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P.O Box 90799 Victoria Street Auckland Central Tel: 442 1560 Fax: 441 3358 Email: citywide@actrix.co.

nz www.citywidebuilding.co.nz

BUILDING CONSENT AND COMPLIANCE REVIEW OF:

THE COOPER HOUSE LOCATED AT TAKAKA, GOLDEN BAY

DECEMBER 2008

RESUME OF BILL CARTWRIGHT

My full name is Roger William Cartwright. I am a Director of Citywide Building Consultants (Auckland) Limited ("Citywide"). Citywide specialises in building assessments, weather tightness reports, structural surveys,

issues surrounding the New Zealand Building Code and on-site compliance monitoring for the building industry.

Qualifications and Experience

I have a trade certificate in carpentry, issued in 1973 and have many years practical experience as a building inspector for the Auckland City Council.

My work experience can be summarised as follows:

1970 1975: 1975 1984: 1984 1996: 1996 2002: 2002 Present:

Apprenticeship in carpentry; Labour only and contract building; Building inspector for the Auckland City Council; Team Manager, special projects, building inspections, Auckland City Council; Company director of Citywide.

I worked for the Auckland City Council for 18 years; the first 12 years as a building inspector. From my time at the Auckland City Council, I am in a position to comment on the practices of Territorial Authorities both in terms of processing building consent applications and in terms of Council inspections of the building work during construction, culminating in the issue of a code compliance certificate.

Since 2002, I have worked as an independent building consultant providing consultancy services on all aspects of compliance with the Building Act, the Building Code, and all associated documents and standards.

This has included providing advice to numerous homeowners who have purchased homes affected by moisture ingress. I have undertaken numerous building defect investigations and analyses, and provided

recommendations for clients on the remedial works required to rectify those defects and the resulting damage.

I have prepared and presented evidence as an expert witness for homeowners in several of these cases, particularly addressing the role that Council building inspectors employed by Territorial Authorities may have had in the existence of the defects in the property.

1. PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW


1.1.
This review has been commissioned by the Home Owners and Buyers Association of New Zealand on behalf of the current property owner in order to form a view of the consent, inspection and compliance processes related to the construction of the subject dwelling that has given rise to its failure to meet the performance criteria of clause E2 and all relevant sub clauses of the NZ Building Code, with the consequential impact on its durability [B2].

1.2.

Furthermore, it is intended to identify the defects of design and construction that should have been observed and noted by the council that have at this time had, or in the future will have, an impact on the performance of the dwelling in relation to clauses B1, B2 and E2 and all other relevant sub clauses of the NZ Building Code.

1.3.

There are various defects that have been identified that relate to the current and also future potential failure of the structure impacting on the ability of the external envelope (claddings) to prevent moisture penetration. This report is not limited to specifically reviewing issues relating to weathertightness [E2], other structural and construction matters have had to be taken into serious consideration as there is the clear potential for future failure.

2. BRIEF OVERVIEW AND HISTORY

2.1.

There is extensive history to this dwelling and many reports have been submitted with regards to the buildings defects and very obvious poor workmanship and resulting non-compliance. We will not spend time addressing these reports and the extensive history that goes with this matter, this is all available and can be read in conjunction with this report: In order to prepare this report we have;

a.

Reviewed the material provided, being the website prepared by the owner Mr Reg Cooper including all the attached expert reports, a copy of the Weathertight Homes report and subsequent addendum report, and the Tait report as commissioned by the Department of Building & Housings Manager of Determinations. We have also reviewed a file of documents supplied by Mr Jonathan Port which contains copies of letters and photographs.

b.

A copy of the site file in relation to the subject home which is held by the Tasman District Council (the Council) was reviewed when I personally visited the Council office located in Takaka on the 27th November 2008. This review was limited as some information was withheld due to pending legal action as a consequence I was only able to review a copy of the consented plans. A site visit was carried out on the 26th November 2008 at which time I fully assessed the dwelling and carried out some destructive testing. I was accompanied during that assessment by Mr Jonathan Port and the owner of the property Mr Reg Cooper.

c.

d.

This dwelling was constructed in 1993 into 1994. A Building Consent application was lodged with the Council and subsequently the Council issued the Building Consent to construct the dwelling. The building consent was allocated the number of 931261.

e.

The Building Consent form describes the works as New Dwelling and Garage with an intended life of indefinite but not less than 50 years. The fee charged by the council for this building consent was $893.00. The Building Consent was issued on the 13th August 1993.

f.

Two other Building Consents have been issued in relation to this dwelling; one for a garage and the other for a roof to a deck. Code Compliance Certificates have been issued in relation to all works undertaken in accordance with both of these Consents.

g.

The approved Building Consent documentation for the dwelling consists of a set of plans (two pages), some special conditions and a set of specifications.

h.

The site on which the dwelling has been constructed is a seaside property located in an elevated position directly exposed to the ocean. It is deemed to be in a zone which is classified as both a Sea Spray and a High Wind exposure zone.

3. ADEQUACY OF THE PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS ON WHICH THE COUNCIL ISSUED THE BUILDING CONSENT
3.1.
The Council is required to process building consents as set out in section 34 of the Building Act 1991 (Act). Section 34 states in part

34 Processing building consents (1) The territorial authority shall grant or refuse an application for a building consent within the prescribed period. (2) A territorial authority may, within the prescribed period, require further reasonable information in respect of the application and, for the purposes of this Act, the prescribed period shall be deemed to have been suspended until the further information is received by the territorial authority. (3) After considering an application for building consent, the territorial authority shall grant the consent if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the provisions of the building code would be met if the building work was properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted with the application.

