Bella Vista Homes ‘cannot be reoccupied’

None of the properties in the former Bella Vista Homes development can be reoccupied, say Tauranga City Council. File photo.

Tauranga City Council has announced all of the properties in the former Bella Vista Homes development – a small part of The Lakes neighbourhood – have been deemed ‘dangerous and affected’, or ‘affected’, and cannot be reoccupied.

Earlier this evening, council representatives met with homeowners and residents of the Bella Vista Homes development, and presented findings from the council’s comprehensive assessment of the subdivision.

Based on the findings of geotechnical, structural, and compliance experts, the council has deemed that all of the 21 properties are ‘dangerous and affected’, or ‘affected’ under the Building Act 2004.

Since early February, the council has been undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the 21 properties in the former Bella Vista Homes development.

The assessment was launched following the liquidation of that company on November 30, 2017. It was initially focused on finding out what needed to be done to make the homes compliant with the building code. However, experts found issues throughout the process.

In early March, 13 families were evacuated from their homes ahead of the expected Cyclone Hola.

TCC chief executive Garry Poole says this is an extraordinary situation where a developer went into liquidation, leaving homes and properties in varying stages of completion.

Some owners took possession of their properties before Building Code compliance certificates were issued, and have been living in the incomplete homes.

Four properties in the development have received Code Compliance Certificates.

“We are not aware of any previous occasion where 21 dangerous and affected building notices have been issued,” says Garry.

“This development has significant failings, and we have to act cautiously with the safety of these families in mind.”

Garry says a thorough investigation is to be carried out on the Bella Vista Homes development by an external expert. Details about the investigation will be provided shortly, and the investigator will be asked to proceed as quickly as possible, consistent with carrying out a full and proper investigation

At tonight’s meeting, the council provided an overview of the expert geotechnical, structural, and building compliance reports.

The geotechnical advice from AECOM, and peer reviewed by ICE Geo & Civil, was that eight buildings are dangerous mainly due to unretained slopes (of up to six metres) at the rear of the Lakes Boulevard properties.

The advice says that in heavy or prolonged rainfall it is likely that instability will occur, and could result in the slopes failing.

The structural advice from BCD Group determined that 10 buildings are dangerous due to seven key defects. This includes issues with roof bracing, lintel fixing, bottom plate fixing, steel beam fixing, floor joist fixing and blockwall reinforcing.

BCD carried out invasive testing on 15 buildings. Some buildings have not been tested, as owners did not provide consent for this to happen, or testing has not yet occurred.

Building compliance expert Rose McLaughlan has catalogued issues across all of the properties and come to the conclusion that none of the buildings are code compliant.

This is despite some having had Code Compliant Certificates issued.

Rose says many of the defects at the properties may not be easily remediated, feasible or cost-effective to undertake remedial work. This is due to the nature of the soil and problems associated with uncontrolled fill and subsurface erosion.

She believes remediating the land and repairing some foundations and slabs, may be virtually impossible.

Tauranga City Council will now meet with owners individually.

Garry told owners that work continues on four options, and these will be reported to the council.

“Our job doesn’t finish here; our focus remains on finding a satisfactory outcome for these owners and that’s what we will be doing now.”

Elected members will make a final decision on the council’s preferred option in a formal meeting on June 6.

OPTIONS BEING EXPLORED BY TAURANGA CITY COUNCIL

  1.   •  Remediation with a charge: the council works with each owner to discuss how their property can be remediated; and if necessary assist them financially to achieve code compliance with a charge on the property that is realised upon resale.

  1.   •  Regulatory function only: the council completes its expert assessments, issues appropriate notices and provides no further assistance.

  1.   •  Buy/Demolish/Sell: The council purchases the properties, demolishes them and on-sells to a developer as bare land.

  1.   •  Remediation at the council’s cost:  the council works with each owner to discuss how the property can be remediated and remediate at the council’s cost.


17 Comments

As much as I have read so far..

Posted on 29-04-2018 06:33 | By groutby

.....suggests a lot of ’head nodding’ and almost ’under the table’ deals going on here. I need to know this isnt the case but the more I read (if reported correctly) continues to suggest exactly that. The whole thing is quite insane given the checks, compliance requirements and all the other safety insistances that bore most tradies to death no doubt. Irrespective of the building company involvement, the land surely will have been cleared (resource consent?) to build on with certain conditions met, subsequent and frequent ’dodgy’ goings on hopefully be revealed in the upcoming report to be tabled early June. Awful for the owners and if found to be predominantly a TCC issue, surely serious consequences must prevail....and I don’t just mean the staff involved quietly resigning with a ratepayer funded ’golden handshake’...there has been way to much ’butt covering’ in the Council for way to long now.

Mr Guy

Posted on 19-04-2018 13:04 | By Maryfaith

Your refute my comment re ’unstable land’ - what is your reply to the following evidence of such? Quote: ... "Rose says many of the defects at the properties may not be easily remediated, feasible or cost-effective to undertake remedial work. This is due to the nature of the soil and problems associated with ""uncontrolled fill"" and subsurface erosion." ... in the latest ’Sunlive’ article on Sunlive.

