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Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year

Happy new year, happy now ruz (NZ style).

Friday, December 31, 2010

Building and Repairs - Checklists and Guides

ConsumerBuild is a website developed jointly by the Department of Building and Housing and Consumer New Zealand  (with support from other organisations including BRANZ, Consumer Affairs and Standards New Zealand).

Amongst the material on their site is a page of checklists and guides for those embarking on journeys of repair, renovation, rebuilding and relocating. None of the material is specifically earthquake related but is still pertinent to what we will be encountering over the next two years. You can find that page here.

The home page of ConsumerBuild is here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Unsympathetic EQC staff dismissed

It was reported in the media yesterday (Press, NZ Herald, Otago Daily Times, and National Radio) that EQC has sacked a small number of its assessors because of their lack of a sympathetic approach to claimants. A sad way to end an extremely difficult job.

There are no details on the EQC site as yet.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

DBH Booklet - Guidance on house repairs and reconstruction

The best place to start when looking for information on how house repairs should be assessed and carried out is the Department of Building and Housing's booklet Guidance on house repairs and reconstruction following the Canterbury earthquake - A summary of geotechnical and structural engineering recommendations to guide house repairs and reconstruction.
There are eight main headings for the contents of the guide:
1. Introduction and Scope
2. Summary of Insurance and Regulatory Requirements
3. Future Expectations for Land and Buildings
4. Repair Criteria and Assessment Approaches
5. Repairing Houses
6. Rebuilding Houses
7. Recommended Arrangements for Engineering Input
8. Flood Risk and Floor Levels
plus some appendices.

If your house has suffered damage to its foundations then Chapter 4 is the one to read. It starts with a simple description of the types of settlement a house can experience, then provides a table of recommended criteria against which a particular house type can be assessed and the repair work that will be required (or maybe a rebuild instead!).

Chapter 5 describes the various repair methods and Appendices 3 and 4 outline repair methods.

The booklet can be down loaded from DBH here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Guidelines for Repairing Gib Plasterboard

Winstone Wallboards Ltd. have a bulletin Guidelines for Repairing Gib Plasterboard Linings in Wind or Earthquake Damaged properties. 

This is a 4 page bulletin which helps identify different types of damage and how the gib board should be repaired or if it should be replaced.

Make sure you are looking at their Technical Bulletin - Version 2, issued November 2010. It has been available at many hardware stores but was/is out of print.  A copy can be downloaded from here.

Renting - Becoming a Tenant

Most of those who have to move out of their homes while repairs or rebuilds take place are likely to find themselves in the unfamiliar position of tenant. Even if we have rented at some stage in our lives it may have been so long ago that the "rules" have changed to the point where we are absolute beginners.

Both the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) and the Tenants Protection Association (ChCh) Incorporated (TPA) are useful sources of information and have plenty of useful material on their sites have .

My suggestion would be to start with the DBH then progress to the TPA site.

The relevant DBH page is here and the TPA here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Boxing day earthquakes.

EQC have classified the December 26th swarm of earthquakes as a new earthquake.

A new claim will have to be made for any damage caused. As it is a new earthquake anyone affected by it has 3 months in which to lodge a claim.

The EQC  news release on this can be found here.

Insurance Companies Covered By Ombudsman Complaints Process

The Insurance & Savings Ombudsman ("ISO") scheme covers a large number of insurance companies. THE EQC IS NOT covered by this process (they are covered by the office of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen.)

As at the 26th of December 2010 there were a large number of insurance companies who were part of the scheme. The most recognisable names were:
  • AA Insurance (in association with AIG)
  • AMI Insurance
  • AMP Life
  • IAG (Insurance Australia Group)
  • NZI (part of IAG)
  • PSIS
  • SIS (part of AIG)
  • State Insurance (part of IAG)
  • Tower Insurance
  • Vero Insurance New Zealand
If your company is not listed above a full list of participating companies can be found on the ISO website here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Canterbury Earthquake Insurance Complaints

The New Zealand Herald has reported Karen Stevens, Insurance and Savings Ombudsman (ISO), as saying the office of the ISO "was responding to rising concerns over the handling of quake insurance claims, by offering advice to clarify people's entitlements."

The article was here on 26 December 2010.

The ISO scheme is funded by insurance companies as a means of redressing consumer complaints. The service is free, impartial, and based in Wellington.

Snell Place footbridge

The Snell Place footbridge is open again.