3.2.

Plans and Specifications are defined in section 2 of the Building Act 1991 as: Plans and specifications means the drawings, specifications, and other documents according to which a building is proposed to be constructed, altered, demolished, or removed... To be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the provisions of the building code would be met if the building work was property completed in accordance with the plans and specifications it must determine whether the plans and

specifications submitted with the building consent application are adequate. The Act allows the Council to require further reasonable information and may cease processing the application until it is provided.

3.3.

The extent of plans and specifications required is not prescribed under the Building Act. However, in respect of the foundations, structural elements and external building envelope it is generally considered that the plans ought to have adequate detail, comprehensive specifications and manufacturers technical literature relevant to the design and construction materials proposed. In logic this is the only way the Council could possibly form a positive view of how the dwelling is to be built and finished to achieve the required level of structural stability and weathertightness and therefore achieve code compliance.

3.4.

A building needs to not only support its own weight, it must also be structurally stable to resist movement created by wind pressure, accumulation of snow, settlement and ground movement.

3.5.

In order for the Council to properly establish whether or not the dwelling, if built in conformance with the plans and specifications, would meet the performance and durability requirements of the Building Code, the plans and specifications should include;

a. A site plan showing the location of the dwelling by dimension to all boundaries, this plan should also contain the drainage plans.

b. Details of the intended foundations and floor slab to support the structure.

c.

Details of the cladding system to be used and if of a nature requiring specific installation instructions that specify particular jointing, surface coating or flashings, details such as installation instructions and/or technical data should be included with the application for Building Consent in this instance the James Hardies Technical literature on wood grain Hardiplanks ought to have been provided and considered.

d. Details of joinery units and how junctions with the wall cladding are intended to be weatherproofed.

e. Details of the roof structure including the roof cladding.

f.

Drainage details for surface water disposal.

g. Specifications covering all trades whose work impacts on the structural stability and weather proofing of the building and materials that require specific installation methods or practices to enable them to meet the requirements of the 1st schedule to the Building Regulations 1992 (Building Code).

3.6.

The Council has a duty to maintain records as set out in section 27 of the Act 27.

27. Records

(1) Every territorial authority shall keep reasonably available information, which is relevant to the administration of this Act to enable the public to be informed of their obligations and to participate effectively under this Act. (2) The information to be kept by a territorial authority under subsection (1) of this section shall be kept at least for the life of the building to which it relates, and shall include (a) All plans and specifications submitted to it in relation to an application for a building consent; and (b) Records of project information memoranda, building consents, code compliance certificates, compliance schedules, building warrants of fitness, [any energy work certificates received by the territorial authority,] and any orders issued under sections 64 to 71 of this Act, in respect of a building; and (c) Records of any information on any land or building received from a statutory authority which has power to classify any land or buildings for any purpose; and (d) A summary of written complaints received by it during the preceding 5 years concerning alleged breaches of the Act and information on how it dealt with each such complaint. (3) Subject to the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 [and to section 23F(2) of this Act], every person shall have the right to inspect the information referred to in subsections (1) and (2) of this section during ordinary office hours, other than any plan or specification that the person who submitted it, the owner, or any subsequent owner has marked as being confidential because of the need to safeguard the copyright of the plan or specification or because of any requirements of the owner of the building relating to the security of the building. (4) Subject to section 44A of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, a local authority shall make photocopying facilities available to persons who inspect documents under subsection (3) of this section, and may charge a reasonable fee for their use. (c) Records of any information on any land or building received from a statutory authority which has power to classify any land or buildings for any purpose; and (d) A summary of written complaints received by it during the preceding 5 years concerning alleged breaches of the Act and information on how it dealt with each such complaint.

3.7.

My opinion on the adequacy of the plans and specifications is based on the documents provided to me for the subject dwelling; being the documents contained on Mr Coopers website, the file copy of the Council file provided by Mr Jonathan Port and some documents obtained from the council being a copy of the approved Building Consent plans. Given the Councils duty to retain such records, the contents of that file (and copies thereof) must therefore be assumed to be the extent of the documentation considered by the Council for the purposes of issuing Building Consent.

The dwelling is in my opinion is a very basic home both in design and construction. It is rectangular in shape, single level, located on an exposed level site and has a simple gable end roof. The roof cladding is long-run coloursteel, the exterior wall cladding is wood grain Hardiplank and it is fitted with aluminium joinery. This style of building is typical of what used to be constructed by apprentices as part of their training and is certainly considered in the industry as simplistic and basic. This comment is made at this point as I find it hard to accept and understand that a supposedly competent Territorial Authority (Council) can get the process of approving the plans for the issue of the building consent and the undertaking of the onsite building inspections so wrong, when presented with such a straight forward building project. I also find it difficult to understand how a so-called expert or professional builder managed to construct this dwelling in such a poor fashion. This simply highlights the importance of the role that the Council takes in the administration of the NZ Building Act and Building Code, unfortunately the Tasman District Council has failed miserably in this instance.

3.8.

