10 Mar 2018

Tauranga houses evacuated over building safety

6:48 am on 10 March 2018

Thirteen Tauranga families are uncertain about the future of their homes, which had to be evacuated because of fears they might collapse.

The houses are part of an unfinished development by the failed company Bella Vista Homes.

Tauranga City Council chief executive Garry Poole said an inspection showed some might not withstand the bad weather if Cyclone Hola hit early next week.

He said the council would pay for other accommodation while it worked on solutions.

"We've taken steps to protect the homeowners and protect their property before the cyclone. Our over-arching goal is to work with the homeowners to remidy this very, very difficult situation for them."

Tauranga City Council said it had had to act urgently because it had advice from a geotechnical specialist that the properties were not safe.

Three of the houses have structural problems that may not withstand strong winds, Mr Poole said.

Others were at risk from an unretained slope.

There were homes built on top of the slope that would slide down if it collapsed, and others at the bottom that could be inundated with soil, he said.

He said contractors were working urgently to shore up the hillside and it was hoped the work would be finished by Monday.

Bella Vista Homes went into liquidation in November, leaving the development unfinished.