Subcontractor wins fight to get back its gear

The screech and hammer of tools returned to a Mainzeal construction site yesterday - but only as subcontractors were finally allowed to remove their equipment.

Scaffolding company Camelspace has begun removing about $500,000 worth of its equipment from the Hobson Gardens apartment complex in central Auckland.

On Saturday, police were called and building owners issued scaffolders with a trespass notice, but later that night a deal was struck.

Camelspace co-owner Phil McConchie said the delay and extra labour involved in removing the scaffolding would cost about $50,000. That was on top of the more than $300,000 Mainzeal owed him when the country's third-largest construction company went into receivership last Wednesday.

"This deal we've brokered is we are basically going to strip both towers down to level four. That would equate to probably about half of [the scaffolding].

"This gear we got out [yesterday], that's enough to feed us, if you like - enough to deliver to our clients as promised."

Yesterday, a security guard outside the buildings said she was there to stop other contractors entering without permission.

Owners and tenants of the two-tower 97-unit block at 205-215 Hobson St have been left in limbo over when the leaky buildings will be fixed.

Mainzeal built the blocks 15 years ago and was also the contractor to fix them. Negotiations over the repairs were protracted and at one stage were heading to the High Court at Auckland but were settled in advance.

Defects were expected to cost up to $20 million to fix, making it one of New Zealand's most expensive leaky blocks.

Yesterday, Ezra Whall, a bartender who rents an apartment, said it was hugely disappointing to see the scaffolding come down.

The 19-year-old had been told the repairs would be finished by April.

Mr McConchie told the Herald he was "absolutely gutted" for the residents.

"When there is finally light at the end of the tunnel - their building is going to be fixed - Mainzeal go bust and leave it 80 per cent done.

"I'm pleased we were able to leave [scaffolding] for a couple of weeks, to allow them to get some temporary weather tighteners on the still-exposed floors."

- Nicholas Jones of the NZ Herald

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