Homeowners of 19 of the 21 buildings in the Bella Vista Homes development will not be able to return to their homes for at least three weeks as new problems have been identified.

Over the past week, Tauranga City Council has received advice from four experts from different companies that have identified a number of new issues including problems related to geotechnical, structural and building compliance.

As part of the ongoing assessments, geotechnical experts have carried out a survey of the Bella Vista site, and tested above and below the ground using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR).

Tauranga City Council representatives provided an update on the situation and outlined at a high level three possible options that it is working on during a meeting Thursday night with owners and residents who were evacuated earlier this month. The meeting was also broadcast live to owners living outside of Tauranga, including in Australia.


Emotions ran high as about 30 homeowners heard the news there were further problems
with their properties.

Homeowner Colin Mills was "shocked and surprised" when told by the council that his
unfinished property failed the latest test.

He asked councillors if all of the Bella Vista homes would undergo the same testing, which the council could not confirm.

New problems have been identified with the former Bella Vista Homes development. Photo/File
New problems have been identified with the former Bella Vista Homes development. Photo/File

Owners were told that based on the expert advice, 19 of the 21 buildings could be issued with dangerous building notices. If that is correct, owners and residents will not be able to reoccupy their homes for some time.

Residents have been advised that they won't be able to return to their homes within the next three weeks.

Tauranga City Council has also revealed the approximate cost for temporary accommodation and security at the site over the past week was $65,000 and would continue to cover accommodation costs until April 12.

Structural engineers have completed invasive testing on four homes by removing areas of GIB board, so they could assess the structure behind the walls. The buildings are near completion.

The initial advice is that two of the homes have the same structural issues as three buildings previously deemed dangerous.

Engineers have also raised a new issue with the basement concrete block walls after checking the designs of two properties.

On one of the properties, tests have shown the basement wall is not able to support water pressure loads.

The basement walls at the former Bella Vista development are designed to withstand the pressure of dry dirt. However, because the drainage at the site is inadequate, this places a heavier load on the walls and presents a risk.

The assessment of design for the other building's wall showed that it is able to withstand the pressure, however the engineers need to confirm what has been built is the same as what has been designed.

All but two of the buildings at this development have this type of basement wall and would need to be checked for safety.

Over the past month-and-a-half, the council has been undertaking a comprehensive assessment of all homes following the liquidation of Bella Vista on November 30, 2017.

On Friday, March 9, the council issued a warrant to evacuate the properties in advance of a predicted extreme weather event and to allow for emergency works at the subdivision.

Part of the reason for the evacuation was a concern with an unretained slope and the potential for the slope to fail. The geotechnical advice is that the unretained slope remains an issue, but it is only part of the problem.

The council has also presented owners with three potential options that it is considering, which include: working with owners on remediation; council buying the properties, demolishing the buildings and on-selling them to a developer; and, Council undertaking its regulatory functions only.

Councillors will make the final decision as to how to proceed and the council would work with owners individually.

Expert assessments are due to be completed by April 12.

After that date, residents and owners will need to find their own alternative accommodation if required. The council will work with owners and residents on a case-by-case basis and may consider offering an accommodation supplement, at a cost yet to be determined.