Congratulations to Alexandra and Sherwyn!

Alexandra Kissling, a law graduate in Kensington Swan’s Wellington office, won second prize in the New Zealand Society of Construction Law 2015 Essay Competition at the Society’s AGM on Tuesday evening. Her essay covered the status of the law in New Zealand concerning supplementary contributions, and will be presented at a Society event later in…

Cutting corners costly

Recently issues have been raised with the quality of building, with the Auckland Council failing up to a third of its inspections. Now it has been highlighted that sub-standard earthworks on new housing sites in Auckland are threatening neighbouring properties and costing homeowners thousands. Auckland Council says it is shutting down around two sites a…

Prefabricated houses – the modern approach?

It has been hailed as the answer to New Zealand’s (OK primarily Auckland’s) housing shortage. But it is not so modern. While the quality of, and efficiencies in production of, prefabricated homes has for many years been led by countries such as Germany, The Netherlands, and Sweden (to name a few) New Zealand was a…

Insurance cover for notional rebuild includes contingencies and professional fees—Supreme Court

In the recent Supreme Court decision Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd v Avonside Holdings Ltd [2015] NZSC 110, Avonside’s rental house was damaged beyond economic repair during the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. Avonside’s insurance policy allowed it to purchase another property, the cost of which could not exceed the cost of ‘rebuilding your rental…

Keeping up with Code Compliance

The “she’ll be right” attitude, often viewed as a pillar of the New Zealand collective psyche, has taken on the form of “the shed will be right” for dairy farmers in the Timaru region. NBR reported that the Timaru District Council is concerned with reports that 54 dairy sheds in the district are lacking code…

Avoiding the Weathertight Homes tribunal

As of February this year, a total of 7,256 claims have been lodged with the Weathertight Homes Tribunal. 207 of these claims were brought within the year. The good news is that over the last 5 years the number of new leaky building claims brought before the tribunal has nearly halved. Despite the gradual decrease…

The duty to mitigate loss

A breach of contract does not give the innocent party carte blanche to recover damages for any loss that may have stemmed from the breach. The amount of damage or loss that can be recovered is subject to a number of considerations, one of which being the actions taken by a complainant to mitigate any…

Phase change materials – the way of the future?

New research on phase change materials (PCMs) suggests a useful application to energy efficiency in the home. Professor Mohammed Farid, of Auckland University’s Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, has found that significant electricity savings could be made through the use of PCMs in the walls of houses. PCMs are substances that can store and…

Height matters

A recent case regarding height restrictions on a property at Mt Maunganui illustrates the importance of clear drafting, and the difficulties of deciphering what parties intended when an agreement was concluded over twenty years ago and the parties have completely different recollections of what happened. In Menzies v Goodley [2015] NZHC 1481, the Goodleys were subject…