Developer prosecuted under new Building Act


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24 December 2007

The Hamilton developer whose excavation work triggered a landslide on Awatere Avenue last year is amongst the first to be prosecuted under the new Building Act.

Joe Wright of Wright Construction Limited pleaded guilty to an offence under section 40 of Building Act 2004 when he appeared in Hamilton District Council last week.

He was ordered to pay $7,500 in fines plus costs of $3,272.

The court heard how on 7 November 2006, Hamilton City Council staff received a call from NZ Fire Service stating that a land slip had occurred at an Awatere Avenue address.

Work had been carried out on the site without a building consent.

When Council staff arrived at the scene it was evident that excavation of a bank on the property in the days prior had caused a landslide, putting neighbouring houses, including one at the top of the bank, at risk.

Hamilton City Council Building Control Manager Phil Saunders said the case signalled that Hamilton City Council would not tolerate developers who did not adhere to the Building Act.

"We want to send a strong message that we will vigorously follow up these sorts of breaches of the Building Act where they have created a public risk," said Mr Saunders.

"I think the case is also a strong sign from the Courts that they aren't going to tolerate it either."

The landslip was triggered by large earth excavation, approximately 25m wide, 20m back from the road frontage and 4-5m high.

While Wright Construction Limited had applied for building consent to build two dwellings on the property, consent had not been granted.

Residents affected by the slip were evacuated as a precaution, and the Fire Service took control of the site until 10 November, carrying out 24-hour monitoring and posting a rescue team on site while emergency works were carried out.

This work involved suspending workers in cages on cranes while they drilled holes and inserted supports into the cliff face to stabilise the area.

Wright Construction Limited had engaged Central Excavations Limited to carry out the excavation work.

Central Excavations Limited has also been prosecuted over the incident.

Name: Phil Saunders
Designation: Building Control Manager
Tel (Direct): 0 7 838 6541
Mobile: 021 775 623
Fax (Direct): 0 7 838 6684
Name: Philip Burton
Designation: General Manager Communication and Marketing
Tel (Direct): 0 7 838 6507
Mobile:  021 428 748
Fax (Direct): 0 7 838 6761
Page reviewed: 24 Dec 2007 12:00am