Claims NZ's defective buildings are a threat to public safety

A company which claims to have identified over 1200 defective buildings and structures around the country in the last five years says it's a snapshot of a wider problem which is a very real threat to public safety.

Concrete Structure Investigations director Jane Roach-Gray says buildings are still being constructed with missing concrete and reinforcing steel and haven't been built to specified plans. Roach-Gray claims the company has found defective buildings in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Hawke's Bay, Wellington and Christchurch and they include apartment blocks, offices and public buildings.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) says it is investigating the company's allegations, but the company is continuing to call for changes in the industry. Concrete Structure Investigations describes itself as concrete structure non-destructive inspection and detection specialists for the engineering and construction industries.

It has been using ultrasound technology it developed with Crown agency Callaghan Innovation, which it says allows it to look up to two metres into concrete columns, beams, walls and floors. The company released a paper last month titled Chaos in Construction and director Jane Roach-Gray claims substandard practices are far more widespread in the construction industry than authorities realise. The company published the report in October and has since forwarded its findings to MBIE and the Structural Engineering Society (SESOC).

MBIE manager of building systems assurance Simon Thomas said it was still investigating the company's claims. He said many of the buildings the company had claimed were defective had yet to be identified and it was awaiting more information from Concrete Structure Investigations.

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