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Concern over infill housing standards in Howick

Concern over infill housing standards in Howick and Pakuranga

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis is concerned about instances of unacceptable building practices in Howick and Pakuranga.

He says, "Councillor Sharon Stewart has alerted me to the extent of the problem and along with her I visited various sites in Howick last week. I was horrified to observe what I consider to be sub-standard work and significant environmental effects on adjoining properties which need to be rectified by the developers immediately."

Sir Barry says builders and developers have a huge responsibility to maintain professional standards once their plans have been approved by the Council and it is unacceptable to find these cases of poor and even dangerous practices.

Sir Barry says the faults he has observed include

" Homes being built near boundaries without the legal boundary being defined by a Registered Surveyor

" Buildings being built higher than approved in the plans, and closer to the boundary.

" Extensive excavations too close to common side boundaries without any consideration for the stability of adjoining properties.

" Retaining walls being constructed often too late to prevent serious subsidence on adjoining properties

" Retaining walls often being built to a poor standard without adequate drainage behind the wall.

" Concrete driveways being installed over plastic drainage pipes without any cover over the pipes and in some instances the pipes are damaged before the concrete is applied.

" Concrete driveways are designed with inadequate cesspits to pick up storm water, often on a steep grade, with the result that in heavy rain homes are being flooded. In one case the storm water led from the cesspit chamber was supposed to run uphill to the storm water line.

" In the Howick Heritage Zone, excessively high second stories are being built on single-storied houses

Sir Barry says "I have been advised recently that there is a considerable amount of unauthorised building being done in the Howick, Pakuranga and Bucklands Beach areas with basement areas being converted into residential flats and single storied houses having too many bedrooms without adequate toilets and washing facilities. This is causing overcrowding and inappropriate living conditions.

"These unacceptable building practices are simply hiding and delaying major problems for both present and future owners of these properties.

"I have met with the City Manager, Directors and other key staff of Manukau City Council to advise them of my concerns and request these matters be investigated urgently."

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