Hawkins to pay $13m for defects

A construction company has been ordered to pay up more than $13 million to remedy massive and widespread leaky building defects at Botany Downs Secondary School.

The order was made in a High Court judgment against H Construction North Island Ltd — formerly Hawkins Construction North Island Ltd — by Justice Downs.

The judgment notes the school opened in 2004 and has 1906 students and 118 teachers. Hawkins built the school’s buildings between 2003 and 2009.

The plaintiffs — the Minister of Education, the Secretary for Education and the school’s Board of Trustees — contend nine buildings leak because of a host of construction defects — and will cost more than $17m to repair.

They argued Hawkins was liable in negligence to meet this cost.

“Hawkins accepts the buildings suffer what it refers to as ‘issues’ and related poor workmanship,” the judgment says.

“But it submits they comply with the Building Code. Hawkins contends its contractual relationship with the plaintiffs precludes liability in negligence in any event.

“Affirmative defences are advanced too including limitation defences under the Limitation Act 1950 and Building Act 2004, and contributory negligence.”

Justice Downs said in his summary that Hawkins is liable to pay the cost of remedying defects (specified in the 88 page judgment).

Hawkins must pay the plaintiffs $13,424,967.40 and GST on this sum.

“The sum is not small but Hawkins was paid approximately $28m to build the school,” Justice Downs says.

“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.”