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Three men facing almost 30 charges in Tauranga as trial begins over botched Bella Vista subdivision

Two years after 21 properties were evacuated from a botched Bay of Plenty subdivision, lawyers acting for Tauranga City Council have opened their case.

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A damning report into the Bella Vista residences has called for an inquiry. Source: 1 NEWS

Three men, two companies – one now liquidated - face nearly 30 charges under section 40 of the Building Act 2004.

In March 2018, homeowners were evicted following concerns an approaching storm could cause extensive damage.

The Engineer Limited director Bruce Cameron, Bella Vista Homes director Danny Cancian and bricklayer Darrel Joseph are facing charges mainly relating to block foundations and retaining walls.

The council’s lawyer, Richard Marchant, says Cancian oversaw and signed off work which the council claims varied from what was consented.

He says Cancian was the “self-proclaimed” supervising licensed building practitioner and was responsible for all of the carpentry work completed.

Mr Marchant says he had “his fingerprints all over this development, he was the brain behind this development”.

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He says he was clearly in charge and therefore liable for the non-compliance that occurred. A number of charges relate to the positioning of reinforced rods vital for strengthening block and retaining walls.

On another property, council claims there was no horizontal reinforcing present in walls and vertical bars were spaced at 850mm instead of 400mm.

Mr Marchant presented a piece of timber taken from a property as evidence.

He pointed to rusting nails no larger than drawing needles to join pieces of timber together.

The council also claims building materials weren’t primed, and mild steel pins were used instead of hot-dipped galvanised nails. In his opening address, Mr Marchant told the court witnesses will describe meetings between Cancian and council staff where the developer was abusive and aggressive.

On one occasion, council staff became so concerned Cancian was about to assault them that someone had to step between them, he said.

Earlier in the day, Judge Paul Mabey warned the developer to watch his facials.

“It won’t impress me - I’m not a juror,” he said.

The judge-alone trial is expected to last three weeks.