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Owners of an Auckland apartment complex have launched a $60 million claim against the council and others in New Zealand's biggest leaky building case by far.

The 280-unit St Lukes Garden complex opposite St Lukes Mall in Mt Albert has a litany of problems, from cracking façades to dangerously substandard foundations.

Many owners have already borrowed heavily to pay for repairs, and face five years of construction before the remediation work is complete.

For one apartment owner, pre-purchase checks revealed nothing of consequence. But they soon noticed mould in their lounge and bedroom. The membrane on the deck above them had failed and water was seeping into the walls of the apartment.

Another owner have had to contend with ongoing weathertightness issues and regular breakages of cheap fixtures and fittings. They also had to live through the noisy job of shoring up their building after the council declared it dangerous due to insufficient piling.

They also got a LIM search when they purchased the property, but problems surfaced just three months after they moved in.

While their apartment is okay water is getting into the unit below, and they are liable for their share of the costs.

Roger Levie is chief executive of the Home Owners and Buyers Association (HOBANZ) which is helping the owners with their claim and the repairs.

The development's prefabricated concrete facades are cracking, and the buildings don't comply with structural and fire safety requirements in some areas, he said.

High Court action against Auckland Council and a number of parties involved in the planning and construction is underway, he said.

St Lukes Garden's 15 buildings were built over a nine-year period between 2003 and 2011 Private building certifiers oversaw the early stages of construction, while the council did aspects of the certification as the project progressed.

"This really is an awfully difficult situation for these owners," Levie said.

"(It) again highlights the fact that the issues with many of our buildings goes far deeper than just 'leaky building syndrome' as it's become known.

"As we've suspected all along, the same lack of care and attention, and total absence of concern… for future owners, has lead to widespread failure and non-compliance across all aspects of these developments."

The repair bill for the whole complex is estimated at $60m.

Source: | RadioNZ

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