Queenstown problem building case settles out of court

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A BIG leaky-building case over a Queenstown CBD building has been settled.

The owners of The Mountaineer had sued local-based building contractor Rilean Construction (South Island) for damages of at least $4.1 million, because their basement had taken in water since it was built.

“Rilean was obliged by contract to provide a watertight basement and it did not do so,” Westwood Group Holdings claimed.

Local Cavell Leitch legal partner Stephen Brent, in a statement released this month, says: “All proceedings and issues between the owner of the building and Rilean relating to The Mountaineer building have been resolved to the parties’ satisfaction.”

There was no further comment.

Westwood’s claim included $2.48m for “diminution in the value of the completed building”, $500,000 for a pumping system and $256,000 for lost rent to November, 2012.

To spread its potential legal liability, Rilean roped in three co-defendants – Walker Architects, Queenstown Waterproofing Systems and an affiliate of Holmes Consulting Group.

The Walker and Holmes companies, in turn, tried to draw another six firms into the litigation – but were thwarted by a High Court associate judge concerned this would delay the trial till next April or May.

At least seven days were set aside for the trial in October.

The trial has been aborted, however, with the parties settling out of court.

Rilean’s total contract price for the original 2008-09 project, centred around the reconstruction of an historic building, was $13.2 million.