The plans that form this building consent application consist of a floor plan and two elevations only, being the end elevation containing the garage door and the rear side elevation with the two single back doors. There is no site plan so the positioning of the dwelling on the site in reference to due North was simply not possible. For the purpose of this report we will refer to the end wall as above the west wall, and the back wall as above the south wall. This is the full extent of the plans that the council used to assess compliance with the Building Code against. There are no elevation drawings of the other two elevations, the east end wall that contains the large sliding door unit and the north side wall with the two sliding door units. There are no roof framing plans, no cross sectional drawings showing key construction and compliance items, no drainage plans, no site plan and amazingly, absolutely no plans or references whatsoever to the foundations and concrete floor slab. It simply is not even remotely possible for the Council to have assessed compliance with the Building Act and the Building Code with reference to these documents. The exposed location of this site to the prevailing winds and the physical location beside the sea make it even more important that full detailed plans were provided to ensure compliance will be achieved with the NZ Building Code and all associated documents (NZS 3604) despite the simplicity of the dwelling.

3.9.

The only course of action that the Council should have taken was to have rejected these plans at the time that the application was lodged with the Council. A letter should have been provided to the owner/agent advising of this rejection and providing the correct advice and guidance to ensure that when the application was resubmitted, Council would be able to process the application without further delay. Unfortunately this course of action was not taken by the council.

3.10.

The Councils own Check Sheet that has been used during the process of approval and the councils own Guide to Consents Under Building Act 1991 contain a basic list of the required plans and specifications. This check sheet has been used by the Council as part of the vetting of this Building Consent application as a tick has been placed against the reference to specifications. Notwithstanding the presence of this check list the Council has failed to ensure that adequate information was provided to demonstrate compliance. The Building Regulations 1992, Form 4, states:

This application is accompanied by ; The drawings, specifications and other documents according to which the building is proposed to be constructed to comply with the provisions of the building code.

These basic requirements simply have not been met.

3.11.

The Building Consent document issued by the council has a statement typed on it that states

This building consent is consented under the building Act 1991 to undertake building work in accordance with the attached plans and specifications so as to comply with the provisions of the building code. It does not effect any duty or responsibility under any other Act nor permit any breach of any other Act

3.12.

It simply would not be possible for the council to be even remotely satisfied that their statement as entered on the building consent could be achieved with this building consent application.

3.13.

A set of special conditions have been imposed by the Council as a condition to this Building Consent. The first special condition states that the Council require one days notice prior to the pole hole inspection. What pole holes? The plans do not provide any detail on the foundations; the dwelling was eventually constructed on concrete foundations and floor slab.

3.14.

Condition 3 states that the bracing is to be installed as marked on the approved plans; there are no references on the plans as to the bracing.

3.15.

Special condition 6 states that you can not occupy the dwelling until all interior linings have been fixed in place and that once this stage has been reached the Advise of Completion form should be returned. This very clearly implies that the Councils interpretation is that once the plasterboard wall linings are in place the dwelling is in effect complete, despite all the other areas of the building code that would not have been satisfied at that point in time.

3.16.

The specification that has been submitted and accepted by the Council and forms part of the approved Building Consent pre-dates the introduction of the NZ Building Act 1991 and is not project specific. This specification makes reference to outdated building controls such as the Building By-Laws and associated NZ Standards and building methods not relevant to this building, such as, the roof to be pitched on site. It also states that the studs and plates are to be constructed using Rimu. This specification is a generic specification and is not specifically written for this particular dwelling it is therefore deficient in that it is of little to no use in assisting the Council to be reasonably satisfied that the building works will comply with the Building Code as per the statement on the building consent.

3.17.

The plans make no reference whatsoever to the exterior cladding. The only reference to the cladding are some horizontal lines drawn on the two elevations that seemingly depict the use of weatherboards. The plans do not provide any indication of the type of weatherboard to be used and do not provide any

details as to how weathertightness or compliance with Clause E2 and ultimately Clauses B1, and B2 of the NZ building code will be achieved.

3.18.

The cladding system as installed is a Rusticated Hardiplank. The council should have requested the manufacturers technical literature on this cladding as there are some requirements that are specific to this system such as the method of fitting the plank end back soakers. The fact that these soakers have been incorrectly installed by the so called expert or professional builder demonstrates the vital importance of this document.

3.19.

It is not common practice to report on foundations and floor slabs when assessing buildings for weathertightness. In this instance however, the significant deficiencies of these building elements requires this. We are of the opinion that the deficiencies with the foundations and slab are so

significant that there is a very high probability that they will fail at some time in the future, and within the intended 50 year durability period to which this dwelling was built. This future likely failure will compromise the integrity of the exterior claddings and would logically result in moisture ingress and damage to other building elements. This issue is fully addressed later in this report.

3.20.

We are of the opinion that the Council has demonstrated a blatant disregard for the principles of the Building Act in negligently discharging its delegated duties and statutory obligations to enforce the NZ Building Act and Building Code. The Council owes a duty of care to the owner and any and all subsequent owners to ensure that compliance would be achieved. Accordingly Council ought to have requested further in-depth and complete information to enable the Council, and indeed the client, to be satisfied that compliance with the NZ Building Code would be achieved. The council had the power and duty to reject these plans and specifications however it has obviously failed to do so.

3.21.

Some of the specific and

crucial details missing from the plans that otherwise would have

demonstrated how structural stability, weathertightness and subsequent durability was to be achieved are: a. Roof

Apart from the notation of coloursteel on the elevation plan and reference to Coloursteel in the specification, there is no other reference whatsoever as to the roof cladding or construction of the roof.

The specification alludes to a roof structure that was to be pitched in position rather than the use of roof trusses. It also makes reference to battens to be installed at 400 mm centres which would indicate the use of tiles as opposed to long run coloursteel roofing.

