Council was wrong to have declined owners' application to investigate structural integrity of building
Denying apartment owners a consent to find out what was wrong with their new building was wrong of Napier City Council, a report has found.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's report on the five-storey, 103-apartment West Quay complex, says the council had not take sufficient steps in considering an application by the owners' Body Corporate.
In 2017 the Body Corporate's engineers applied to the council for building consent to undertake invasive investigation and reinstatement work on the apartments, which were built between 2006 and 2007.
The apartments have been the subject of an ongoing legal dispute between a Body Corporate and the council since 2012.
Investigations in 2014 found corrosion stains at deck/wall junctions which led to concerns about the corrosion of concealed structural steel.
The council refused the Body Corporate's application because it had concerns about the engineer's producer statements (a document that outlines the work to be carried out), and was not satisfied the work would comply with the Building Code.
The council said it did not have "in-house engineering expertise" to assess the application so would be reliant on the design engineer. It was also concerned about the level of liability the applicant's engineer would accept, and believed this demonstrated that the engineer did not have confidence in what was being proposed.
The matter was referred to the Ministry for a determination in 2017. Various draft findings and further discussions followed.
In its final determination, made in June but released this week, the Ministry said "it was well established in previous determinations that a building consent authority cannot insist on the production of a producer statement".
Determinations manager Katie Gordon said, in the final determination, that when a council has doubts about proposed building work or the ability of its own officers to properly assess it, it's required to take further steps to make a proper assessment.
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