Couple await ruling on unfinished home

19:35, Jul 01 2014

A judge has reserved her decision on a civil battle between an Otago couple and Lakes Environmental Ltd.

Trevor and Maria Reeves are suing Lakes Environmental Ltd, claiming it missed a fault at their part-built home in Hawea.

The case in the High Court at Invercargill, before Justice Dunningham, finished yesterday after being part-heard earlier this year.

Lakes Environmental Ltd was formed as a council-controlled organisation in 2007 and was contracted by the Queenstown Lakes District Council to provide and perform a range of regulatory services.

In 2007, construction began on the Reeves' new home.

The Reeves' lawyer, Ben Nevell, yesterday claimed the building inspector failed to recognise the requirement of slab thickenings under the internal walls.

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The fault should have been noticed by both the inspector and builder, he said. Remedial work was never carried out and the house was never completed.

The couple had put thousands into a house they had not been able to live in for seven years, Nevell said.

Lawyer for Lakes Environmental, Michael Parker, said the Reeves were heavily involved in the project and had allowed the builder to begin with unapproved plans.

He claimed their direct involvement meant they were in a position to observe what was going on and how the work was being carried out.

The builder carried out the work only with reference to the unapproved preliminary plans, did not know where the approved plans were, and did not ask where they were, Parker said.

The inspector did not cause the loss and there were limits as to what an inspector could do, he said.

The Southland Times