsers using the free companion AutoCAD 360 web app. AutoCAD 360 Pro subscription plans further expand the functionality of the app, bringing additional capabilities to the field.

  • Open 2D and 3D DWG drawings uploaded to your free* AutoCAD 360 online account
  • Work offline, then easily upload changes when you are back online
  • Upload and open files directly from email on your device
  • See all aspects of your DWG file, including external references, layers, and image underlays
  • Use multi-touch zoom and pan to easily navigate large drawings
  • Use your device’s GPS to orient yourself within a drawing


Adobe Photoshop Touch

Transform your images with core Adobe Photoshop features in an app designed for tablets.

Combine images, apply professional effects, share results with friends and family through Facebook and Twitter – all from the convenience of your tablet. Use popular Photoshop features designed for the tablet such as layers, selection tools, adjustments, and filters to create mind-blowing images. Use your tablet camera to fill an area on a layer with the unique camera fill feature. 

  • Select part of an image to extract by scribbling with the Scribble Selection tool. 
  • Work on high-resolution images while maintaining the highest image quality
  • Follow step-by-step tutorials to easily learn techniques the pros use for great-looking results
  • Search and acquire images with the integrated Google Image Search
  • Browse an inspirational gallery for the styles and results you'd like to achieve
  • Automatically sync projects to Adobe Creative Cloud* and open layered files from Adobe Photoshop Touch in Photoshop CS6 or Photoshop CS5
  • Free membership to Creative Cloud gives you 2GB of cloud storage plus the ability to sync between tablet and desktop, access files from the web, and easily share with others

Learn more >


360 Panorama

Beautiful panoramas made easy.

Take stunning 360 panoramas everywhere. 360 Panorama turns your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad or Android into a full featured 360 degree panoramic camera. Easily capture immersive panoramas in seconds and instantly share your 360 view with the world. Simply pan the camera and watch as images are stitched seamlessly. 360 Panorama captures the scene in a way you never could with a traditional camera.

Designed to take full advantage of your device.

  • Unbeatable speed: Taps into the raw power of your device to stitch panoramas in realtime
  • Magical gyro viewing: Use your gyroscope to interact — look around in 360 degrees
  • Never forget a location: Every panorama is GPS tagged, complete with a compass heading


Converter Plus

Converter Plus is a unit converter with the most extensive list of currencies and units in hundreds of categories.

Converter Plus also comes with many calculators like mortgage, loan, tip, fuel consumption and many others for everyday problems. You can edit existing templates, add your own or download templates contributed by other users. Exchange rates for all 167 world's currencies is refreshed automatically every 6 hours or on request.

  • Converting multiple units/currencies simultaneously
  • Support for compound units like Pounds + Ounces or Feet + Inches
  • Full text search to quickly locate categories and units
  • Built-in standard calculator
  • Automatic currency exchange rate refresh 
  • Edit units/templates and sharing the templates via email
  • Download templates from the Converter Plus catalog on the internet 

To download something similar for Android click here

MyScript Calculator

MyScript Calculator wins Mobile App Showdown at CES 2013!

With MyScript© Calculator, perform mathematical operations naturally using your handwriting.

The Free handwriting calculator for your iPhone, iPad or Android.

Easy, simple and intuitive, just write the mathematical expression on the screen then let MyScript technology perform its magic converting symbols and numbers to digital text and delivering the result in real time. The same experience as writing on paper with the advantages of a digital device, solve mathematical equations by hand without actually having to crunch the numbers yourself.

  • Use your handwriting to write any arithmetic formula
  • Write and calculate mathematical expressions in an intuitive and natural way with no keyboard
  • Scratch-out gestures to easily delete symbols and numbers
  • Portrait and landscape operation
  • Redo and undo functions



The free repair manual! Thousands of how-to guides make it easy to repair your stuff. Fix your own things with step-by-step repair instructions.

Our native iPad view is the best way to repair anything.

Explore inside thousands of devices—before you take yours apart. Need more detail on a step? Zoom into high resolution images to see all the fine details!

Parts Store: buy parts and tools right in the app!

