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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Canterbury red zone residents - a guide to financial decisions

From CanCERN's latest newsletter:
The Sorted website CLICK HERE  has a special page for red zone residents, which has a range of tools and information, to help guide you through your financial decisions.   This includes a financial decision guide booklet and an action plan checklist to help get you started with what to think about, and do, and who to talk to.
The website has a wide range links for information on the different aspects of the money side of things. The booklet, which can be downloaded from the link above, covers:
Part one – Deciding on the Government’s offer
  • Which option is best for you?
  • What settlement date suits you?
Part two – Deciding what to do with your settlement payment
  • What to do with the deposit payment?
  • What to do with the final settlement payment you receive?
Part three – Getting advice
  • Who should you talk to?
  • Getting financial advice.
  • Sorted tools and more information

Bexley & East Side Red Zoners Rally

Bexley & East Side Red Zoners Rally
Sunday 9th October, 2pm at the Wairoa Reserve
Corner of Wairoa and Morganwood Streets

Bexley people are now having a rally to highlight Red Zone issues

The issues continue to be experienced in the following areas:
  1. Insurance Companies are not always honouring full replacement policies and are not been open and fair in line with their own Code of Ethics in the Fair Insurance Code
  2. Rateable Value is not an accurate valuation for at least 2000 red zone home owners and we want John Key and the govt to provide a review process as stated in the June Cabinet documents
  3. There is still not affordable land available to people. Bexley people have RV on land between $68-110000. These Mums and Dads cannot go and buy another section when similar sized section prices start at $240,000
  4. There needs to be more openness/transparency about why someone is zoned red, what is happening to the red zone after we go, how many sections are available on the market now
  5. We are wanting the Government to listen to these ordinary kiwis. Please do not shutdown on the lives of people who are finding it impossible to move on!!
Please support and highlight the desperate need of so many people.

Rally organisers: Rev Mike Coleman, Evan Smith, Brent Cairns

Red Zone land options - some legal aspects

Addington Action have a great article, Red Zoners and being treated fairly, on the differences between "compulsory" acquisition under CERA's legislation and the alternatives under the Public Works Act. This is an important issue as the Minister has suggested that those who refuse all of the Red Zone options may find themselves moved on under the Public Works Act.

You can read it here. As always, consult a lawyer before deciding anything.

Earthquake Royal Commission - Review of the report 'The Performance of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings in the 2010/2011 Canterbury Earthquake Swarm'

From the Royal Commission's website:
The Commission has received the following advice from Fred Turner, structural engineer, from Sacramento, California in the USA. The paper reviews the technical report 'The Performance of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings in the 2010/2011 Canterbury Earthquake Swarm' by Associate Professor Jason Ingham from Auckland University and Professor Michael Griffith from Adelaide University.
The review contains eight pages of comments and recommendations, which can be downloaded here.

Information on the initial report to the Earthquake Royal Commission - The Performance of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings in the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Swarm, can be found here.

The following is a short, and not necessarily representative, sample of the comments made by Fred Turner.

