Auckland Council may seek to recoup cladding costs

The ASB Tower (Getty)
The ASB Tower (Getty)

Auckland Council has made a decision on how to fix up its CBD headquarters, but the costs involved will stay confidential, for now.

A leaked report suggested the council would need to fork out $27 million more than first thought to deal with cladding issues.

Council staff have held meetings today and will replace granite cladding with a composite material over the next 18 months.

The total cost won't be revealed until the tender process is complete.

Auckland Council decided to buy the ASB Tower because of its cost, size, location and floor area.

The structure of the building is sound. Auckland Council undertook a structural review before purchasing it in 2012, but decided against a full-invasive review of the building because of the associated cost.

It put aside $4.2 million aside for cladding issues, but since moving in more serious issues with the granite cladding have come to light.

It has looked at a number of options. One could see all of the granite cladding removed and replaced with a lightweight composite, apart from the first two or three floors, which would see the fittings changed and granite put back on. The council wouldn't discuss the cost of that at this stage.

In February 2016, scaffold was hung around floors 28 and 29 to contain anything that might fall off. At the bottom, a concrete and steel reinforced platform is in place to catch anything that may fall off. To date, no cladding has fallen.

Jo Holmes from right-wing lobby group the Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance says the council has "developed a culture of waste".

"Anybody who's gone into property, brought a property, knows that when they're given a quote from somebody to fix a problem, it's never going to cost that. It's always going to cost more."

The building is currently surrounded by safety fencing, despite a "low likelihood" of debris coming loose.

"We are firmly of the opinion that any risk whatsoever triggers an essential health and safety response from us, with appropriate actions being taken," Mr Ramsay said previously.

Auckland Council's previous city headquarters on Greys Ave has been progressively vacated in recent years. The council spends about $50,000 monitoring asbestos levels.

The ASB Tower cost $128 million to purchase and fit out. Its current value, according to Auckland Council's rates assessment, is $133.5 million.