Monday, October 14, 2019

What is wrong with our building industry?

Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:

New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel.

Concrete investigators say their scanning shows many buildings have not been constructed according to the plans.

They were "astounded" and "appalled", Jane Roach-Gray of Wellington company Concrete Structure Investigations said.


Critical structural parts were defective or missing in 1100 of the 1200 buildings they had scanned since 2016, Ms Roach-Gray said.

"The divide occurs between what's in the plans and what ends up in the structure," she said.

They can't name any of the buildings "for legal reasons" (meaning: fear of being sued if they told the truth about what's wrong with them), but the implication is clear: pretty much anything that has been built in the last 40 years has these problems. And some may be structurally unsound or outright unsafe as a result.

So how did this happen? One part is almost certainly the building industry's culture of lowballing contracts, which then encourages them to cut corners to turn a profit. But in theory, buildings are meant to be inspected, to ensure that that doesn't happen and that everything is built according to the plans. So there have obviously been some terrible failures there. Who's responsible for inspections? Those same territorial authorities who granted consents to leaky homes, and who are under relentless pressure from Boomers to Keep Rates Low. Except that skimping on this is a fool's strategy, because councils are legally liable for their failure to inspect, and in the case of leaky homes, that adds up to billions. They could now be on the hook for billions more.