Page 2. Limitations of Retrofits:
The recommendations should acknowledge, as evidenced from past retrofit performance, that it is neither practical nor feasible to state conclusively that the public can be effectively protected from “all” falling hazards and that “strengthened URM buildings will survive severe earthquake ground motions.”
 The reason for proposing these clarifications is that the public should be made aware of the practical limitations of seismic retrofits, considering the margins of safety from collapse and parts of buildings falling, particularly in light of the large known variability and uncertainty of ground motions, as well as variations and uncertainty in the quality of building materials, the states of repair, and the integrity of connections between building components.
Retrofits that represent best practices may not always guarantee that all masonry units will remain in place, nor that URM buildings will always avoid costprohibitive repairs or demolitions after experiencing severe ground motions.
Page 3. Two additional recommendations warrant consideration:
(Recommendation 1)
Adequate staffing and retrofit training within building regulation enforcement agencies should be implemented to ensure that: 1) retrofit designs are thoroughly checked for compliance with regulations before construction permits are issued; 2) retrofit construction is thoroughly inspected to ensure strict compliance with approved plans and; 3) damaged buildings are effectively assessed, placarded, barricaded and stabilized after future earthquakes.
Page 4. Comments on Section 1 Introduction and Background
Section 1.3.1 should include a discussion of New Zealand’s policies and practices for bracing URM parapets. Estimates of the rate of compliance with parapet policies and judgments about their effectiveness should be included.
Section 1.4 should include a brief summary of ground motions in Lincoln and Lyttleton for the September and February earthquakes. In Lincoln, ground motions were substantially higher than in the Christchurch CBD in the Darfield earthquake. And Lincoln provided several examples of the performance of retrofitted and unretrofitted URM buildings in more severe, longer-duration ground motions than in the CBD. In Lyttleton, ground motions and soil conditions are considerably different than Christchurch CBD. While this is somewhat beyond the scope of work, including comparative discussions about Lincoln and Lyttleton will emphasize that the public should grasp that performance will vary considerably based on locations, soil and rock conditions, differences in ground motions, as well as building earthquake resistance.
Page 5. Comments on Section 2.5 Seismic Vulnerability of the New Zealand URM Building Stock
Consider adding a paragraph discussing the fact that performance of URM buildings in one earthquake is not necessarily indicative of future performance in other earthquakes.
... So owners of undamaged or slightly damaged URM buildings may misconstrue their sense of security since similar performance in future earthquakes is not necessarily assured by past performance. Even slightly damaged URM buildings are considerably more vulnerable in future earthquakes and aftershocks since their strength and stiffness tend to degrade with each additional cycle of significant motion. Therefore, owners of slightly damaged or undamaged URM buildings will likely still need to evaluate, repair and retrofit their buildings to ensure reliable performance in future earthquakes.
Page 6. Comments on Section 3 Observed Performance
Describe approximately how many URM buildings were retrofitted or partially retrofitted prior to September 2010 and how their range of performance compared with the range of performance of unretrofitted URM buildings nearby.
Page 7. Concluding comments
In closing, I find that Professors Jason Ingham and Michael Griffith have produced a remarkably good report. They are making excellent progress toward meeting the Royal Commission’s scope of work.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Property Issues Among The Rubble

Christchurch legal firm Duncan Cotterill have produced a booklet Property Issues Among The Rubble.
As described inside the front cover the booklet is designed as a guide only, however it is a very good place to start in getting to grips with the issues. The section headings are:
  • Summary of the zones
  • CERA sale options
  • Working your way towards getting the best possible result
  • Issues to consider before accepting an offer from CERA
  • What can I take from my house when I sell?
  • Buying another property
  • When earthquake damage lets you out of a property agreement
  • What happens to a property purchase if the house has been damaged by the earthquake but is not untenantable?
  • EQC claims and property deals
  • Buying a property post-earthquake
  • Buying a section post-earthquake
  • What are your legal rights if you are renting a damaged property as a result of the earthquakes?
  • Red Zone Residents - Buying property - Checklist
It is available as a download from here. You can also request a printed copy (details on the same web page).

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Additional Kaiapoi sections

Gerry Brownlee is to use his emergency powers to permit subdivisions in two areas of Kaiapoi previously off-limits to residential use. The result will be the development of approximately 1,000 sections. Details of size, price, and date of availability were not mentioned.

These two areas are in the flight path of aircraft taking off and landing at the airport, and so exposed to high levels of aircraft noise. The current frequency of flights from early morning until late at night creates a significant amount of noise pollution. With the hoped-for increase in tourism not too far away the amount of noise generated can be expected to rise for the foreseeable future. Perhaps not the place for anyone wanting a quiet life.

The Minister's media statement is here.

TV documentary - Battle at the Basilica

A documentary, called Battle at the Basilica, has been filmed around the post-earthquake work on the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Barbadoes Street. 