  • MacBook & MacBook Pro Repair
  • PowerBook & iBook Repair
  • iPad, iPhone & iPod Repair
  • Xbox Repair
  • PlayStation Repair
  • PC Laptop Repair
  • Dozens of digital camera repair manuals
  • Hundreds of cell phone repair manuals
  • Harley Davidson Repair
  • Honda Accord Repair




Glossary of terms



Acceptable Solution

A prescriptive design solution approved by the BIA as a way of complying with the Building Code. Acceptable Solutions are published in the Approved Documents and often quote familiar documents such as New Zealand Standards.


A certificate of accreditation issued by the BIA states that a specific building product, system or method meets nominated provisions of the Building Code.

Alternative Solution

A design solution which differs totally or partially from solutions given in the Approved Documents yet complies with the Building Code. These are stand-alone solutions, considered and approved on their individual merits by a territorial authority (TA) or building certifier.


A certificate or report issued by a person or organisation stating an opinion that a building product, system or method is suitable for some purpose.

Approved Documents

Documents issued by the BIA. They comprise Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods that provide methods of compliance with the Building Code. The methods describe a particular way of complying and it is not mandatory that they should be followed.

Building Act

An Act of Parliament that commenced on 15 February 1992. Its purposes include providing for necessary controls relating to building work and the use of buildings and for ensuring that buildings are safe and sanitary and have means of escape from fire.

Building Certifier

A privately employed person or organisation approved and registered by the BIA to check plans and specifications and building work during construction. Owners have the choice of employing building certifiers as alternatives to council (territorial authority) building officers.

Building Code

The First Schedule of the Building Regulations 1992 for prescribing the functional requirements for buildings and the performance criteria with which new building work must comply. Compliance with the Building Code is mandatory.

Building Consent

A consent for building work to begin in accordance with the approved plans and specifications. It is issued by the territorial authority and includes plumbing and drainage work.

Building Industry Authority (BIA) 

An independent Crown entity established in 1992. Its fundamental purpose is to manage New Zealand’s building legislation.

Building Wrap

A building paper or underlay placed behind cladding systems to assist the control of moisture by ensuring any condensation or moisture behind the cladding system is directed to the exterior of the building.

Cantilevered Balcony

A balcony reliant on the extension of framing members, such as beams or joists from the face of a building for its structural stability, i.e. no support is provided at the outer extremities of the balcony.


External wall coverings such as timber or plaster.

Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) 

A certificate issued by a territorial authority or building certifier at the completion of building work, confirming that the building work under the building consent complies with the relevant provisions of the Building Code.


(meaning, in the context of weathertightness),

where a building material has been affected by moisture to such an extent that the properties of that building material may jeopardise, weaken and / or prejudice the future performance of the building element. 


District Plan

A document prepared and issued by a territorial authority (TA) outlining how the TA proposes to maintain and develop its district. The height and location requirements of each TA can be found in its respective District Plan.

Drainage Plane

The plane, generally formed by a cavity, immediately behind a cladding system. This allows water that penetrates the cladding system to drain to the exterior of the building.


That part of the underside of a roof that extends beyond the external walls of a building. Also known as a soffit.

Edging Strip

Strip, not necessarily of timber, planted flush with the edge of an item to increase the edge face dimension, to achieve a finish or to act as a protection. 


The difference from a nominated reference surface (such as sea-level, or a mathematical / geodetic model that approximates the sea level known as the geoid



The face, or front of a building. 

Face-Sealed Cladding System

A cladding system that relies on a protective coating applied to the face of the cladding to seal and prevent the penetration of water.


An article intended to remain permanently attached to and form part of a building. (NZBC) 


Galvanised steel or other impervious material used in parts of a building to prevent penetration of moisture where different components meet. 

Functional Requirement

A term in the Building Code used to describe what is required of the building work so that the objectives of the particular Building Code Clause will be met.


Group Housing Company

A larger housing company building more than 100 homes per year.


Of or pertaining to both humidity and temperature.


Junction of similar or dissimilar materials. 


A horizontal framing member to which is fixed floor decking or ceiling linings and which is identified accordingly as a floor joist or ceiling joist. 

Junction (Drainlaying)

Specially prepared pipe with a socket to receive a branch pipe. 


Platform at the termination of one or more flights of stairs. 

