Property editor of the NZ Herald

Botany site under wraps for work on rot

The weather-tightness repairs at the Botany Town Centre are not expected to finish until October next year. Photo / Chris Gorman
The weather-tightness repairs at the Botany Town Centre are not expected to finish until October next year. Photo / Chris Gorman

Major weather-tightness repair work is under way at the $300 million 150-shop Botany Town Centre, despite boasts when it opened in a deluge last decade that it had no leaks.

Stephen Costley, the general manager of owner AMP Capital Property Portfolio, said yesterday that extensive repairs were being done at the Mainzeal-built Auckland centre.

When it opened in May 2001, the region got half the month's rainfall in just one afternoon.

"Not one leak," boasted Botany Town Centre retail manager Gale Wieland at the time, "even if the people at Westfield were hoping it was going to happen on opening day".

But now part of the centre is under weatherproof wrap and Mr Costley said the job where Naylor Love are working would not finish until October next year.

"We're going building by building, piece by piece and we're spending a significant outlay.

It's a major project," he said, refusing to discuss whether AMP had reached a settlement or been paid by any party involved in Botany's construction.

Many offices were built on the first level above the shops. "Water was coming in through the facades and some of the gutter systems," Mr Costley said. "Occasionally it would drip into the retail spaces. Parts of the centre are untreated timber."

The full scale of the issues was not revealed until the first refit of some shops, when decay was discovered.

Botany's issues follow a Herald report on Chancery, the Auckland CBD shopping/office precinct, that is also under cover as Arrow International does a $3.4 million repair job.

Chancery opened in 2000 and has many different owners, some of whom had been plagued by weather-tightness problems for many years. Repairs there were also coinciding with a facelift and a new colour scheme by architects Ignite.

In April, the Ministry of Education began multibillion-dollar legal action against major building product companies, including Australian giant James Hardie, over its huge repair bill for leaky school buildings.

The ministry was fighting more than 100 leaky-building court cases and remediation work was under way in more than 800 buildings at more than 300 schools nationwide.

James Hardie denied claims some of its products failed.

- NZ Herald

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