Aerial simulation of Yashili’s Pokeno plant
By Stephen Cook
THE WALLS are closing in on two giants of the New Zealand construction industry as more details emerge about how they turned a blind eye to concerns over potential structural issues with building projects running into the tens of millions of dollars.
The focus of the so-called concrete cancer controversy has now shifted to why two of this countryâs construction industry heavyweights chose to do nothing when confronted with the news that suspect cement may have been used in at least two of their recent projects.
Up until now Watts & Hughes Construction and Ebert Construction have kept a safeÂ Â distance from the whole Drymix controversy, but last week both were forced to front foot the issue after claims suspect imported cement may have been used in two of their recent large-scale projects.
At first Watts & Hughes company director Rob Murphy said heâd never even heard of Drymix but then shortly afterwards acknowledged he was aware of issues surrounding high alkali levels in cement the company had imported earlier this year from Vietnam.
Murphy confirmed that Concretec had supplied his company with all the precast panels for the new $40 million Manukau Courthouse upgrade, but claimed thereâd been no use of imported cement.
Concretecâs cement comes from Drymix.
âI am there weekly. I am with the consultants, the owners, the ministry, the whole shooting box and itâs news to me,â he said.
âThereâs no issue. We are happy with the information we have received from our consultants,â he said before abruptly hanging up.
Ron McDonald of Ebert Construction, who built Yashiliâs $250 million plant at Pokeno, also tried playing down the controversy.
He confirmed his company had subcontracted Concretec for the Fonterra job, but said where that company sourced its cement from was its business and not something he personally concerned himself with. Â Â Read more »