Showing posts from February 12, 2012

Apportionment - is EQC now your insurance company?

Most are familiar with the High Court declaratory judgement instructing EQC that the total cost of claims must be apportioned over the number of claims lodged. As it happens, the Court's decision has a serious unintended consequence for some claimants.

Where a house is a "rebuild" or requires major repairs, and no single claim breaches the cap, the claim cannot be passed to the private insurer. As a consequence EQC becomes responsible for the rebuild or repairs.

The following, which focuses on rebuilds, is specifically about those in the Red Zone but the underlying EQC as insurer issue also affects many in the Green zones.

Where a house is in a residential Red Zone the owners are given two choices: Option 1 or Option 2.
Option 1 is to take the rateable value for both the land and house. Option 2 involves taking the rateable value of the land and settling with your private insurance company for the building(s). Those whose house is written off are entitled, by …

Engineers on the Canterbury earthquakes and building earthquake-resilient cities

The Science Media Centre blog has a Q&A session with earthquake engineering specialists.

The topics covered are:
What is an earthquake-prone building?How do they vary in terms of factors causing their “prone-ness”?In the wake of the quakes and the current commission, can we expect to see the building code or enforcement changed?What possible areas of the code might be focused on in future review of the legislation?Why does it take so long to analyse a building? What does it involve?What are some of the ways a building which is earthquake prone can be brought up to a higher standard?To what extent will the strong ground motions recorded in the Christchurch earthquakes lead to changes in New Zealand’s building code?Has enough been learned in engineering terms to reduce the damage that liquefaction and lateral spreading does to foundations of structures?And if sea levels rise 2m over the current century, will the higher water table increase the risks of liquefaction in Christch…

Cathedral Update

Bishop Victoria Matthews has issued a statement on the state of affairs with the Cathedral. A PDF version of the statement along with photographs is here.
The significant damage to the Anglican Christchurch Cathedral was exacerbated further in the earthquakes of 23 December 2011 and has set back our decision-making about the future of the Cathedral. This update is part of our communication programme as we endeavour to keep communities informed.We also want to again be clear in stating that buildings, however dear to our heart and beautiful, are secondary to our concern for people. At this time we are especially aware of those who suffered injuries on 22 February 2011 and the families of those who died on that tragic day.We are also aware that the Church is the people and not the buildings. The proclamation of the Gospel and the ministry and mission of the Kingdom are carried out by people empowered by the Spirit of God. Nevertheless, church buildings do invite us to worship …

Earthquake Royal Commission - Department of Building & Housing submission on engineering competence

The Earthquake Royal Commission received a submission from the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) in January 2012 on the training of engineers and the organisation of the profession.

It has been made available in their technical library here.

The summary of recommendations in the report is:
The Department considers that appropriate masters level qualifications should generally required for engineers undertaking complex specialist structural or geotechnical work, in combination with appropriate experience.The Department supports IPENZ’s position that assessment of overseas engineering qualifications should be undertaken by the registration authority.The Department recommends that set programmes of supervised training and graduate assessment are implemented to ensure the engineer meets the expert level of competence for independent practice in the design of large complex building structures prior to registration as a CPEng. The Department will work with IPENZ to be assur…

Notes from the Red Zone meeting on the 13th of February

For those who couldn't make it to the Red Zone meeting last night the following is a summary from my notes and recollection.

There were 6 topics for the evening:
Zoning criteria (Mike Shatford)What has happened to the land (Mike Jacka from T&T)The Crown Offer (Michelle Mitchell) The Property Clearance process (Michelle Mitchell) Support Available (Michelle Mitchell) Questions (Michelle Mitchell).Zoning criteria - more or less the standard stuff, but not in line with what Cabinet agreed. No surprises for anyone. The main message was that land damage was the key factor

What happened to the land - brief, generalised, and not clear for some. The problem Tonkin & Taylor had to assess was the extent of large lateral spreading around the river and old river terraces (Patton Street). The outcome was to put the area into the Red Zone. It was not economic to repair the area as to do so would require large scale works to deal with flooding, crust depth and infrastructure proble…

Earthquakes and human cognitive performance

Science Daily, an on-line science news service, has a report on New Zealand research done into the impact of a natural disaster (September 4, 2010 earthquake) on the ability of individuals to assess and respond to situations.

Psychology department Associate Professor William Helton, and PhD student James Head, were investigating  human performance prior to the September earthquake, which fell between the first and second round of tests. This presented an opportunity to see to what extent the earthquake affected their performance.

Some selective quotes from the Science Daily report:
"In their upcoming Human Factors article, "Earthquakes on the Mind: Implications of Disasters for Human Performance," researchers William S. Helton and James Head from the University of Canterbury explore how cognitive performance can decline after earthquakes and other natural disasters."We were conducting a [different] study on human performance requiring two sessions,"…

0800 Hungry and Addington Action

0800 Hungry is the country's largest foodbank. It operates a food warehouse, and provides essential support to families and individuals who would otherwise go hungry. 0800 Hungry provides food parcels to Addington Action who distribute them in their area. Other organisations in Christchurch who distribute food parcels are also helped by 0800 Hungry.

To assist with the foodbank's mission, Addington Action have undertaken to provide 0800 Hungry with support for their computer needs.

If you need a food parcel you can apply directly to 0800 Hungry. It is not means tested, and you don't need letter from WINZ. Once the details are sorted the parcel(s) will be delivered to your house. Details arehere.

Information about Addington Action ishere, and 0800 Hungry here.