Our local District Council Building in the Horowhenua currently has large cracks in the basement which the previous powers that be said were perfectly safe. The new Mayor has requested a third report to cover the possibility it is not safe. And here we have more evidence of the darker side of the industry. Again, profits override all else.
Opportunist builders, dodgy steel and shonky standards create new building crisis ‘worse than leaky homes’
Take a building inspector through the soon-to-be city of Flat Bush in Auckland’s south-east, and watch his hackles rise.
He shakes his head and laments the state of building in New Zealand today. He picks his way through Double Happiness cigarette boxes, jagged bricks sticking out of mud, broken bottles, twisted steel mesh to tut tut at wonky flashings. He – Gerard Ball from Babbage Consultants – notices walls are out of plumb and that polystyrene, plastic bags, and chip packets have drifted into nearby streams.
“Every single building on this street raises red flags for me,” Ball says. “If builders don’t give a damn about what’s visible to the eye, how can they be trusted to properly do things they know can be covered up?”
Employee itinerancy and a lack of professional pride within the construction industry have led to an era dubbed worse than the leaky building crisis.
“It’s a self-destructive industry,” says Ball. “Why bother getting trained if you can leap into a job straight away? Why bother impressing the boss with your work ethic when you’re not dependent on him for your next job? Why bother making a decent job of things when stretched councils don’t have time to inspect thoroughly anyway?”