It simply would not be possible for the council to have had any understanding as to how the roof was to be constructed and what it was to be clad with. As reported earlier, this site is in a Sea Spray Zone and is classified as a High Wind area; it would not be possible for the Council to be even remotely satisfied, given the extreme deficiencies in the documents submitted for Building Consent, that the building would be constructed to meet the specific requirements in NZS 3604 for dwellings located in these zones resulting in compliance with the NZ Building Code.

The building inspector when on site undertaking inspections would not have been clear on what was intended to be constructed or what was consented by the Council. Thus the inspector was denied the level of consent documentation that ought to have formed the basis of his inspection regime.

Section 76 of the NZ Building Act, states

Inspection by Territorial Authority For the purpose of this part of the Act, inspection means the taking of all reasonable steps to ensure- (a) That any building work is being done in accordance with a building consent.

Due to the lack of information that the building inspector would have had available on site it simply would not have been possible for the building inspector to have satisfied this very important requirement of the Building Act. For example, for the building inspector to have passed any inspection that related to the roof structure when he was on site, would simply have been an act of negligence as he had no basis for that inspection in terms of what ought to have be prescribed in the Building Consent documentation. The Council had the power and the duty to request all the relevant additional information required to demonstrate compliance with the NZ Building Code, in particular clauses B1 Structure; B2 Durability and E2 External Moisture, however the Council has evidently failed to do so.

b. Joinery

The plans make no reference whatsoever to the windows and doors. The specification refers to both timber and aluminium joinery. There are no details and/or information that show how the joinery units are to be installed to provide a weathertight junction with the exterior wall cladding. The council had the power and the duty to request all the relevant additional information with respect to the joinery that was required to demonstrate compliance with the NZ Building Code, in particular clauses; B1 Structure, B2 Durability and E2 External Moisture, however the Council has evidently failed to do so.

c.

Exterior Wall Cladding

Apart from some horizontal lines on the two elevations that indicate weatherboards, there is no reference on the plans as to the type of weatherboards. The specification states that wall areas are to be covered with exterior lining as shown on the drawings.

James Hardie produced a technical booklet on the proposed Hardiplank cladding system. This literature should have formed part of the documentation submitted with the application for Building Consent and would normally have been contained in the specification document. There is nothing of the sort either in the specifications or loosely held on the Council file so we must presume that it had not been included in the application documentation. Without this important information the Council could not have been reasonably satisfied that the exterior cladding would be installed to meet the manufacturers installation requirements and the requirements of the NZ Building Code. In addition to

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this the building inspector on site would have had no reference material to ensure that when he assessed the exterior cladding it had in fact been installed correctly. The council had the power and the duty to request all the relevant additional information with respect to the wall cladding that was required to demonstrate compliance with the NZ Building Code, in particular sections; B2 Durability and E2 External Moisture, however the council failed to do so.

Inspection by Territorial Authority For the purpose of this part of the Act, inspection means the taking of all reasonable steps to ensure- (a) That any building work is being done in accordance with a building consent.

d. Foundations and floor slab

The plans include no reference to the floor or the foundations for this dwelling. The specification covers both concrete and timber floors. The councils own special conditions state that the council requires one day notification with respect to the inspection of the pole hole. This would imply that at the time the Building Consent was being processed the council somehow believed the foundations were to be poles.

The council could not have known how the foundations or floor was to be constructed as there were no details whatsoever contained within the application. Without this information the Council had no way of knowing how this structure was to be supported to resist loadings and meet the performance requirements of clause B1 Structure and in the event of failure there would be the inevitable impact on the performance requirements of clause B2 Durability and indeed clause E2 External Moisture as prescribed by the NZ Building Code.

Foundations that are inadequately designed and/or poorly constructed will result in settlement movement which will impact on the ability of the exterior envelope to remain impervious to moisture due to deflection possibly causing fissures in the exterior cladding systems. This will result in the failure of the dwelling to meet the requirements of clauses B1 Structure, B2 Durability and E2 External moisture. The Council had the power and the duty to request all the relevant information that was required to demonstrate compliance with the relevant performance and durability requirements of the NZ Building Code, however the council has evidently failed to do so.

4. SUMMARY IN RESPECT OF THE SPECIFICATIONS

4.1.

The specification provided as part of this application is not specific to this project. It also pre-dates the introduction of the Building Act and refers to NZ standards that were superseded at that time. The specifications provide no technical literature on the products, materials and required construction techniques chosen despite it being mandated by section 27 of the Building Act 1991.

4.2.

Specifications are necessary to define appropriate material and construction standards, quality of materials, durability standards, warranty provisions, recommended maintenance requirements etc. The lack of accurate and detailed specifications results in a greater potential for inappropriate

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construction practices and unsuitable materials being used this is likely to impact on the performance and durability of the dwelling in relation to the building code requirements and we say that that is the case with this dwelling and that it applies to the foundations and all other aspects of the construction.

4.3.

The lack of full and comprehensive specifications and appropriate supporting technical material also denies the Councils inspectors the ability to make an objective and critical analysis of the construction so that they are able to properly discharge their duties when undertaking the required building inspections.

4.4.

Significant examples are:

a.

Tiling and waterproofing specifications including control joints, adhesive, grouting materials and laying procedures.

b.

Cladding and substrate material technical information.

c.

Gutter and roofing material specifications.

d.

Surface coating specifications.

5. SUMMARY IN RESPECT OF THE PLANS

5.1.

