Major leaks at a new and prestigious Auckland beachfront mansion soaked up a massive $1.4 million when it was fixed - one of the largest repair bills in the rotting homes crisis.
Now, its owners are suing at least 13 parties involved in its design and construction through the High Court at Auckland.
The court heard how the luxurious multi-level Mediterranean-style stucco-clad house on the beach in Takapuna's Brett Ave suffered from 52 separate defects which cost $1,470,000 to fix.
The house was developed in a neighbourhood where houses routinely fetch $5 million-plus and which is populated by prominent millionaires including Navman founder Peter Maire and businessman Craig Heatley.
The cul-de-sac Brett Ave runs parallel to two other blue-ribbon Takapuna streets, O'Neills Ave and Minnehaha Ave.
The house was built for John and Diana Struthers, entrepreneurs who established the Avanti bike manufacturing business.
But their attempts to sue the Government over its role in the building disaster have largely failed.
Justice Marion Frater struck out their claims against the former Building Industry Authority but allowed some action against the Building Research Association - both widely blamed for the leaky building crisis.
The Struthers' case named a string of defendants: architects Andrew Patterson and Bryan Windeatt, Patterson Co-Partners Architects, North City Builders and its directors David Fitt and David Milne, Master Build Services, the North Shore City Council, Fletcher Building, Trade Mart, James Hardie NZ, Plaster Systems, Tenon Industries, the BIA, BRANZ, Pharaoh Textures and director William O'Halloran, Equus Industries and Vero Insurance NZ.
Justice Frater said the case dated back to 1997 when the Struthers engaged architects to design a large house on their beachfront property.
But all the hallmarks of a leaky building were involved: untreated kiln-dried timber wall framing, clad in Hardibacker fibre cement sheet coated with Duraplast reinforced plaster. The council issued a consent for building work but, by 2001, a significant amount of moisture had entered the timber framing, causing it to rot.
The Struthers claimed for the cost of the repairs, loss of the house during the months it took to fix, loss of market value, the cost of professional fees, aggravated and punitive damages. The BIA and BRANZ sought to be struck out from the action, with Crown Law acting for the BIA and Julian Miles QC acting for BRANZ.
The Struthers argued that the BIA set the rules and BRANZ tested the building materials. Both owed them a duty of care yet were negligent. But Justice Frater cited the Court of Appeals decision to strike out the BIA as a party to action on the multi-unit Sacramento apartments in Botany Town Centre.
Mr Miles argued BRANZ could not force the industry to accept the building systems it appraised and the organisation had no supervisory or enforcement powers.
Justice Frater allowed the strike-out application against the BIA but allowed the Struthers time to amend their statement of claim against BRANZ.