Search This Blog

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

On being Green - technical categories and your property.

This week CERA sent Green-Blue TC3 properties a booklet called Technical categories and your property. The booklet can be downloaded as a PDF from here.

Over 12 pages the booklet endeavours to take away the mystery of what the categories mean, especially the Green-Blue TC3 category. This is done under the following headings:
  • Technical categories explained
  • Claim process flow chart
  • Technical categories and EQC
  • Next steps for your insurance claim
  • Infrastructure and consenting
Does it work to demystify the land categories? For me - not much. The reasons are:

Some of the wording used is more likely to cause confusion than reduce it.
  • On page 2 the introduction contains the following "Land in the green zone is generally considered suitable for residential construction ..." What does "generally" mean? Can it be inferred that some Green zoned sections will at some stage be deemed unsuitable for rebuilding? If so, a reference to where the explanatory information can be found is essential. 
  • On page 6, second paragraph, there is the following: "EQC covers damage to a residential building up to the EQC building claim cap (which is generally $100,000 plus GST per event)." It is repeated again in the EQC section on page 6.  What options does the word "generally" offer?
Relatively new decisions on who will do what are not explained. 
  • On page 4 the seventh step of the flowchart introduces the concept that EQC will undertake rebuilds of houses "Under cap". When was that decided, and where can more information about it be found? The explanatory note to that part of the flowchart (page 5) raises the concept of managing your own rebuild. Where is the information about values, options, processes, cash payments, accredited builders etc?  
Some of the important ideas and procedures aren't fully explained.
  • On page 7 the last bullet point includes the following: "If EQC determines remediation of your land is uneconomic, it will cash settle for the amount of EQC’s maximum liability. The owner retains ownership of the land ..." What options are there for broken land? Has EQC created a tiny Red Zone? What are the obligations and consequences for the land owner?
  • Throughout the document there are comments along the line "This means site-specific deep geotechnical investigation and specific engineering foundation design must be carried out." (from page 3). What are these activities, what do they do, who does them, how? A reference to where more information can be found is important to understanding what is involved. It shouldn't be hard to provide this because the next sentence says: " Site-specific engineering foundation design is commonplace in many parts of New Zealand."
The booklet is a valiant attempt to help understand what the technical categories mean, and how land owners will be affected. It fails through trying too hard to cover a lot of territory with too little information. Perhaps the use of both a suitable technical writer and editor might help.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.