Fletcher/Todd block at Stonefields had defects: six-year-old Altera Apartments under repair

A five-level award-winning Auckland apartment block at Stonefields is being repaired only six years after it was finished because of faults around windows and with fire systems.

The architecturally designed Altera Apartments was a joint venture between leading New Zealand development businesses Fletcher Residential and Todd Property.

It was built by Fletcher Construction.

The grey stone blocks were designed by Warren and Mahoney, who won a New Zealand Institute of Architects award for the project in 2016 under the multi-unit housing category.

But defects meant those involved in developing and building it have returned to the site to fix the units, which they say is at no cost to owners.

Altera was developed by Altera Apartments Limited Partnership, a joint venture between Todd Property Group and Fletcher Residential in 2015.

The partnership acknowledged issues at the block at 1 Bluegrey Ave off College Rd in the St Johns area and said it and Fletcher Construction have been working closely with the body corporate committee, owners and tenants on repairs.

“The remediation works predominantly involve the passive fire systems as well as repair work to aluminium window units in some apartments. Where required, building consents are being obtained through Auckland Council.”

Auckland Council granted code compliance.

“The project is being completed at no cost to owners and residents are being provided with temporary accommodation in the complex while works are undertaken.”

The issues were identified by a building consultancy in 2018.

Remediation costs were significantly less than the cost of the build, despite the fact that temporary relocation costs for occupiers are included, the partnership said.

A new Prime documentary screening on Wednesday at 7.30pm about faulty multi-unit apartment blocks features Altera.

A Living Hell: Apartment Disasters also investigates issues with St Lukes Garden apartments, a 15-building 285-unit project built between 2003 and 2011 in the Mt Albert/Sandringham area and now needing an estimated $100m in repairs, and and Wellington’s Sirocco Apartments on Church St.

John Gray and Roger Levie of the Home Owners and Buyers Association of New Zealand (Hobanz) say they made the documentary to highlight how defective apartment blocks were still being built today and not just with weathertightness issues but also with structural, fire and seismic problems.

Gray tells how consents from Auckland Council show repairs were granted to Altera,”an essentially brand new building, built by Fletchers”.

One person interviewed claimed the apartments cost $9m to build but are costing $15m to fix but the partnership stressed the repairs were less than the original cost.

When Altera won an NZIA award, the jury said that sometimes in apartment design. the individual scale of occupancy could be “swallowed in the labyrinth of project delivery”.

“Generous in space, orientation and outlook, these apartments maximise the presence of all occupants,” the jury said of Altera.

“With circulation rationalised around multiple circulation cores, the dual-aspect apartments provide a high level of amenity, natural light and effective natural ventilation for living spaces and bedrooms. The lively combination of materials and finishes lifts the grey and glass default suit of the body corporate,” it said.

Blair Johnston of Warren and Mahoney referred the Herald to Fletcher Construction’s chief executive Peter Reidy but Fletcher Building referred the Herald to the joint venture for comment.

Some units in Altera are listed as being worth $1m and more, according to valuation sources.

A Living Hell: Apartment Disasters, 7.30pm, Wednesday April 14, Prime

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