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Fletcher Construction asks judge to dismiss CCDHB claim

Monday 17 October 2016 04:08 PM

Fletcher Construction asks judge to dismiss CCDHB claim for leaky hospital pipes

By Sophie Boot

Oct. 17 (BusinessDesk) - Capital & Coast District Health Board has no chance of winning its claims against Fletcher Construction for its work on Wellington Hospital, and the case should not go to trial, Fletcher's lawyer has told the High Court.

Fletcher's lawyer, Kerry Fulton, has sought a summary judgment from associate judge Warwick Smith, saying CCDHB has no case. Fletcher was contracted by CCDHB to build the majority of Wellington's $346 million central hospital, a task it substantially completed in December 2008, Fulton said. The health board says there are defects in the copper pipes used in the hot and cold water system and in the system's design.

The pipes have developed pinhole leaks and the system needs to be replaced. When the health board launched the court action in May this year it said it wasn't appropriate to speculate how much a solution would cost.

The system was designed by Beca, which the district health board had its own contract with, Fulton said, while Fletcher subcontracted out the installation of the systems to specialists who have since been liquidated.

"The design was not a responsibility resting on FCC, and it can have no liability for that," Fulton said. "CCDHB witnesses don't dispute that the defects are primarily design defects, for which FCC can't be responsible."

Fulton rejected the health board's allegations that Fletcher couldn't delegate its duty to ensure the building materials were fit for purpose.

"These pipes all came stamped compliant with the standard. What were we supposed to do? That's it. If a duty like this was said to be owed, the construction industry would come to a standstill because every contractor would think, we have to get everything audited now, and that's just plain nonsense."

The health board has also alleged the pipe manufacturer, Crane Group, breached its duty of care as it says it supplied faulty pipes, Fulton said.

"CCDHB agreed its protection post-construction against material failures was through the two-year guarantee they agreed to accept from the specialist sub-contractor. In any event, the alleged defects are not defects, and there's no prospect of that being established, and there's no prospect of establishing breach."

The hearing continues this afternoon with the health board's lawyers presenting their case.



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