'Deeply flawed' wall panel system expands internationally

A deeply flawed all panel system sold by an Auckland based Cook Islands company has expanded overseas.

In the second of a three-part series, 1 NEWS investigates the impact of the Global Fibre8 scandal on those in Australia and the Cook Islands. Source: 1 NEWS

The K3T wall panels, made in China and sold by Global Fibre8, have resulted in two houses in Northland being demolished after they contracted and expanded causing cracks and leaked chlorides corroding lead and poisoning the concrete.

The panels are also being sold overseas with devastating results.

In Melbourne a number of builds are affected – Ron Klik had two houses built – one has already been demolished and the other is about to be pulled down.

Mr Klik says he’s lost more than three hundred thousand dollars to a  “rubbish” product which  doesn’t work  when it’s wet as it gets weak and breaks easy.

“If you’ve got ten walls you will get four that are ok but then after a couple of months of sitting outside in the weather they will just crack.” He said.

Engineer Mike Slape also used the product on his four million dollar home mostly in his basement.

He says the product he was originally shown was not the same as what was delivered to him – and he received less than half his order.

He says the panels have sucked up the water from the atmosphere and dampness has seeped through despite having a waterproof render on it.  The walls are extensively cracked, parts of the panel have fallen off and buckled.

Mr Slape says he’s made a complaint with the police but its proving difficult to pursue as the company is based in Auckland.

He’s started a facebook page called “Ripped off by Global Fibre8” and received queries from investors who say they have been approached by the company to put in over a million dollars.

Global Fibre8 chief executive Tangi Tuake blames any problems on the installation of the panel, not the product itself.

In the Cook Islands some building have started to be built but not for Nara Pera who paid more than twenty thousand dollars up front a year ago and is still waiting for the panels to arrive

“I keep emailing him email after email he never responds,” she said.

Mr Tuake claims he is in the process of setting up an installation factory in Rarotonga and Mrs Pera will get her panels when it’s built.

He says homes are also being built in Australia, South Africa, Samoa, Papua New Guinea with interest being expressed from Dubai, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

Tomorrow 1 News will be looking at how the panels, which don’t meet the New Zealand building code, have been allowed to be used here and signed off by councils without proper certification.