"How am I going to solve this?"
A New Zealand man is being sued after a building consent error resulted in his house being built on his neighbour’s boundary.
Deepak Lal’s house was built one metre from where it should have been built.
As a result, it could cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix.
Deepak had contracted Pinnacle Homes to design and build the property in Papakura, Auckland. By mid-2020, it was almost complete.
However, work on the house came to a stop in August when the construction company told Deepak about the boundary error.
The neighbouring property is owned by C94 Development.
The company is now taking legal action against Deepak, telling him to move the house or pay $315,000 in damages.
Deepak said: “It’s a nightmare for me. I wake up in the middle of the night and think, ‘How am I going to solve this’?”
Pinnacle Homes had hired HQ Designs to come up with the plans and file the building consent for the house.
Deepak said HQ Designs architectural designer Nitin Kumar filed the building consent and it was approved by the Auckland Council.
In September 2020, Deepak’s lawyer, Matt Taylor, sent a letter to Pinnacle Homes and HQ Designs, saying a surveyor had been hired to certify the home’s location, and it was in keeping with the building consent.
Mr Taylor said:
“It seems likely that the issue has arisen as a result of an error made at the design stage likely to have occurred when the resource consent information was transferred by the designer to the plans submitted for building consent.”
Pinnacle Homes project manager Johnny Bhatti said he realised the error when he checked the documents for Deepak’s house.
He said: “The first person I called was the surveyor.
“But he had actually marked the house in the right place according to the building consent.
“I notified Mr Lal and that’s when everything stopped.”
Mr Bhatti said Pinnacle Homes and the surveyor followed the plans.
He blamed the error on HQ Designs and the council.
He said he feels for the New Zealand man, offering to help move the house. Mr Bhatti said it would cost about $150,000.
Mr Bhatti said: “But we need to negotiate who’s going to pay for it.
“If we move the house someone needs to take responsibility for this and it’s not me – this is between HQ Designs and the council.
“The council checked everything and approved the building consent.
“But the council didn’t cross-check that it was supposed to be one metre within the boundary.”
Nitin Kumar said that when filing the building consent, he asked the council to cross-check it against the resource consent.
He said: “I clearly noted it in the building consent and said they needed to read it in conjunction with the resource consent. It’s the council’s responsibility to check it.”
Mr Kumar and his lawyer spoke to Deepak and Pinnacle Homes to try to find a solution as to who would pay to move the property.
C94 Development spokesperson Bruce Wang called it an unfortunate situation.
“I think in the end the other parties have to provide a solution because it’s preventing us from selling the property.
“If it’s not settled, the liability will keep accruing month by month.”
Mr Wang said he was not interested in who was at fault.
He added: “That’s up to the other parties to find out what went wrong. I have no idea what’s going on.”
Stuff reported that the New Zealand man said he just wants the matter to reach a solution.
“Everyone seems to be blaming someone else.”
While moving the house is the cheapest option, it is money he does not have.
Deepak added: “I’m already paying $1000 a week for the mortgage on this house and the rent for the other place where I’m living.”