Tauranga City Council has launched an investigation into their building inspection staff following the Bella Vista Homes development.

Mayor Greg Brownless told NZME today that retired judge Graeme Colgan will head the investigation aimed to identify "hard truths" around council failings in their building consent authority capacity.

The council is already being investigated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment over the Bella Vista Homes debacle which left 21 homeowners evacuated after shoddy workmanship was discovered.

Four months on since councillors voted, in principle, to buy the affected homes, 20 of the property owners were still in negotiations with legal threats looming.

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Brownless said the council had to face the issue head-on.

"There were some unanswered questions in finding out the why [this happened]. We know the how," he said.

"The new chief executive has commenced an employment investigation into staff involved from our end.

"We hope to have it finished by the end of the year."