Showing posts from July 31, 2011

Its tough in China

Some of us in or next to the hill suburbs, and in the Residential Red Zone, will not be glad to be leaving our properties. A few will decide to ignore the requirement to move, and wait it out. The time will come when there is an ultimatum: move immediately or be forcibly removed.

In China such situations are commonplace, and carried out with a lot less due process. The following article is from the Channel Newsasia website (here):
BEIJING: Demolition is said to be the leading cause of social conflicts and public discontent in China last year.A Beijing-based social research centre said problems related to compensation and evictions are the most common.49-year-old Lu Peixin, a long-time resident of Gejia village in the outskirts of Beijing, came home one day to find her house demolished.Even though negotiations with the property developer on compensation had dragged on for years, she had not expected the sudden demolition of her home.Lu said: "I'm the resident. This is…

Insurance and Savings Ombudsman and Disputes

The New Zealand Herald Stuff had an item in today's edition on insurance disputes and the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman (ISO). Written by Janine Starks, it briefly covers the role of the ISO and the way it can operate. Chances are we will soon see insurance companies modifying their own procedures to get early resolution of disputes, but recourse to the ISO is always a possibility.

The article is here.

Rebuilds - smaller houses

We, like many others, are likely to be a rebuild. While waiting for formal confirmation there has been time to check out what is available. The first thing we noticed, other than the unrealistically high prices of land, was the assumption by major building companies that everyone wants a big house. This of course is not true, and also undesirable from a environmental point of view.

A few companies have had a range of smaller houses on their books and there are indications that some of the other companies are starting to cater for those who need a smaller house. As we find out about houses smaller than 150sq m, and visit their show homes, it will be blogged. In addition, information about the companies will also be put on a separate page (see the heading Smaller Houses under INFORMATION PAGES on the right).

Click on the company name to go to their website.

Lockwood Homes / Initial Homes
Timber interiors and exteriors. There is a show home at Hornby, opposite McDonalds, however …

Geotechnical reports: transparency and accountability

Many in the Residential Red Zone will have a general understanding why their land has been put in that category, others won't be sure. Some living on the margins inside the Green Zones will not be confident about the decision to place them there. Quite a few in-betweeners may find their eventual classification a bit of a mystery. The only way to encourage understanding and confidence is to make publicly available the same detailed geotechnical information that was provided to the government.

To have made decisions down to the individual section level implies that there is significant detailed and overall information available. The Landcheck website (here) says, as it has from the time of the announcements in June:
Since the first earthquake struck in September last year, extensive geotechnical work has been undertaken to assess the state of the affected land. While this work is ongoing, information on the state of land, including how badly damaged land is and whether l…

Cardboard Cathedral

Speaking personally, I like the idea of a cardboard cathedral. The Press has a photograph of what it might look like here.

The designer, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, has a style that encompasses both beauty and simplicity. One of his specialities is the construction of buildings using paper; one of his philosophies is making beauty available to the masses. The Japanese have used paper for art and interior design for many centuries so the extension of its use to exterior structures is wonderfully evolutionary. The extent to which he has used paper in both permanent and temporary construction can be seen on his website (here).

Shigeru Ban's work and help to those caught in disasters has been written about in:
Australian Design Review (here)Open Architecture Network (here)The New York Times (here)Los Angeles Times (here)Time magazine (here,here)Interview Magazine (here)Not everyone is happy with the idea of spending $4m on a cardboard cathedral (surely more useful than a $…

Timing of Orange zone decisions

Roger Sutton released a media update today covering the Housing Expo and other things.

Amongst the information in the media update was the following:
"Currently the expected timeframes for orange zone resident announcements are: For the Waimakariri District – including Kaiapoi Northeast, Kaiapoi South (Courtenay Drive area), parts of Kaiapoi West, and Pines Beach - 3-4 weeksUpper Brooklands, Spencerville and Southshore - 4-6 weeksParts of Avonside, Burwood East, Hoon Hay, Parklands, Redwood, South New Brighton, Wainoni, Waltham - 2-3 monthsRest of Christchurch City and Kaiapoi Lakes - 3-5 monthsWe will write to residents again in the weeks ahead as timeframes for the announcements become more definite." The full text of Roger Sutton's update is here.

A quake-safe house

Currently 5,000+ Residential Red Zone home owners are starting to look for somewhere else to live. By the time the White and Orange zones are sorted there could be as many as 15,000 on the hunt for a replacement home. For each of them there is the question: what constitutes an earthquake safe house? This is a very important consideration because there will be more earthquakes, we just don't know where, when, or what size.

Safe can be looked at in two ways. The first is the most obvious - anyone inside the building during an earthquake will be protected from injury or death. The second is financial: is the house a safe investment? Will it experience major damage and require expensive repairs, or an even more expensive rebuild? Until now this has not been seen as important, however it is likely that insurance companies may set premiums for some properties on the basis of their perception of how well it will stand up to an earthquake. Insurance excesses are likely to incr…