Construction News: January 2021

  • Publications and reports

    02 February 2021

Construction News: January 2021 Desktop Image Construction News: January 2021 Mobile Image

MinterEllisonRuddWatts in the market
MinterEllisonRuddWatts presentation at ADLS on proposed changes to the Conduct and Client Care Rules

There has been considerable recent focus in the legal profession on bullying in the workplace, but what happens when our employees face unreasonable conduct and/or bullying from a client? On 18 February 2021 Partners Janine Stewart and Gillian Service and Solicitor Katie Karpik will present a seminar at the Auckland District Law Society on lawyers’ (and their employers’) legal and ethical obligations, and the tensions that can arise in this context. The seminar will also discuss whether the proposed changes to the Conduct and Client Care Rules could provide a solution to these issues, and consider the best way forward to establish a sustainable legal practice with enduring client relationships.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts presentation at ADLS on warranties in commercial lease agreements

Partners Janine Stewart and Stephen Price will present a paper on warranties in commercial lease agreements at the Auckland District Law Society’s 2021 Property Law Half Day Conference on 25 February 2021. The paper will cover how a warranty differs from a standard lease obligation and explore practical issues that arise when dealing with warranties in a commercial lease.

See more details on the conference and register to attend here.

Notice of adjudication under the Construction Contracts Act: redundant or crucial to jurisdiction?

In the next issue of LawNews, Partner Janine Stewart and Solicitor, Mariam Baho consider the issue of how an adjudicator’s jurisdiction is set under the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (CCA), which has long vexed parties to construction disputes – not least the adjudicators themselves. The recent decision of Alaska Construction further muddies the waters, as it is contrary to previous authority and current industry practice.

Case Alerts
Body Corporate Number 203780 v Bell [2020] NZCA 665

The Court of Appeal held that a Body Corporate can, by resolution, authorise unit owners to consent to the Body Corporate altering their unit in a way that materially alters the exterior appearance of the development during the course of carrying out remedial works.

A single building with five units suffered substantial damage from water ingress. The unit owners disagreed on whether the balconies should be removed or replaced in the course of carrying out that remedial work. Four unit owners wanted their balconies removed and not replaced, to reduce their costs and avoid future risk and maintenance issues. The Body Corporate passed a 4-1 resolution allowing owners to choose whether their balcony would be removed while the remedial work was undertaken. The Bells (the dissenting unit owners) challenged the resolution.

The Court of Appeal held that the Body Corporate could authorise the removal of one or more balconies in the scope of remedial work provided that the relevant unit owner consents to the removal. The Court noted that the relevant provisions of the Unit Titles Act 2010 are designed to strike a balance between the goals of protecting the integrity of the development as a whole and establishing a flexible and responsive regime for governance of unit title developments. Accordingly, the Body Corporate’s appeal was allowed and its resolution was reinstated.

Read the full case here

Market Activity
Building frenzy to continue with record consents

New Zealand has had the largest number of new home consents issued this past year since 1974 with 38,624 consents for the year to November 2020 – a 4.2 percent jump on the prior 12 months. That increase is largely attributable to Auckland, up by 9.6 percent, and Canterbury, up by 9.1 percent. Auckland Council’s chief economist expects that although the construction sector has scaled up well, the time between consent and construction completion will increase due to labour shortages and the shift towards complex construction types.

Read the full article here

Covid-19 contributes to shortage of plumbing, electrical and glass supplies

Delivering projects on time and within budget, that’s the aim of the game. But a shortage of building supplies is preventing the construction sector from achieving this. Suppliers of basic building materials, such as plumbing, electrical and glass, are reporting that supply lines are increasingly taut. When Covid-19 first hit, suppliers expected a downturn and reduced forward orders. However, what transpired was a spike in home renovation and congestion at the Ports of Auckland. Delays snowballed as contractors had to change equipment and materials mid-project meaning they have to go back to the council for code compliance. This may result in construction contractors incurring liquidated damages for late completions.

Read the full article here

New housing development underway in Queenstown

Construction is now underway for a Queenstown housing development, Te Pā Tāhuna, that will deliver more than 300 new homes. Ngāi Tahu Property is developing the site for Kiwibuild and the Land for Housing Programme. Downer has been appointed to carry out the work. The mix of Kiwibuild and market homes, at various price points, are expected to be ready from 2022.

Read the full article here

Battle against controversial Waiheke Island marine plan heads to Supreme Court

A group called Save Kennedy Point are headed to the Supreme Court in a final bid to stop the development of a berth marina at Waiheke Island. The group is relying on a recent Māori Appellate Court judgment that found Auckland Council had failed to recognise Ngāti Paoa Trust Boards as a mandated representative under the Resource Management Act – Auckland Council was accused of speaking to the wrong iwi group during consultation.

Read the full article here

Dementia village gets the go-ahead

The site of the old Hawthorndale School in Invercargill is set to become a revolutionary dementia unit. The Invercargill City Council granted resource consent for the $33 million development which allows the building of 13 single storey residential care homes, 19 single storey independent residential living units and a two-storey apartment building containing 22 residential apartments. Construction is proposed to be completed in seven years.

Read the full article here

Multimillionaire plans new $40m supermarket for post Auckland suburb

Ben Cook of Cook Property is about to begin building a new supermarket in New Zealand’s wealthiest suburb, Herne Bay. The multimillionaire says the store will be metro-style, half the size of a full-scale supermarket, offer a small boutique offering tailored to the community, and will have a finished value of around $40 million. The site will be held as an investment by Kremlin Capital owned by Cook and associate Kurt Gibbons.

Read the full article here