Leaky building claim numbers dwindling

Hamilton City Council dished out $688,000 this financial year settling five leaky home grievances.

But council building control manager Phil Saunders said staff continued to see a reduction in the number of claims, with only one new claim added this financial year.

Saunders told the council's finance committee last week the downward trend was expected as the council moved further beyond the 10-year limitation liability in the Building Act.

Twenty weathertight claims have been made in Hamilton to date, with nine still active.

The total compares to 56 claims in Tauranga, 75 in Christchurch, 92 in Wellington and 789 in Auckland.

Mayor Julie Hardaker said the city was "very lucky" to be in its position and paid tribute to staff's management of claims.

"Because it's often the last man standing, council deep-pockets, and I think the staff have done a very good job managing that," she said.

Councillor Andrew King said the number of Hamilton leaky home claims, compared to other centres, reflected the standards of the council's building unit over a long time.

Asked if he would suggest no building given a code compliance certificate today would turn out to be a leaky building, Saunders replied: "I'd love to guarantee that but I don't think I can."

Saunders said a landmark case in Auckland had opened up weathertight claims to any sort of building, "commercial or otherwise".

"In saying that, we're not seeing a lot of commercial claims, or in fact any commercial claims, in Hamilton yet but that's not to say we won't," Saunders said. 

Waikato Times