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Comcom steel investigation raises further concerns

For immediate release

Tuesday May 8th, 2017

Lawyer says latest Comcom steel investigation raises further concerns

Auckland lawyer Adina Thorn says that the Commerce Commission’s latest investigation into the supply of allegedly non-compliant steel by Fletcher Building shows that problems with the importing of poor quality steel into New Zealand are greater than previously suspected.

Adina Thorn Lawyers is putting together a class action against Steel and Tube Limited and other steel manufacturers and suppliers, after a previous investigation by the Commission raised concerns about the ability of some steel mesh to comply with earthquake standards. Adina says the issue emerged in March last year when it was reported that a significant number of potentially non-compliant steel mesh sheets had been supplied to builders throughout Canterbury from mid-2012.

The Commission’s further investigation, revealed by Radio New Zealand this morning, relates to rectangular hollow steel (RHS) that was imported and sold by Fletcher subsidiary, Easysteel, in the year to March 2016. RHS is thought to be widely used in construction in this country.

The unnamed complainant is reported as saying that its independent testing found that samples of the Australian-sourced steel differed markedly from the certification tests undertaken by the Tonghua Iron and Steel Testing Centre in China.

Adina Thorn says that it is critical that steel used in construction complies with the relevant standards – particularly in regards to its performance in the event of an earthquake.

Adina says that people who have concerns about the steel in their buildings (including RHS) should register their interest at www.steelclassaction.co.nz, where they will be asked to complete a simple no-obligation form for evaluation purposes.

“We are having a steady level of response to our work on a funded steel mesh class action, details of which are on our website. There is also a list of question and answers there.”

A funded class action would not cost the participants anything; in return, the funder receives a share of any proceeds.

Adina Thorn Lawyers is also leading the NZ$200 million plus funded class “faulty cladding” action against the James Hardie Group of companies. This separate action involves more than 1,000 separate properties and the owners have allegedly suffered significant losses and health issues arising from the use of non-performing cladding materials. That action is funded by the UK’s largest litigation funder.


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