Two years and not yet home
JOHN EDENS IN QUEENSTOWN
A homeowner unhappy his Fernhill house is still waiting for a contractor to finish the job after two years is warning people to think carefully before agreeing to a fixed-price deal.
In April 2010, Brent Carlsson contracted GJ Gardner Homes Queenstown franchise to build a house in Matakauri Ln, Fernhill, with a completion date in November that year.
The franchise was owned by Frankton-based Hartland Construction, run by Marc Steenland, but hit difficulties and was placed in voluntary administration by Associate Judge Rob Osborne in the High Court in Dunedin last month.
Mr Carlsson said there were months of stress, delays and then he was asked to pay tens of thousands of dollars for variations that were never agreed to.
He and his wife moved into the house last May but two years after signing the contract some work remained outstanding.
Because the minor works, including drainage, an expansion joint and painting, were outstanding, a code of compliance was not granted, he said.
A moisture reading in a garage meant Lakes Environmental would not sign off on the build.
"The whole point of going to them was a fixed-price contract with a guaranteed completion date. It was neither. It's been nothing but stress and strain."
Mr Carlsson's lawyer sent a letter in April last year expressing concern that a completion date was not met. "Our clients are very concerned that the completion of the project is now well past both the completion date represented to them, as well as the contractual date for practical completion.
Mr Steenland said he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the company because it was in administration.
"I have done this to achieve the best outcome for the creditors and the home owners," he said.
Voluntary administration, introduced in New Zealand in 2007, is designed to give companies likely to face insolvency a better chance of surviving rather than immediate liquidation.
Administrator Bryan Williams, of BWA Insolvency, said he was unable to comment because he did not have a complete body of facts.
He said his role was to decide whether the company could continue to exist, and any incompleted homes with insurance were being dealt with directly by the insurers.
"In my view the insurance companies have adopted a very positive approach into dealing with contractual obligations fully and completely."
A voluntary administration report is expected this month.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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