Regional Council's leaky building costs double

By Lawrence Gullery

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The cost of fixing Hawke's Bay Regional Council's leaky building in Napier has more than doubled to nearly $2m because of complications over who should repair the failing windows which have left the structure open to water penetration.


The regional council filed court action against Hebert Construction in 2012 to pay for repairs to its Dalton St office, which the firm built in 2005.


The council met yesterday for an update on the case and to hear from Kevin Longman of KLHB Building Consultants, a weather tightness specialist and expert in leaky building assessments.


KLHB undertook initial assessments on water tightness of the Dalton St building and Mr Longman will be retained by the council to provide evidence to support its legal claim.


Mr Longman said his most recent assessment showed the windows could be repaired without removal but the work would have to be done by the original manufacturer and installer, Toops Aluminum, to achieve a warrant.


"But the original contractor is also a third party with Herbert Construction (in court) and if you get another contractor to fix the windows, the original contractor will be reluctant to give a warrant.


"What that leads to is removal and replacement of the windows, removal of the cladding and that is something I didn't anticipate during my initial assessment."


As a result, the remedial work originally priced at $900,000 now stood at $1.922m.


Councillors were shocked to hear details of Mr Longman's updated assessment on the failing flashing and cladding systems on the building.


"In some cases the flashings were installed correctly, in other places they were installed incorrectly and water penetration had occurred. And in other locations they (flashings) were not installed at all."


Councillors wanted to know if other organisations involved in the construction project could attract liability and if a separate legal case could be mounted against them.


It included Napier City Council which gave the building a code of compliance and Opus International Consultants, which gave the building a practical completion certificate.


"It's a matter of when (Napier City Council) inspected the building. There was at least one situation during construction when they did see cladding wasn't installed correctly and refused to pass it as satisfactory so they attended at that time.


"What we would do as part of the process in preparing for this dispute is link construction progress with those inspections to determine if they could see whether flashing was installed."


The council agreed to award the remedial work contract to Mackersey Construction for $1.922m and would pursue recovery of the cost from Herbert Construction through the court.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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