Councils struck out from Leaky School responsibilities
Auckland City Council successfully applied to be struck out of a leaky building claim by the Ministry of Education.
The ramifications are huge. Imagine how reclad failures will be judged – this time round owners will have knowledge of leaky buildings, they are currently engaging the same experts MOE was obliged to engage (weathertightness expert, new plans, competent builder) so council will escape new damage – end of story. That means no Council as last man standing like old times during a claim. para 64 “……It is inconceivable that the Minister or any Board of Trustees would allow children to occupy rooms that were unsafe or a danger to health because of leaks” para 70 “…It must be assumed that those who own schools will keep them safe for children whatever disasters unfold.” Could this judge be angling for a scriptwriter’s job at a well known brewery company? Auckland City’s strike out application is accepted – they walk away from a list of leaky schools and a precedent is created which will be causing some serious shivers: para 48: “Thus, while the Building Act 1991 creates a relationship where there is interaction and proximity between a Council and a building owner seeking the necessary permissions and certificates to build, there is nothing to indicate the contemplation of a specific duty of care in relation to economic loss arising from defective design or construction. There is foreseeability in that it can be foreseen that negligent Council consent or certification could fail to stop the construction of defective work, which will cause loss. However that is not harm that the Council actually causes. Rather it is harm that the Council fails to stop.” Gotta love those fine distinctions upon which lives balance….