Construction firm Urban Pioneer has faced calls to apologise after it stood up to New Zealander Urban Pioneer in a legal battle over a $300,000 contract.
Key points:Urban Pioneer was contracted to build new homes on a 1.3-acre site in the heart of Christchurch’s historic suburbThe firm says it “had no choice” but to use contractors it did not work withThe firm, which is based in Auckland, won a court case in 2013 over a contract awarded to its parent company, Auckland Development Group.
The New Zealand Government had initially rejected Urban Pioneer’s bid to build a new home on the site, but in June 2017, it granted Urban Pioneer the green light to build the $300k house on the existing site.
“We were a bit stunned that we had been awarded the contract, because we were very disappointed that we were not part of that process,” Urban Pioneer managing director David Winton said.
“It was really a surprise to us, because in the past, we had always been a contractor of record with the Department of Conservation.”
In a statement, Urban Pioneer said it had made a number of improvements to the contract and would now “review the contract with the Government”.
The company says the contract had been extended for a further two years and is in compliance with New Zealand Building Code requirements.
However, the High Court ruled that Urban Pioneer had not been given a contract with a valid design, meaning it had breached the Land Act and had no other choice but to resort to the courts.
“Urban Pioneer has had no choice but not to use the contract to build this project, as it is now in contravention of New Zealand Construction Code and the relevant Act,” Urban Projecs director Peter Smith said.
The company said it would now undertake a “forensic audit” of the contract.
Urban Pioneer is a construction company based in New Zealand, but has been contracted to undertake urban pioneer construction on a site in Auckland.
It says it had no option but to employ contractors it had not worked with.
“The contract was originally awarded to Urban Pioneer for the purpose of developing a 2.5-acre project on a large site in Christchurch.
It was a decision the company had no control over, as Urban Pioneer was unable to provide an approved design,” UrbanProjec’s statement said.
Mr Smith said the company would “re-evaluate our business relationship with Urban Pioneer to determine if there are any options available to the company”.
Urban Pioneer said in a statement that it was “appalled” by the court ruling, but said it “will continue to work with the New Zealand government”.
The firm said it was working to recover the money it was owed, and that it hoped to “restructure” its contract in the near future.
“As we have always maintained our contract with Urban ProJec is for the development of an urban pioneer project, and we have complied with all the requirements in New Land Act,” the statement said, adding that the firm would “continue to work towards recovery of the money”.
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