'Totally let down': Couple call for better building oversight

Builder Campbell Romeril’s house in Long Beach. PHOTO: STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Builder Campbell Romeril’s house in Long Beach. PHOTO: STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
A couple whose renovations were botched by a Dunedin builder believe the industry should be tightly regulated.

Mr Romeril in 2015
Mr Romeril in 2015
In 2018, Clive and Ali Copeman began significant renovations to their Waverley home, the building work being completed by Campbell Romeril’s building company, Seaview Cottage Construction Ltd.

The business, which was put into liquidation in July last year, came recommended to the Copemans.

But over the course of the renovations, Mr Romeril’s workmanship became poor and they found they could not contact him, "leaving them in the dark".

Mr Copeman believed other failing builds at the time left him under pressure.

The cladding work had been done so poorly by Mr Romeril’s business it could have left the house deteriorating in the weather.

The cost of Mr Romeril’s failed work was "considerable" to the Copemans and they felt "totally let down" by him.

Mr Romeril was also the sole director of Thrive Homes Ltd, which was also in liquidation.

At the latest liquidators report, Seaview Cottage owed nearly $740,000 and Thrive Homes owed about $167,000.

Mr Copeman said as a homeowner who was struggling with their builder, it was hard to know where to go for help.

“It is hard to know where to turn and I don’t know whether the building industry is well enough regulated," he said.

The couple had the Registered Master Builders’ master build 10 year guarantee — which protected home owners from a loss of deposit and non-completion, materials and workmanship, and structural defects — but it took nearly a year of them complaining for the association to notice.

"Those wheels ground exceedingly slowly," he said.

Mr Copeman believed there were a lot of stories of "cowboy builders" costing people money.

When things were not looking good for Mr Romeril, the couple approached him to offer their support.

"We went in there and said to him how can we help," Mr Copeman said.

But he continued to say the job would be finished, he said.

Nearly four years later, the couple’s renovations had been finished by another builder but they were still awaiting on the Dunedin City Council to sign off on the final consent.

Mr Romeril’s Long Beach home, near Dunedin, was listed for sale with Property Ventures Real Estate.

Quotable Value’s website estimated the two bedroom house was worth about $255,000.

The Otago Daily Times visited the property yesterday to try to talk to him, but he was not there.

When contacted, a spokesman for Registered Master Builders confirmed, in a statement, that Seaview Cottage Construction had been a member of the organisation from March 2018 until March 2019 but it did not answer specific questions regarding scrutiny over its members.

It did confirm that one of Seaview Cottage’s homeowners had been paid out the maximum amount under the master build guarantee.

Thrive Homes was not a member of the association, they said.




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