What is the product?
Ductile steel reinforcing mesh, sometimes referred to as welded wire fabric, is typically used as reinforcement in concrete floor slabs. During the build process a reinforcing inspection takes place prior to the concrete
What has changed?
Following the 2 significant Christchurch earthquakes the standard for Steel Reinforcing Mesh was increased. Changes were made to the Acceptable Solution requiring the use of high ductility (Grade E) reinforcing steel in floor slabs in accordance with the Standard.
Concerns about the 500E product
On 19 August 2016 the Government announced proposed changes to the Building code to strengthen 500E mesh testing requirements in response to quality issues, "The issue that has caused concern is ductility, or the capacity of mesh to retain its strength when stretched." There has been wide spread media coverage of issues relating to the Steel Mesh product including the admission by Steel & Tube in March 2016 that there were certification issues. The Commerce Commission has investigated 5 steel manufacturers.
On 5 December 2016 the Commerce Commission announced their intention to issue criminal proceedings against 3 of the manufacturers, demonstrating the seriousness of the issue. It indicates the scale of the problem in New Zealand, which as recent events have shown, is very subject to seismic activity.The Commission is likely to seek that fines be ordered against these companies. The Class Action is seeking compensation for affected property owners.
UPDATE On 26 April 2018 the first sentence was handed down in Commission's investigation into steel mesh followed by a second sentence on 17 August 2018.
BASIS FOR THE STEEL CLASS ACTION
Adina Thorn Lawyers, with the assistance of Harbour Litigation Funding, is proposing to launch class action litigation against the manufacturers of 500E Steel Mesh on behalf of owners who register to participate.
There are no upfront costs, with Harbour covering the legal costs of the class actions. If the claims are successful, Harbour will be entitled to a percentage of the damages which are awarded.