Dream home turns into nightmare

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A badly botched building job has turned a Queenstowner’s dream home into a costly nightmare.

Marcelle Noble contracted company True Green Homes to build a passive, eco-friendly home and guest cottage on her Dalefield property almost 18 months ago.

The two-level Fitzpatrick Road house is incomplete and can’t be lived in because of crooked walls and leaky-home problems.

Attempts to fix it have made some problems even worse.

Noble says “it’s an absolute nightmare”.

“I really just felt I was taken advantage of, being a woman on her own who doesn’t know anything about building.

“This is my dream home that I wanted to have - small, passive, little footprint on the planet, and something that couldn’t have too much that could go wrong.”

The project’s all but wiped out her savings.

True Green Homes was contracted in November 2013 to build the one-bedroom home and cottage for $300,000.

The company’s owned by former Arrowtown carpenter Ingo True - who didn’t return calls this week.

True, who now lives in Lyttelton, told Mountain Scene in 2011 that he used German building techniques that were far more energy-efficient and airtight than those employed in New Zealand.

Last week, True Green Homes Ltd went into liquidation.

Another company associated with True, TGH NZ, formerly named True Green Homes, is still afloat.

Local building surveyor Chris Tate produced an 80-page ‘building defects assessment’ of Noble’s Dalefield buildings in February.

Tate concludes the house and cottage “exhibit deficiencies involving construction methods which do not follow the consented plans, specifications or current best practices”.

Deficiencies allow water to seep in. The building will not meet building code.

Noble’s building manager Lindsay Theedom goes further:

“The house is a write-off, it needs to be pulled down - it’s got nothing but leaky-home issues all around it.

“Every single contractor that’s entered the property, apart from the plumber, has incorrectly done their job, from the drainage, the electrical, the build and even the design of it.”

Noble says she’s paid $200,000 to True Green Homes and borrowed another $200,000 to meet costs, such as employing a building manager, surveyor and lawyer.

Noble blames not only the builder for her troubles - but also sub-contractor Queenstown Roofing.

But Queenstown Roofing owner Jason Scott says his company’s only responsible for five per cent of the problems and it tried to fix them. Some walls are out by 50mm to 100mm, he says.

“I feel sorry for Marcelle because she’s had the wool pulled over her eyes.

“She got shafted on everything through the whole build, right from the design - the plans should never have got through council.”

QLDC building services manager Peter Laurenson couldn’t be reached for comment.

Noble moved into the cottage last winter - and is woken by loose cladding flapping in the wind - but that’s also got issues.

Her concern is there’ll be even more damage to the home’s gibbing and painting over winter.

“I can’t tell you how disheartened I am, I’d just like to run away.”

scoop@scene.co.nz