At 10.30pm on Sunday 29 April 2018, David received the news that no business owner ever wants. The show home adjacent to his Golden Homes branch in Drury, south of Auckland, was the latest structure to be targeted by two serial arsonists, who allegedly lit 15 fires in eight days across the district.
Rushing to the scene, he arrived to the flashing lights of a dozen or so fire engines, and crews hosing gallons of water into a smouldering living area.
The centre of the home suffered enough damage to force a write-off, but the situation could have been far worse if not for the Gerard roofing system chosen years earlier.
Gerard roof endures blaze
Assessing the damage the next day, David recalls how well preserved the structure was. “I had the inspector with me, and he turned to me pretty quickly and said the place was structurally sound," he says. "It meant we could get inside and walk around for a good look. The timber battens around where the fire was lit had been completely burnt out, but apart from some scarring, the steel framing and the roof were undamaged.”
Gerard’s acrylic, non-combustible surface coating had clearly decomposed due to the intense heat, but crucially flames had not spread from the fire zone, and the roof’s aluminium-zinc steel substrate proved completely impenetrable — facts which David feels may have spared parts of the home and, had the dwelling been occupied, saved lives: “A couple of the outer bedrooms and bathrooms were pretty much untouched," he says. "It sounds strange but there wasn’t that much fire damage throughout.”
Gerard is tested against AS/NZS 1530.3, the New Zealand standard which covers fire performance, or in technical terms, the simultaneous determination of ignitability, flame propogation, and the heat and smoke release of surface coatings.
Gerard chosen again for replacement
Fortunately, David and his team have been able to quickly rebuild and recover. For his brand new 400m² show home he’s repeated the formula of steel framing, and a textured Gerard Corona roof in Charcoal: “We built on the exact same footprint as the original, and from the night of the fire to the date we moved into the show home, it was less than six months," he explains. "We were fortunate that the consenting process is quite a bit quicker when you’re replacing fire damage. We were back in before our insurance was paid out.”
With the Golden Homes group mandating the use of Zog steel framing for all new builds in 2009, David naturally champions the use of steel in housing construction, meaning he’s also a fan of Gerard roofing: “Our experience over the years has been that Gerard’s a great brand in the market. There’s the proven fire performance, but also quotes are turned around at speed, and the service provided by sales has been first class.”