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The Ministry of Education has cut its estimate for the total cost of fixing leaky schools by as much as $400 million, with a damages suit against Carter Holt Harvey one of the last remaining variables.

The cost of fixing buildings that had more serious leaks will be between $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion, down from a previous estimate of $1.5 billion. The reduced estimate was due to "programme experience and remediation costs to date,".

The ministry embarked on court proceedings against cladding manufacturers in 2013, and has since settled with building materials makers James Hardie Industries and CSR.

Both of those settlements contained confidentiality clauses, and an appendix to the March 2013 report cited as a key message that arrangements were entered into to help address the risk of weather-tightness failure in existing school property, support future school property developments across the country, and maintain continuity of building supplies manufactured in New Zealand.

As at November 2014, the ministry's remediation recovery programme covered 1,792 buildings, of which 343 were active, 1,346 were discontinued, 91 had settlements in place and 12 were on hold. In addition to the existing settlements in place, a further 57 buildings have settlements agreed in principle, Campbell said.

Because of the number of buildings that required remediation, the ministry couldn't afford to fund the programme through its baselines, and since June 2012 has redirected part of affected schools' Five Year Agreement (5YA) funding based on the area needing remediation, the March 2013 report said.

Source: NBR


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