Repairs to a big Auckland hotel and apartment tower are starting after the owners won a $20.5m settlement and leaked documents reveal how the huge job will be undertaken via an unusual scaffolding system.

In 2015, Takapuna's Spencer On Byron apartment owners won $20.05 million - including $10 million from Auckland Council - to fix the tower's defects when they also won the right to take their case to the Supreme Court.

That resulted in a secret settlement, revealed in a letter from the body corporate settlement committee and forwarded to the Herald. Now, the block's body corporate committee has updated owners on repairs in a newsletter telling of a "grindingly slow process".

The hotel will remain open and continue to trade during repairs, owners have been told.

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"In the interests of being able to hold the building open as much as can be throughout the project work being handled, the BCC is relying on a 'donut' style all-weather wrap-around system for just two floors at a time.

"This will move from the lower public floors upwards. The system is somewhat unique in as much as something has needed to be specifically designed for such a tall building where lots of health and safety issues are involved. The final design that has been settled on with the engineers will take months to construct once contracted," the minutes from last year said.

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An owners' update meeting heard from architect Frank Cleary of Babbage, involved with the building since 2009.

"Water ingress via the cladding wets the building paper and then travels down the building. Wind has had an effect, especially the corners. Horizontal surfaces not well waterproofed," minutes of that meeting said.

"The building was built in 2002 and during those 15 years there have been many shifts in the building code. This means that the cost of remediation has to attempt to bring the building up to current code. Some will not be achieved but the fire protection is one area that there can be no compromise," minutes said.

"There are windows that don't require attention. However the window seals should be replaced now to avoid works being required there a few years later."

The owners fought for years to get the money to fix their properties, initially losing in the High Court and Court of Appeal but then winning a Supreme Court decision, resulting in a settlement between them, the former North Shore City Council and others.

The body corporate chairman, Greg Remmington, is also the area general manager of the hotel. His assistant referred questions about repairs to the Shay Group, a body corporate and property management company.