H Construction North Island – formerly called Hawkins Construction North Island – has been ordered to pay $13.4 million to fix a raft of errors at a leaky, damp, and rotting secondary school in Auckland.
Botany Downs Secondary College was built in stages by Hawkins in the 2000s, opening in 2004. As of 2018, it has more than 100 teachers and almost 2000 students.
The construction company is liable to pay the Ministry of Education the sum of $13.4m for the shoddy construction, a High Court judgement said. The ministry and the school board claimed nine buildings leaked and the estimated repair bill was $17m. In the claim it was stated that the roofs were badly built, parts of the buildings were rotting, and covered in fungus.
The gym floor was also built not up to standards and there were regular problems with gutters, flashing, eaves, pop-up roofing and inadequate ground clearance. Hawkins admitted to the low quality of workmanship but claimed the school buildings were up to code. Their lawyer claimed water-blasting by the school may have been the cause of the damage but the court described this claim as “unsatisfactory” and no water-blaster was called to testify.
According to Justice Mathew Downs, the repairs are likely to take about two years to complete and require temporary accommodation while the buildings were quarantined during work.
“The roofs leak because they suffer a host of construction defects, including missing fixings and poorly formed penetrations. Nothing the plaintiffs did or did not do causes them to leak,” he said.
“The sum is not small, but Hawkins was paid approximately $28 million to build the school; pupils and teachers have not had the benefit of healthy code-compliant buildings for eight years, and the award reflects the amount necessary to repair the school, not more.”
Karen Brinsden, the principal of Botany Downs Secondary College, told the court about “constant” and “extensive leaking”, with water regularly coming through roofs. The rainwater was collected in buckets inside the classrooms and there were regular leaks and flooding.
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