There is currently a legal battle going on between the condominium association at Moana Pacific and the developer of the project, KC Rainbow Development. The association is arguing that the PEX waterline system of the 5-year-old building needs to be completely replaced with copper pipes, at the cost of $8,000 to $28,000 per unit or $8.2 million in total. The PEX system uses plastic tubes for waterlines and plumbing in a building, and may use brass connectors that could potentially corrode. This could lead to leaks or breaks in a waterline.
Developer KC Rainbow Development has stated this replacement is not necessary. The developer contends that the board of the condominium association has misled the owners and that they have made a rash decision with regards to their desire to have a special assessment to replace the PEX system. The condominium association board, in a letter to the owners, wrote, “If the defective PEX systems are not replaced, these brass fittings will continue to deteriorate and these systems will catastrophically fail over time. Such failures will result in massive water damage each and every time a PEX fitting fails.”
The board of directors have stated that they are pursing a legal settlement with PEX system’s manufacturer, Uponor Inc. However, the board also stated that they can not wait for a potential legal settlement to replace the current PEX system with copper pipes. They are urging the owners to change the system immediately, and if the owners choose not to change the system voluntarily, they would impose a special assessment for the good of the building.
There have been two other Honolulu condominiums, Hokua and Ko’olani, which have already replaced their PEX systems because of leaks in their waterlines. However, KC Rainbow Development notes that the PEX system used at Moana Pacific is different in design and their particular design has not failed in any other project around the world. It was also noted that the systems used at Hokua and Ko’olani were made by Watts, while the system used at Moana Pacific was made by Uponor Inc. Uponor Inc. has had a 30-year track record using PEX systems without a catastropihic failure anywhere in any of their buildings. Uponor Inc. is based out of Finland and has a 25-year warranty on Moana Pacific’s PEX system and will repair any damaged caused by leaks.