A company which supplied defective wall panels which cracked after installation has been ordered to pay more than $84,000 in damages to a Northland couple.
Randolph Urlich and his wife Karen planned to build their dream home on Tokerau Beach Rd on Karikari Peninsula in 2015 and were sold a new wall panel system, K3T, by Auckland-based Global Fibre8 (GF8) and designed plans and specifications for its installation.
In a High Court judgement, obtained by the Northern Advocate, it was revealed GF8 director Tangi Tuake told the couple K3T was a tested and approved building material in New Zealand but it was not.
They agreed to the purchase, Far North District Council granted a building consent, and the Urlichs engaged Stephen Barclay and SMB Builders to build the house in May 2016.
In mid-October 2016, the Urlichs noticed cracking in K3T around windows and doors, on the vertical joints inside and on plaster applied to the face of the panels.
They twice met with Tuake on site in late October but the latter failed to show for a scheduled visit with them and an FNDC building inspector in February 2017.
GF8 then stopped responding to contact.
FNDC issued a Notice to Fix defects and all work had to be stopped.
A new building consent was obtained and another builder engaged to rebuild the house.
FNDC confirmed compliance in November 2017.
The Urlichs sued FNDC, GF8, and Barclay and later SMB Builders but a settlement was reached with all except GF8.
Since GF8 did not file a statement of defence, the matter was set down for a formal proof hearing by the High Court and a judgment was issued on Tuesday.Justice Matthew Palmer said the K3T, its plans and specifications were defective while awarding the Urlichs $64,464 and a further $20,000 in special and general damages respectively.
Karen Urlich said she and her husband have suffered extreme financial loss and emotional stress as a result of GF8's conduct which she described as "fraud".
"Our main aim is to stop other people from getting into a similar situation because too many people have been sucked in," she said.
Justice Palmer ruled GF8 breached the Fair Trading Act by engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct in its characterisation of the qualities of K3T and the status of the codemark certificate.
He said the Commerce Commission has been investigating GF8 but hasn't yet issued its decision.