We are of the opinion that the plans are deficient and fail to address the construction of this dwelling in any meaningful way. It simply would not be possible to construct or reproduce the specific requirements of the owners design brief let alone ensure compliance with the NZ Building Code and associated documents. These plans could not even be considered to be concept plans. Therefore it is our opinion that the Council simply did not receive sufficient or adequate information to have enabled them to be satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that any of the provisions of the NZ Building Code could be met.

5.2.

Therefore, it is our opinion that the Council should not have issued the Building Consent based on this application and that to have done so was a negligent act.

6.

COUNCIL INSPECTION

6.1.

The Council has not issued a final unconditional Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) for the work authorised by the relevant building consent. The council has however issued the CCC for the two other building consents for the carport and the roof over the deck.

6.2.

The Councils responsibilities in issuing a Code Compliance Certificate are set out in section 43 (3) of the Act

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Except where a code compliance certificate has already been provided pursuant to subsection (2) of this section, the territorial authority shall issue to the applicant in the prescribed form, on payment of any charge fixed by the territorial authority, a code compliance certificate, if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that (a) (b) The building work to which the certificate relates complies with the building code; or The building work to which the certificate relates complies with the building code to the extent authorised in terms of any previously approved waiver or modification of the building code contained in the building consent which relates to that work. Section 42 of the NZ Building Act states that; 42. Notices to rectify (1) The territorial authority may issue to the owner or to the person undertaking any building work a notice to rectify, in the prescribed form, requiring any building work not done in accordance with this act or the building code to be rectified.

Section 43 of the NZ Building Act states that; 43. Code compliance certificate (6) Where a TA considers on reasonable grounds that it is unable to issue a CCC in respect of particular building work because the building work does not comply with the building code or with any waiver or modification of the code, as previously authorised in terms of the building consent to which that work relates, the TA shall issue a Notice to Rectify in accordance with section 42 of this act.

6.3.

The Council must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that; the building work to which the certificate relates complies with the Building Code or any waiver or modification. There are no records on the Councils file of any waiver or modification.

6.4.

Reasonable grounds for being satisfied that Code Compliance has been achieved includes inspection by the Council and as I see it, any other means it considers reasonable and acceptable, such as producer statements, product appraisal etc. The available Council inspection records indicate that only four building inspections were undertaken. These inspection records, together with Council actions have been investigated as we believe there are areas of non compliance and defective works. As a result of these investigations we doubt that the building will satisfy the durability requirements of the NZ Building Code.

6.5.

We have taken into account the fact that the building is approximately 15 years old when considering whether the building will continue to perform for the next 35 years (minimum, if not indefinitely) as required by the approved building consent under the terms of the building code. The defective building work and areas of non compliance will in our opinion fail within this time. Had the council been diligent and followed the requirements as set out in the Building Act at the time of application for a Building Consent, and at the time of construction in relation to inspections, then we firmly believe that the condition of the building would be markedly different now and certainly in the future years to come. These concerns have also been raised by other building experts who have assessed this dwelling.

6.6.

With reference to the Councils own inspection history the building inspections undertaken by Council are as follows;

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6.7.

17th August 1993, Foundation inspection, which was passed by the inspector;

As there are no details on the plans that describe the type of foundations and how the foundations were to be constructed, we are at a loss as to the basis on which the inspector carried out his inspection.

As previously stated in this report, this dwelling is of simple design and accordingly, after having taken into consideration the geographical location and ground conditions (NZBC, B1 and NZS 3604) the foundation system would be of straightforward design and construction. This simplicity however does not provide the basis that the foundations should have simply been passed by the Council with no detail having been provided.

Other expert reports raise concerns over the nature of the ground and the effects that water can have on the bearing capacity of the soils on the site and the filling beneath the floor slab. An analogy of a sun dried clay brick in water was made by one expert in his report, when whilst dry it is strong however immerse it in water and it dissolves. The council at the time of the foundation inspection had no idea as to what should have been constructed or inspected.

The only course of action available to the building inspector was to request that the works were to cease until such time as a foundation design was submitted to the council for approval. This advice should have been in the form of a Notice to Rectify as set out in the NZ Building Act 1991.

It would also have been obvious at the time of this inspection that the vegetation had not been removed from the area to be covered by the dwelling; this has been raised as a serious concern in the other reports as the bearing capacity has been compromised due to the vegetation rotting. This is also covered in NZS 3604 and is basic knowledge to any experienced and competent building inspector.

A competent building inspector should have also been aware that it would not have been possible to strip this vegetation and sub soil off after the foundations had been poured as according to the inspection notes the foundation walls had been boxed with the steel already in place. We are of the opinion that it would not be possible for the durability requirements, B2 of the NZ Building Code to be achieved, given the potential for settlement and movement to occur. This will result with the ingress of moisture to affect the building elements. 30th August, progress inspection which appears to have been a random site visit at which time it was noted by the council that the floor slab had been poured without prior inspection. The preparation and filling of the subfloor area has been the subject of previous reports and conclusions were that no guarantees could be given that these works would satisfy the durability requirements of the Building Code (the brick analogy) for a further 35 years (minimum if not indefinitely) We also note that the Council inspection notes state floor slabs have all been poured. As this is in the plural, it would appear from this comment that the floor slab to the garage (under a separate building consent) had also been poured; this consent has been issued with a CCC.

6.8.

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6.9.

