Combustible Cladding Class Action Proposed

19 March 2020

An information session hosted by Russell McVeagh was held recently to share details of a class action they are preparing in conjunction with IMF-Bentham in Australia. The BCCG was invited to the meeting.

At the meeting Russell McVeagh requested support to connect with our members whose buildings may contain potentially combustible cladding. It is estimated that up to 150 buildings in Auckland may have suspect cladding under the NZ Building Code. Russell McVeagh provided copies of the following lists, prepared by Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch City Councils, of buildings with various types of Aluminium Composite Panel (ACP) cladding which may be combustible. Select the relevant city to view the list:

Auckland - Wellington - Christchurch

These lists are publicly available through the respective Council websites. There don't seem to be records available for other parts of New Zealand.

We are posting this information to notify member BCs of the proposed class action and so they can check whether their building is recorded on one of the lists. Please note however, that not all buildings on these lists will contain combustible ACP cladding and will able to participate in Russell McVeagh's proposed class action. If your building is listed you may wish to have the cladding inspected before considering participation in the proposed class action. BC managers may also wish to review the lists to check whether any of the buildings listed belong to clients, and advise them accordingly.

If your building is identified on one of these lists and you'd like further information on the class action, please contact either of the following at Russell McVeagh:

Polly Pope <polly.pope@russellmcveagh.com>; or
Gordon Lamb <gordon.lamb@russellmcveagh.com>

From the information session we noted that:

  • Some BC owners may not be aware they own in an affected building.
  • The NZ Insurance Council has noted that Insurers are likely to view buildings with combustible ACP cladding as higher risk, which may have implications for both premiums and the ability to source future cover.
  • Auckland Council in particular is looking at documenting on the Property File where this cladding is in place. The BCCG notes that this action may have the effect of devaluing affected apartment complexes for future sales.
  • The class action is on a "no win no fee" basis so BC's will not have to levy to fund it. If the claim is successful, legal fees, etc. and a percentage of the settlement funds will go the lawyers and funders of the litigation (amounts are confidential to those who sign up).





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