Hobson Gardens leak

Owners in leaky apartment development suing council after problems with repair process.

A big court case over one of Auckland's most ill-fated apartment tower developments is set down to be heard early next year.

Owners of the twin-tower Hobson Gardens blocks have a fixture in the High Court at Auckland set down for February with Matt Josephson of Grimshaw & Co acting for them.

Extensive repairs were made to the Hobson St block near Spaghetti Junction, initially by Mainzeal Property & Construction, which failed part-way through the work, then by Brosnan Construction, which started last August and finished in August this year.

Brosnan said work on the two standalone towers of 12 and nine levels involved a complete facade remediation.

"This construction requires replacing all of the exterior aluminium windows and door joinery, remediation of existing steel framing, new rain screen associated flashings, waterproofing and a completely new facade system.

"A challenge for this project was the re-establishment of the site after the collapse of the previous contractor. This required gaining trust and carefully managing stakeholder expectations while the towers remained occupied. This together also required us to establish a collaborative working relationship with separate contractors from the outset," Brosnan said of the work.

Hobson Gardens leaked and the Herald reported last year that each owner faced paying $50,000 to $75,000 to get their unit fixed after Mainzeal's collapse.

The owners got a secret Auckland Council settlement but are now suing the council again after problems with the repair process.

Repairs costing about $15 million to the 97-unit blocks at 205-215 Hobson St were well under way last February when Mainzeal collapsed, leaving the owners in the lurch.

Mainzeal built the defective blocks and was being sued around 2011 but an eleventh-hour deal stymied the court action.

Mainzeal returned and a new exterior facade and joinery was being applied when on Waitangi Day last year receivership was announced.

At least one owner was last year begging the body corporate not to sell his apartment because he could raise $70,000 demanded for the remainder of the repair work.

A newsletter sent to owners after a meeting last January spelt out the seriousness of the situation. "Each of us will need a substantial amount, somewhere between $50,000 and $75,000.

"The final vote empowered your committee to proceed with a further levy, enough to get the building completed," said a newsletter from body corporate chairman Peter Till.

Owners have quotes showing repair work would cost $6 million but a further $400,000 is being sought to take on a legal battle against various parties including Auckland Council.

2014Alexander & Co. Ltd