The Council should have intervened at this point and issued a Notice To Rectify as it would not have been possible for it to have been reasonably satisfied that the filling had been placed and compacted as required, sand blinding provided, the polythene membrane placed and taped at the joints and the reinforcing mesh positioned, tied and supported to provide the appropriate concrete coverage. The previously mentioned reports advise of the concern of capillary action affecting the reinforcing. At the time of this assessment the water table in the ground beside the dwelling was within 350mm of the surface. This is shown in the photos below. We have been provided with a photograph that shows water right up to the underside of the concrete floor slab; this was located in the opening that was cut in the concrete floor in a wardrobe. We are of the opinion that it would not be possible for the durability requirements, B2 of the NZ Building Code to be achieved given the potential for settlement and movement to occur due to the affects that intermittent and frequent presence of water will cause and the eventual corrosion to the floor slab reinforcing.

Water level

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Water level to underside concrete floor

6.10.

At the time of my visit a crack to the plaster that has been applied to the concrete foundation wall was observed. This crack was located some 100mm down from the top of the floor slab and ran the full length of the end of the dwelling that contains the garage door and also the full length of the side wall of the dwelling that contains the sliding doors. This fracture is located at the junction of the floor slab and the foundation wall and indicated to me that the floor slab was not adequately tied to the foundation wall and foundations.

6.11.

I undertook some destructive testing to the corner of the dwelling (south west) by using a small electric concrete breaker to chase out the crack along the top of the foundation wall. This chase was completely through the foundation wall at the corner and 100mm through the foundation wall for a distance of 800mm from the corner. Two holes were drilled at random locations through the foundation wall to determine the depth of the wall; this revealed that the wall was 120mm and 135mm thick. I did not want to cut the chase right through the wall as this would have removed all support from this area. We consider that any reinforcing steel located in this 25-30mm of concrete would be ineffective. The Councils inspection records dated the 17th August 1993 state that at the time of the foundation inspection that D10 starters to penetrate the floor were observed. There is no reference to these starters in either the consented plans or the specification. It is a requirement that these starters be placed at 600mm centres along the foundation wall. The chase that I cut extended 800mm from the corner and no starters were found at all. From this investigation we are of the opinion that there are no starters provided or if there are, they will be ineffective due to being spaced too far apart or in the wrong location within the wall.

6.12.

6.13.

The reinforcing mesh to the floor slab was found to be sitting on what appeared to be the upper surface of the foundation wall and not 50mm up from the underside of the slab as required. It was necessary to

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tie the mesh to the starters so that it is held in position; if this was the case then we would have expected to sight these starters.

6.14.

Moisture will be able to penetrate this crack and the mesh reinforcing to the slab eventually causing spalling of the concrete and compromise the ability of the foundation system and floor slab to resist seismic movement. Thus the ability to support the structure above the floor level has been compromised.

Crack at floor and foundation wall junction

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Floor mesh

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6.15. We do not believe it is possible for remedial works to be carried out to remedy the poor workmanship
and defects in the area of the foundations and floor slab. The only effective remedy is to remove these works and provide the appropriate foundations and floor slab that will be suitable for this site and achieve compliance with all the appropriate sections of the NZ Building Code. A building consent for both the removal of the floor and foundations and for the reconstruction should be applied for.

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6.16. 13th October, Pre Line inspection, various items were observed by the inspector i.e. there was no head
flashing over the north wall sliding door, gaps in the foam seal, concern over the placement of the head flashing, discussion and advice regarding the short roofing iron and concerns over the incorrectly set out weatherboards.

6.17. At the time of my site assessment Mr Cooper pointed out that the sliding door in the north end wall was
binding and would not open easily. There were also cracked weatherboards above this opening, a fracture to the slab and foundation wall below and a crack to the patio floor slab. Sighting a line above the door shows that there is some downward deflection in the framing; this is also consistent with the cracking below the door. There is also a similar problem with the south end wall.

6.18. The roof cavity was accessed in order to assess the gable end trusses. Much to my amazement I
discovered for some unknown reason the builder has cut out all the struts within both these gable end trusses. Short stumps of these struts and the nail plates are all that remains. This would have been clearly visible to the building inspector at the time of both preline inspections and should have been addressed at that time. See the photographs below.

Cracking to paving and floor slab beneath door

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Cracked weatherboard

Doors not aligning and binding

Sagging above door

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Misalignment of framing

Remains of the struts

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Remains of the struts

6.19. The method of construction to the end walls of the dwelling is such that no lintels have been provided
over the openings as the trusses are designed to span the width of the building and transfer the loading to the outer corners. With the removal of these struts the loading of the wall framing, roofing and any seismic/wind design considerations has now been transferred to the length of the wall that contains no lintels; this has resulted in the sagging above the openings. The cracking and sagging that has resulted from this provides the very obvious potential for moisture to access the building elements resulting in decay. We are of the opinion that it would not be possible for the durability requirements, B2 of the NZ Building Code to be achieved given the potential for settlement and movement to occur. This will allow the ingress of moisture to affect the building elements. Combine this with the potential for settlement to the foundation system and the problem instantly becomes greater.

6.20. I also noted that the soakers to the joints of the weatherboards have not been correctly installed at the
time of construction. The James Hardie technical literature clearly shows how these are to be installed. It became apparent at the time of my assessment that the weatherboards have been fixed in place by starting at the top of the wall and working downwards to the bottom. This is not the way to fix weatherboards in place.

