An 81-unit defective Auckland townhouse complex has a $24 million repair bill yet remains uninhabitable.
A number problems, including the departure of the long-time contractor, has left residents frustrated by the drawn-out repair process.
Michael Rehm, body corporate chairman of Parnell Terraces, said all 81 units remained uninhabitable: one block had no roof, four were wrapped in protective material while work on others was nearing completion.
"The site was closed for three weeks," he said today in relation to a dispute with a contracting firm. There were also problems with weather-protective material designed to keep the buildings dry while they were being repaired, he said.
Rehm hopes owners will be able to return later this year and said a new contractor was now on the site.
Ross Meikle, Corbel chief executive, said: "We have taken steps to terminate the contract following several months of payment claims being under-valued which we believe indicates that the body corporate doesn't have sufficient funds to pay for the contract."
The townhouses are in a prime block near the CBD, behind Beach Rd, between Roynane St, Ngaoha Pl and the main railway line near the Spark Arena.
Rehm said new contractor RCC Remediate had moved onto the site and began work yesterday after Corbel left. And although no formal contract was signed with RCC, he hopes the work will be done soon.
Residents should be able to return before Christmas, Rehm said.
Read more: Shock $24m Parnell Terraces bill
"We are doing the best we can to get the project back underway and owners back into their units as soon as possible. Owners are under immense financial pressure and stress," Rehm said.
"I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."
Some residents said a few months ago they expected the buildings would cost $26m to fix, but Rehm said the final price remained unknown: "Costs will be better understood after the replacement contractor is engaged but the body corporate's hope is that our overall costs will come down from the numbers reported earlier, but that is not necessarily the case, particularly given the dispute that will need to be settled," he said, referring to a contractor.
The repair bill shot from $11.7m two years ago to $24m last year and some owners say it is too much.
A townhouse investor/owner complained last year that the new bill was beyond her: "As an owner living on a pension, I have contributed so far but can no longer do so. I am not alone," she said.