Body Corporate 326421 v Auckland Council

June 19, 2015

After a heady six week trial involving Prendos experts, the Nautilus Apartment owners have been awarded New Zealand’s biggest leaky building pay out.

Since 2009 Prendos consultants have been assisting the Nautilus Apartment Body Corporate owners to come to terms with the substantial defective building issues of a global nature that affect all areas of the 12-level apartment block located in the beachside suburb of Orewa. The body corporate and 150 owners of the residential units placed a claim with the High Court that the apartment block, which was constructed at a cost of some $35 million between October 2002 and June 2004, suffers from fundamental design and construction defects that it will cost over $23 million to repair.

With support from Rainey Law, Prendos and others the owners sought compensation for the remediation costs, temporary repairs, loss of use of the units while they are remediated and general damages for inconvenience.

The defendants included the Council, construction company and architects. On 29th April 2015 the High Court judgement was delivered, awarding the owners in the vicinity of $25 million. The NZ Herald reported that this is the largest amount awarded to leaky building owners in New Zealand.

The full decision released by the High Court stated Greg O’Sullivan, a Director of Prendos, was responsible for directing and reviewing the investigation carried out at the Nautilus by Prendos employees Jake Woolgar and Sean Cavan, experienced consultants with specialist expertise in investigating weathertightness defects in buildings and designing remedial solutions. The evidence and testimony provided by Prendos consultants was integral to the judgement that the Council and others are liable for the defects. At several points throughout the document the judge noted that there was no challenge to the evidence of these experts as to the fundamental defects, and he accepted the assessment concerning the amount claimed.

Greg was quoted in the NZ Herald in regards to the judgement “Justice Murray Gilbert’s decision on the Nautilus case was interesting because it was so clearly written. It defined not only council’s role but also the role of the architect and the need for robust producer statements and in this case, it didn’t happen.”

Indeed this was a very clear well defined judgement, one that reflected the extent of remediation required for this building. The legal team assembled by Tim Rainey were impressive and should be congratulated on the way they presented this case to the Court. Prendos are delighted for the owners who have been through years of stress. They have shown a resilience and unified effort that made them a pleasure to work alongside through this long process. This judgement will now allow them to put the past behind them and move forward in a positive way.

In the years since Prendos has been involved with the Nautilus Body Corporate our investigations and recommendations have resulted in an approved scope of works, a design receiving resource consent, a successful tender to a highly regarded construction company and now legal recourse to assist the owners with the financial burden of owning and repairing a leaky building.

Prendos are proud of the work completed to date and we look forward to seeing the owners re-establish the integrity of their dwellings and regain a return to full amenity and value.

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