The soakers fitted to the joints in this system are semi concealed; the soaker in fact sits behind the weatherboard and has a pre formed lower edge to accommodate the lower edge of the weatherboard; the upper end of the soaker has a tab that has to be folded over the top of the weatherboard; this is what holds the soaker in place.

As the weatherboards have been installed from the top down it has not been possible to fold the tab over the top of the weatherboard; it is only the building paper in contact with the soakers that is holding them in place. This demonstrates the inability of the builder to install a well known and widely used

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cladding system in the appropriate fashion. These joints in the weatherboards must be within 150mm of a stud this is not the case in all of the joints.

Back soakers not attached to top of weatherboard, day light can be seen through joint

It also appears that the weatherboards have not been set out correctly and that cover of the boards is not equal. This has resulted in the lack of the prescribed 30mm cover for each weatherboard which will compromise the ability of the lap from keeping moisture out. The building inspector has identified this non compliance and stated in the inspection notes

I noted there was a varying lap size of the wood grain Hardiplanks and I suspect these may not comply with the manufacturers specifications

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There is a letter on file from James Hardie Building Products dated the 21st May 1996. This letter advises that the James Hardie warranty only applies if the weatherboards have been installed strictly to their specification and that if the installation does not comply with the James Hardie specification then the provisions of the NZ Building Code have not been met.

The other issues that were noted were that the hold down bolts had the wrong size washers under the nuts, some of the studs are at centres that exceed 600mm, and the frame has not been nailed in accordance with NZS 3604. Furthermore, it would appear that the bottom plates at the location of the braces have not been adequately fixed in position, many framing members (dwangs, lintels and jack studs) have been cut short, only 50mm thick lintels have been used in a high wind loading zone and little or no attempt has been made to straighten wall plates horizontally and studs vertically, resulting in most, if not all, walls exceeding the acceptable tolerances for framing (5mm deviation from line in plan and 5 mm deviation in vertical) . This is visibly obvious to all walls of the dwelling.

700mm between studs

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Wrong washers to hold down

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28

29

Walls not straight

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Several interior doors bind due to settlement

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My observations were made from the garage area only as this is the only section of the dwelling that has not had the wall linings installed (apart from the tolerances). As this represents only a small percentage of the dwelling I am more than confident that the same faults are present to the rest of the structure.

A diligent building inspector should have identified all these defects and a written instruction left with the builder requesting rectification of all these matters (including the trusses and non tensioned roof plane braces)

6.21. 27th October, this is what appears to be a follow up Pre-Line inspection and the inspection notes state
that all the previous matters have been modified and that everything appeared in order to proceed; this is not the case at all. At that point the Council should have dealt with all the areas of non-compliance by issuing a Notice to Rectify. This was the second opportunity for the Council to have observed all the above mentioned deficiencies and the Council has evidently still failed to do so.

6.22. We are of the opinion that the incorrectly installed soakers, poorly constructed framing and lack of
correct fixings and fastenings all lead to the potential for moisture ingress resulting in failure to achieve the performance criteria of clause E2 External Moisture and clause B2 Durability of the NZ Building Code. This is because giving consideration to the fact that apart from the weatherboards these components have to continue to perform for a further 35 years minimum if not indefinitely. The performance of the weatherboards themselves is not in question, however the installation of the weatherboards, soakers and the structure that they are attached to is of serious concern;

The James Hardie technical literature on the weatherboards states that;

Framing to be in accordance with NZS 3604:1990 code of practise for lightweight timber frame buildings or as specifically designed

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It is clear that the framing does not meet with these requirements.

NZS 3604 states in the Forward that;

This standard is an acceptable solution to clause B1 of the NZ Building Code

Scope and Interpretation 1.1.1 states;

This standard sets down construction requirements for light timber frame buildings not requiring specific design within the limitations specified by 1.1.2 and is approved as a means of compliance with the relevant requirements of the NZ Building Code

C1.1.1 states;

Compliance with the exterior wall covering, roof coverings, vapour barriers and damp proof course requirements of NZS 3604 will satisfy and exceed the performance requirements NZBC and is an alternative solution for NZBC E2

6.23. We do not believe it is possible for remedial works to be carried out to remedy the poor workmanship
and defects in the areas of the exterior claddings, wall framing and roof construction as they are too extensive. The only effective remedy is to remove these works and reconstruct using the appropriate materials and methods to achieve compliance with all the appropriate sections of the NZ Building Code and associated documents. A building consent should be sought for the removal of all these works and for the reconstruction of same.

6.24. 29th September Final Inspection.

The council was provided with an advice of completion notice as

required by the Building Act. This has a date of the 29th September 1994 handwritten on the top right corner. It also has a stamp in the lower right corner that has been signed by the building inspector. There is an inspection comment that has been handwritten along the lower margin. It would appear that this advice of completion has been acknowledged as having been received on the 29th September and a final inspection carried out on the same day. This inspection failed due to some concerns over the plumbing installation with absolutely no reference to any other defects. This was in essence quite misleading in that the owner could quite rightly take some comfort from that failure notice in that it did not put him on notice that there were any serious defects like the ones that I say could have been seen and should have been seen throughout the construction.

6.25. I have sighted a Memorandum dated the 30th July 1996 that has a hand written entry on it which states:
we havent issued a CCC because there is outstanding work - tempering valve and

polybutylene piping. We havent done a final plumbing inspection.

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A letter dated the 20th September 1996 states:

My predecessor, Mr. Cliff Dockery, signed off the building side of building consent for the dwelling on the 29th September 1994, so a partial Code of Compliance covering the building work only (no plumbing or drainage) could be issued now if that is of any assistance to you.