The documentary will be shown on TV One on Sunday the 16th of October at 11.30am.  It is to be shown again on TVNZ 7 on Tuesday the 18th of October at 6pm, and repeated on Wednesday the 19th of October at 12 noon.

More information is available on the Cathedral's website here. The latest Cathedral update is here.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Cape Argus article on the Red Zone

Courtesy of Mike Coleman here is a link to an article recently published in a South African newspaper, the Cape Argus, on some aspects of life in the Residential Red Zone. The article is entitled: Quakes expose fissures in society (here)

From Mike's e-mail:
"Here is Peter Bills article on the Red Zone.
He is a European correspondent who talked to a variety of people including myself about the implications of the Govt moving 6000 people off their land.
It is a very well written article and while he has a few facts not quite right he has captured the heart of how people are feeling.
It is sad... the paper he wrote this for would not publish it as it was too hard for their readers to hear!!"
It doesn't make for happy reading yet is the reality for some, a reality that doesn't seem to enter the consciousness of the many who are not directly affected. In some instances a reality that is best hidden from the outside world for fear that past ineptitude or worse may be uncovered?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Cardboard Cathedral

The October Cathedral Rebuild newsletter has the following tantalising piece of information:
International architect Shigeru Ban has just completed his fourth visit to Christchurch. We are continuing toward the completion of a feasibility study which will, we hope, see the building of a magnificent structure in the central city. Plans for a 'transitional cathedral' are well advanced and we hope to update you again once the report is completed. The project will need to be signed off by church authorities and a suitable site found. We are hopeful that our vision will be realised early in 2012! Check SHIGERU BAN ARCHITECTS website (here) for information on this exciting project.
There is more information, and the project proposal document, on the Cathedral website here.

Indonesia - painting the town green with vegetables

Indonesia is experiencing a growing urban farming movement where young Indonesians convert vacant land in Jakarta, and other cities, into plots for growing vegetables. The produce is consumed by the growers and sometimes serves as a cash crop. This might be a useful initiative to consider for both the city and parts of the Residential Red zones.

Information on the movement, called Gardening Indonesia, can be found on the website here.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Department of Building and Housing - Practice Advisory on Egress Stairs

Probably of most immediate (urgent?) interest to those in Wellington, where there are probably many stairs that have not been tested, one way or another.

From the DBH's website:
This Practice Advisory is to:
  • alert practising structural engineers assessing existing multi-storey buildings throughout New Zealand to issues relating to safety of stairs
It applies to all existing multi-storey buildings throughout New Zealand:
  • to which members of the public have access, including office buildings, particularly those with scissor stair configuration, and
  • have stairs designed to slide under seismic action, particularly those with the gap-and-ledge stair detail.
Key concerns
  • If the relative lateral displacements between adjacent floors of a building (the “inter-storey drifts”) are sufficiently large, a stair may be pulled off the ledge that supports the sliding end of the stair.
  • The seating dimensions allowed in existing designs may not be sufficient to account for movements now expected.
  • The maximum inter-storey drift in estimates of building displacement may not adequately account for variability and uncertainty.
  • Details that have limited scope to allow closing movement may cause damage to the stair flights. This damage may shorten the flights and make them more likely to fall off their supports.
  • Seismic gap details that have been partially or fully filled or are susceptible to being filled because of construction or maintenance errors may restrict or prevent closing movement
  • Heavy finishes, fixtures and fittings in stairwells may come loose during an earthquake and fall and block the stairway or injure people using it.
The Advisory can be found here.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Appropriate repairs for lath and plaster walls and ceilings

Winstone Wallboards Ltd (GIB board), have published guidelines called REPAIRING LATH AND PLASTER WALLS & CEILINGS for use in situations where damage has occurred as the result of earthquakes or severe winds.

Published in January 2011 as a supplement to their site guide, it might be a useful thing to have read before talking with Fletchers, Arrow etc on how your place is to be repaired. You can download a copy in PDF format from here.

GIB have other useful publications relating to the treatment of earthquake damage here.