Orewa's 12-level Nautilus apartment block is under repair, after owners won more than $25 million for defects which caused it to leak.

Two years ago, owners of the 150 apartments spent about $2 million on litigation over the building constructed by Brookfield Multiplex (NZ).

The block was certified by Rodney District Council, now subsumed into Auckland Council. The body corporate's successful action was against the council, the builder, and other contractors.

Tim Rainey, a Shortland St-based lawyer specialising in leaky buildings, acted for owners.


At the time of the litigation in the High Court at Auckland, the hearing which ran for six weeks made it one of the longest cases of its type, Rainey said.

Owners won $25.07m, then the largest payout. Justice Murray Gilbert's decision meant the council was responsible for paying the entire amount, leaving ratepayers to shoulder the burden. The council could seek to recover part of that money back from the other parties.

Owners got $21,958,133 remediation costs, $1.8m general damages $1,284,673.80 consequential loss (rent, alternative accommodation costs, storage of items, etc) and $29,701 interim repair costs. That gave a total: $25,072,507.80. But a further $1m costs, including $800,000 expert witness fees, was also awarded.

The council this year identified the distinctive silver block as having aluminium composite panel cladding, similar to that of Grenfell Towers in London, scene of the disastrous fire this year.

However, the building has a range of fire detection and prevention facilities which meant there was no danger to residents.

Justice Gilbert said the Nautilus was built for "some $35 million between October 2002 and June 2004,: and that owners who took the case said it suffered from such fundamental design and construction defects that it would cost over $23m to repair".

Nautilus has shops and a cafe on the ground level, two levels of carparking above that and a podium with a tower on top. The podium is split into two levels, with a pool and gym on the lower podium which is landscaped.

Rainey said in May 2015 that he had offered to reach a settlement of $15.07m with the council to avoid the case going to court. However, he said the council did not respond.


The Nautilus was developed by Cornerstone Group's Rick Martin but caused an outcry when it went up around 2003 in the heart of the low-rise coastal town for its height and dominance over the surrounding landscape.