25 Aug 2015

Stadium collapse will not cost ratepayers - council

6:59 am on 25 August 2015

Invercargill City Council is assuring ratepayers that they will not be liable for the collapse of Stadium Southland's roof, even though the High Court found the council was partly to blame.

The Crescent, Invercargill.

Invercargill council has been found partly to blame for Stadium Southland's collapse Photo: SUPPLIED / ICC

The roof above the stadium's community courts collapsed under the weight of snow in September 2010 and a claim was taken by the stadium's insurer to determine who should bear the repair costs.

Justice Dunningham has found that the council was negligent in issuing a code of compliance for remedial works to the roof in 2000, because it did not have the information it needed to ensure the work was up to Code.

She said the council should pay 10 percent of the almost $18 million claim, while Invercargill engineer Tony Major, who designed the roof, should pay the rest.

Mr Major was expelled from the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand last year for his role in the design and construction of the stadium.

A Department of Building and Housing report, released in 2012, found that remedial work to fix sagging roof trusses was inadequate and welding was either missing or not up to standard.

Council chief executive Richard King said although the council was partly to blame for granting a Code of Compliance Certificate (CCC) for the remedial work, its insurer was liable, rather than city's ratepayers.

He said the council had already paid its $10,000 insurance excess and said there would not be any further costs to the ratepayer.

In a media statement issued by the council, the council said an appeal was being considered because of the judgement's implications for councils throughout the country, which relied on professionals involved in construction projects.

Justice Dunningham said the CCC was issued in 2000, in time for the stadium's official opening by former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

She said the consent was granted without the authority of the chief building inspector by a clerk in the consents team.

The council tried to argue that the collapse would have happened anyway, even if the CCC had not been issued negligently.

It said it had the information required to issue the CCC in November 2001, a year after the certificate was issued, which was nine years before the collapse happened.

Justice Dunningham dismissed this argument, saying the council still failed to take engineering advice to inspect the welding on the roof trusses and said had this been done the defects would have been identified and fixed.

Justice Dunningham deducted $750,000 from the total cost to account for betterment of the stadium when the trust repaired the roof.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt declined to comment on the matter and Mr Major could not be reached for comment yesterday.