LIM (Land Information Memorandum)

A report issued by a TA containing all the information held by the TA relevant to a specific property.

Moisture Content

The amount of moisture in timber expressed as a percentage of its oven-dry weight. 


  1. Pattern by which something is shaped, for example, the template used by a bricklayer or plasterer.
  2. Hollow form into which material is poured or pressed and allowed to cool or harden so as to assume a particular shape.
  3. Superficial growth of fungus which usually appears in the form of a woolly or furry coating

Monolithic Cladding

A cladding of sheet material with an applied coating to give the appearance of a seamless cladding, often imitating concrete, masonry or plaster.

Occupation Certificate

A certificate that the ‘Report’ recommends should be issued by a TA or building certifier certifying that a building is completed to the extent that it is safe and fit for occupation.

Overview Group

An independent group commissioned by the BIA to investigate the issue of building weathertightness.


The extension of a wall beyond the roof line. A parapet has its top and both sides exposed to the weather.

Performance (Requirement)

A term in the Building Code used to describe either qualitively or quantitively how far the building work must go in meeting the particular Building Code Clause’s objectives and functional requirements.

Producer Statement

A statement confirming that plans, specifications or completed works for all or a specific part of a building comply with certain technical requirements that will satisfy the Building Code.



(meaning, in the context of weather tightness),

The action of remedying defects and damage by knowledgeable investigation, measured design and quality construction. 

Resource Consent

A land use consent, issued in terms of the Resource Management Act 1991, by the TA for land use not designated a permitted activity in the TA’s District Plan. For example wishing to locate a building closer to the boundary than that permitted by the District Plan.


Territorial Authority (TA)

A City or District Council. The TA enforces the Building Act and Building Regulations in its territory.

Verification Method

A prescriptive calculation or test procedure approved by the BIA as a way of complying with the Building Code. Verification Methods are published in the Approved Documents.


The term used to describe the resistance of a building to the weather. Weathertightness is not necessarily waterproofing, but rather ensuring against undue dampness inside buildings and damage to building elements.


Design Services 

Our architects and building surveyors work hand-in-hand to ensure you get a property that looks great, and will remain watertight into the future. Remedial design takes into account all the elements that need to be replaced, repaired or amended to remedy the issues and prevent them from recurring. This means Remedial Design is far more complex than designing a new building. 

The process

The design process is most efficient when it’s split into two phases. The first is "Concept Design", which is where we outline the changes that need to be made to the property. This detail also allows us to produce more accurate costs. Concept designs are often just a written description, as in cases where a simple re-clad of the building will fix the problem. More complex projects can require drawings. 

The second phase, "Detailed Design", is where we sort out all the necessary details for remedial work to begin. The steps that need to be taken vary from project to project, but often involve producing more detailed drawings, seeking building consents and consulting with experts. Remedial design – for a building that looks good and remains watertight in years to come: contact us today to discuss your project.  

What we can provide for you

Typical services and stages might include:

  • Site assessment and feasilibity studies
  • Conceptual design
  • Developed design
  • Resource consent documentation
  • Building consent documentation
  • Working drawings
  • Tendering and appointment of contractor
  • Contract administration

Residential Design

We offer residential design services, including private houses and multi-unit dwellings. Our architects have a wide range of experience in the residential sector and have won NZIA awards for their projects. Our experience in remedial works means we are highly competent in designing buildings that not only meet the requirements of the brief, but do so in a way that is designed to last a long time.

Commercial Projects

We currently have a number of remedial projects with values ranging from $3 million to $15 million, so are dealing with large projects on a daily basis. Our staff is experienced in new build commercial projects and have worked on office buildings, recreation facilities, mixed use developments, office fit-outs, hospitals, community and institutional buildings and industrial buildings.

Cladding Design

Cladding design involves the appraisal of architecture, aesthetics and science of materials to form a weathertight building enclosure. We regularly provide design reviews of building enclosures for architects. Internationally, architects recognise the value in obtaining specialist advice regarding building enclosures.

Enclosure Design

Our experience with building science and remediation processes provides you with enclosure design that exceeds expectations.

Energy Efficient  

Alexander & Co. Ltd can provide design and science combined, to lift the energy profile of building.