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Dodgy walls cause homes’ collapse

Friday August 02, 2019 Written by Published in National
Tangi Tuake. 19080112 Tangi Tuake. 19080112

A building product company alleged to owe Cook Islanders a “substantial amount” of money is facing multiple charges in an Auckland court.

 

Global Fibre8 Limited and its director Tangi Tuake, who is of Cook Islands descent, is facing eight charges over its controversial K3T wall panel system.

The charges have been laid by New Zealand’s Commerce Commission after independent report alleges the K3T wall system is not fit for purpose and does not meet the building code on a number of levels.

The report also says the product has been leaching toxins and these chlorides eventually “poison” concrete and corrode steel, causing extensive damage.

According to reports, a number of Cook Islanders purchased the wall systems to use and others purchased the rights to distribute the product.

It is also alleged some of the Cook Islanders who paid for the materials never received them.

Former Infrastructure secretary Ngametua Pokino told Cook Islands News last year that the product gained popularity here because people were “lured by the low price and fast construction turnaround”.

Pokini also said the ministry’s building control unit would review Global Fibre 8’s business permit.

In August 2017, Global Fibre8 held a week-long K3T Wall Systems workshop on Rarotonga which resulted in a couple of houses built on the island from the material.

Infrastructure ministry was supposed to inspect these houses to ensure the construction specifications were followed.

An email was sent to Infrastructure’s director corporate services Felix Matapuku yesterday for comments on the inspection. No response was received when this edition went to print last night.

However it is understood the Infrastructure ministry has been discouraging people from purchasing the K3T wall system following several media reports questioning its quality and standards.

According to 1 NEWS reports, the charges laid against Tuake and the company are under the Fair Trading Act and relate to claims they made about the wall panel system.

“The Commerce Commission alleges at no time did Global Fibre8 have the New Zealand CodeMark certification despite the company’s claims it did,” 1 NEWS said in a report.

According to 1 NEWS, the K3T wall panels, made in China and sold by Global Fibre8, have resulted in two houses in Northland being demolished after they contracted and expanded causing cracks and leaked chlorides corroding lead and poisoning the concrete.

“The panels are also being sold overseas with devastating results. In Melbourne a number of builds are affected – Ron Klik had two houses built – one has already been demolished and the other is about to be pulled down,” the report says.