Owners of leaky Auckland apartments costing $29m to fix say they are the true victims of a builder's failure after the company blamed the job for its woes.

The liquidator of Christchurch-headquartered failed builder Corbel Construction yesterday cited an Auckland leaky building repair job - but apartment owners also say they are the true victims.

Andrew Oorschot of Christchurch accountant Ashton Wheelans said Corbel's directors had advised that "as the result of unexpected adverse adjudication ruling in relation to a project in Parnell, they were not satisfied that the company will be able to meet its obligations".

Craig Jones and Mark Wells, both of Christchurch, are listed Corbel's directors. With their partners, they also own the company along with Hereford Trustees.


One of Corbel's jobs was fixing the 81-unit Parnell Terraces on The Strand, Quay Park, where costs blew out when the true extent of issues became clear, from $11.7m to $29m, an owner of one unit said.

The unit owner, who spent $300,000 on repairs, believed Corbel under-achieved on the repair.

Corbel was expected to take eight months to fix the units but took nearly two years, he said, and arbitration had ruled in the owners' interests to the tune of about $500,000, he said.

"We're not experts. We didn't know how much it would cost to fix. They're meant to be the experts," the angry owner said.

The big terraced-style housing complex beside the railway line has been under white shrink-wrap but as repairs progressed that has been removed and the owner said people might return to their homes there soon.

"Many people are retired and can't afford this," he said.

In July, the Herald reported how Corbel had left the site. Ross Meikle, who was then 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."

Read more: Leaky building repairs drag on: $24m bill yet 81 townhouses still uninhabitable


Another owner said she was being asked to pay $20,000 next week but could not afford that: "I am too old for this. I want to sell but they do not even give me the key."

Oorschot said he would make no further comments on Corbel, apart from issuing the statement yesterday where he did not name Parnell Terraces directly.

Michael Rehm, Parnell Terraces' body corporate chairperson, was not immediately available for comment.