Ailing ambulance centre gets CPR

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St John suffers leaky-building disease.

Queenstown’s ambulance HQ, which is suffering leaky-building failure, will be resuscitated for free by some of its original contractors.

Cracks have formed and plaster layers have come apart in the $1.5 million St John building at Douglas Street, Frankton.

The eight-year-old structure’s lake-facing wall will be completely reclad – but if the timber framings have rotted they’ll need replacing too.

St John will still have to fork out about $30,000 to $40,000 towards the work, says its local chairman Marty Black.

The bill won’t be higher because the original project and construction managers, plasterer and architects will fix most of the building for nothing.

Rather than resort to a costly legal battle, they’d come to the party because it’s a community building, Black says.

Committee member Mark Tutty says the St John centre lacks a cavity system or adequate flashing details, which are both required by the new building code.

These are classic symptoms of the leaky-home syndrome that’s blighted thousands of New Zealand properties, but some of the cracking may have been caused by earthquakes, Tutty says.

The other problem is there wasn’t a maintenance pro­gramme in place – “The building should have had another lick of paint before now”, Tutty adds.

The west wall cladding will be taken off next February, when the weather’s best for plastering work.

“We won’t really know till we rip that plaster off if there’s any damage to any of the wall framing.”