Deemed / doomed

Posted on 18-04-2018 12:53 | By begesch

The whole thing sounds to me like: " Oh, that guy is insolvent, lets check his constructions"! So, if there would not have been an insolvency, the houses would not have been checked. Does that sound a bit scary? OH HELL, it does. Am feeling very sorry and angry for the people who have bought those houses in good faith that everything is well checked, given all the building checks and ticks one needs from the council. And this is really happening in 2018 ????

Confused

Posted on 18-04-2018 10:31 | By peecee09

I would assume that this land was sold to the building company as being land suitable to build homes on.I would be very interested to hear from the company developing The Lakes, an explanation from their perspective as to what has gone astray here.

Fair Go

Posted on 18-04-2018 10:15 | By Sandra77

I wonder how long it will take for this story to go to Air - hopefully soon... I would suggest that is exactly where these homeowners go - expose this joke of a Council and make sure that the whole of NZ is made aware of Bella Vista Director Danny Cancian - especially when it is so ridiculously easy to liquidate then just start up another ’limited liability’ company - this needs to change asap!!

just unbelievable

Posted on 18-04-2018 08:53 | By Darth Vader NZ

the continued incompetence of this council never fails prior to these homes being constructed building plans would have got engineer approval then a building permit issued enabling the homes to be built the land to be built on would have been engineered due to retaining walls having to be constructed during the building process site inspections would have been conducted and signed off for construction to be able to continue on completion of the homes a code of compliance would have been issued none of which the home owner is responsible for this is entirely the council not the developer inspections were completed yet the home owners are the ones now suffering through no fault of their own there needs to be a class action to sue this council I cant believe how this circus of a council continues to waste rate payers money at will with no consequences

@alan123

Posted on 18-04-2018 08:45 | By maildrop

Not only scott free will financially secure. Having bought out his "business partner" by transferring company cash and assets prior to liquidation. His former business partner will be laughing. You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. Stinks. It’s a Police matter but they couldn’t even build a case where people lost their lives at Pike River or CCTV. What chance bringing these crooks before a court? Don’t hold your breath, just keep paying your Rates.

Kiwi style

Posted on 18-04-2018 08:37 | By maildrop

This will be dealt with in the usual Kiwi manner. Bulldoze it. Sweep the bits away. Let the culprits scuttle off into the shadows intact. TCC and Police will ride it out with eyes shut and fingers in ears. Nobody will be punished. Pike River, CCTV,.......

Where are the people responsible?

Posted on 18-04-2018 07:50 | By Alan123

It appears that the building company owner walks away scot free, leaving a trail of destruction and the owners and council to clean up the mess. The public need to know who they are so if they start another building company people can be aware of the risk in using their company.

The RORT continues

Posted on 17-04-2018 23:27 | By MISS ADVENTURE

The inspections are somehow deeming that which is Buildign Code compliant to be non-compliant? There is somethign esle very serious going on here where perfectly good homes are intended to be leveled for "real" reasons yet to be fully revealed. The previous consultants reports have been requested ex Council but they have refused to provide these independant reports that they already hold and that are different to the one off reports of jsut recent times. How strange the whole thing is!!!!

heads should roll

Posted on 17-04-2018 22:07 | By missusmck

I feel so sorry for these homeowners and think that the council should put things right for them.the council employed someone who should have been trustworthy and competent.pity that the building inspector can’t be used and as for the developer his comments the other day we’re"I’m just going to keep building houses" just keep making honest people miserable.these people have the moral fibre of a cockroach.come on tdc do the right thing.it happened in rotoru and the council had to buy the people out

I trust that

Posted on 17-04-2018 22:00 | By R1Squid

TCC has a plan to not make Ratepayers liable for the inconsistencies. It has cost us enough already. Definitely cannot afford a Museum now!!!

Disgraceful

Posted on 17-04-2018 21:48 | By Centurion

is the only word to describe this situation. All of Council’s making ... yes, OK to build there; yes, inspections completed at each stage and signed off; yes, compliance certificates issued. Ooops, too bad, we fouled up, but its your problem. Am I reading this correctly?

What else,

Posted on 17-04-2018 18:55 | By Marshal

Another right mess, with the Tauranga City Council at the helm... Well done..

Don't you LOVE the suggested outcomes -

Posted on 17-04-2018 18:52 | By The Caveman

The COUNCIL will - - - - - - - - - - - - read the RATEPAYERS WILL ----- front up for stuff-ups BY high paid Council staff. The simple point is that building consents should NEVER have been issued BEFORE all of the required retaining walls and draingae was in place, in respect of the WHOLE development.

How

Posted on 17-04-2018 18:49 | By Merlin

How did some of the houses get compliance from the council and why should they have to put up some of the remedial costs if that proceeds.What an utter shambles by the developer and the Council.

Positions are untenable

Posted on 17-04-2018 18:48 | By maildrop

From staff to Councillors. Go. Surely the external investigators are called Policemen? It is criminal for the building inspector to take a bung to pass them. It is criminal to transfer assets to your business partner when liquidation is looming. I sense a rug is being lifted and things swept under it.

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