Homeowners fail to prove James Hardie cladding caused leaks and rot

Source: 1News

A group of homeowners have failed to prove that James Hardie's Harditex cladding caused their homes to leak and rot.

They claim they were sold defective cladding from building giant James Hardie.

144 homeowners were suing the building giant at the High Court in Wellington claiming Harditex was defective, insufficiently tested prior to being released to the market, and did not meet durability standards.

But Justice Simon France has ruled the homeowners claim has failed.

"On the evidence in this case it has not been shown that Harditex was a flawed product unable to deliver a watertight house," he said in the judgement.

"Analysis of the plaintiffs’ houses, including six houses from the wider claim group, has revealed a disturbing pattern of incompetent building and poor texture coating that is more likely, in my view, to be the cause of the damage suffered by these properties."

Katrina Fowler, homeowner, and chair of the plaintiffs’ management committee said the owners were very disappointed and surprised the court found against them.

“We have fought hard over the past six years and we still believe that our claim has merit,” she said.

“We will now be analysing the judgment with our advisors and exploring our options."

Meanwhile James Hardie's John Ameil said the company was "happy" with the court's decision.

"The allegations lacked merit and we behaved as a responsible manufacturer," he said.

"We remain very sympathetic to homeowners negatively impacted by weathertightness issues."

It comes only nine days after another group of homeowners, who were suing the company in the High Court in Auckland, settled with James Hardie and their London-based litigation funder, Harbour Litigation Funding.

Homeowners got no compensation in the settlement and the case was abandoned part-way through the 17-week trial.

1 NEWS understands that came after Harbour Litigation Funding indicated it would no longer fund the case.