This indicates that the signature placed above the Building Inspector section on the stamp on the advice of completion, proves that the Council was in fact satisfied that all the building works complied with the approved Building Consent. A Building Consent which contained no details on the dwelling whatsoever, the fact that the items which failed in the first Pre-Line inspection were not remedied, there were areas of work such as the floor slab completed without being inspected and that both myself and other building consultants have identified various other areas of non-compliance that are obvious and should have been identified by a diligent building inspector. It is unexplainable that the defects and noncompliance were not noted and it is, in our opinion, a serious dereliction of the duties and statutory obligations on the part of the Council.

The Council was prepared to issue an Interim CCC at that point in time. We are of the opinion that this was inappropriate advice as this situation was not one where an Interim CCC could be issued. This simply mislead the owner into thinking that the building works, with the exception of the plumbing were compliant. A letter dated the 8th August 1996 to Mrs Moore states that the Council could not issue the CCC because of two non complying plumbing matters and goes on to state that once these two matters had been resolved the Council should be contacted to make a request for a final inspection.

In our opinion there is adequate evidence on the Council file to show that the council was reasonably satisfied that all the building work was complete and if it was not for the two plumbing issues the CCC would have been issued.

However, as the Council had stated that the final inspection failed due to plumbing matters, the only proper course of action available to the Council was to issue a Notice to Rectify.

Section 43; of the NZ Building Act; Code Compliance Certificate; subsection(6) states:

Where a TA considers on reasonable grounds that it is unable to issue a CCC in respect of particular building work because the building work does not comply with the building code or with any waiver or modification of the code, as previously authorised in terms of the building consent to which that work relates, the TA shall issue a Notice to Rectify in accordance with section 42 of this act.

The council has not issued a Notice to Rectify with respect to this non complying work.

6.26.

This has the direct impact on the performance requirements of B1 Structure, B2 Durability and E2 External Moisture of the NZ Building Code.

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7.

CONCLUSION AND LIABITY

7.1.

The Council

We are of the opinion that the Council has liability and was negligent in issuing the Building Consent based on the appalling and very obvious lack of information contained in the documentation submitted as part of the Building Consent application. As set out in this report, Council should have requested additional information in order for it to be reasonably satisfied that the building works would meet the requirements of clauses B1, B2 and E2 of the NZ Building Code.

ii

The areas of non-compliance resulting in the defects and the potential for further ongoing failure are directly related to the lack of details and information contained within the approved Building Consent documents. It is my opinion that the Council simply did not have adequate information that would give them reasonable grounds to issue the Building Consent and therefore it should not have been issued.

iii

We are of the opinion that the Council has significant liability in these matters as not only did the Councils Building Consent vetting processes fail to catch the woefully inadequate documentation as submitted, but the Councils own Building Inspectors failed to observe when on site that there was inadequate information contained within the approved Building Consent documents. The first indication would have been at the time of the foundation inspection; it would have been impossible for the Council to determine the location of the dwelling in relation to the property boundarys as there was no site plan providing these dimensions. The Council then approved the foundations but on what basis? There were no foundation plans and construction details within the approved plans. In short the Council did not know what was to be built or where it was to be built, and furthermore, at the time of the inspection the area to be occupied by the dwelling was still covered in vegetation, however despite this the inspection was passed. Councils notes state that floor starters were in place tying the floor to the foundations via the foundation wall; my initial investigations show that this is most likely not the case.

iv

The Council then carried out and recorded as passed, a floor slab inspection to a floor slab that had been poured prior to the inspection being carried out; this in effect openly admits approval to uninspected works.

The council went on to carry out a preline inspection where some items of non-compliance were noted, however several other non complying matters were either ignored or overlooked. The Council was made aware that the roofing material was too short so the Council assisted in resolving this matter by advising on a flashing system; the Council noted that the laps to the weatherboards did not comply with the manufacturers requirements and did nothing more about this. The council inspected the ceiling cavity and failed to observe and address the very

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obvious butchering of the gable end trusses. One would expect at this point a diligent building inspector to have become aware of the poor standard of workmanship and non compliance and gone through the building with a fine tooth comb, however he did not, or if he did failed to address all the items of non compliance.

vi

A reinspection for the preline was then carried out, the inspection history states that:

It was noted that the faults which had been picked up on a previous inspection had been modified in accordance with the code.

This is simply not correct.

vii

The final inspection was then undertaken and two items of non-compliance with the plumbing were observed and noted and the inspection was recorded as failed; no Notice to Rectify was issued by the Council as required by the Building Act.

viii

The Council has demonstrated nothing but a blatant disregard to properly discharging its duties as a Territorial Authority in its role of administering the NZ Building Act/Code. Every input that the Council has had right from the day that the application was submitted through to present is in our opinion negligent. This has resulted in an unnecessary and totally preventable long running dispute over the non-compliance matters and resulting defects.

ix

In my opinion the Councils negligence has resulted in the inability of the dwelling to met the performance criteria of clauses B1 Structure, B2 Durability, resulting in the eventual failure to achieve the performance criteria of E2 External moisture.

I am of the opinion that in order for the requirements of the NZ Building Code to be met all the defective and noncompliant works ought to be removed. A building consent application must be submitted and approved by the Council for the removal of these works and for the reconstruction.

Review undertaken by:

BILL CARTWRIGHT CITYWIDE BUILDING CONSULTANTS (AUCKLAND) LTD

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