Showing posts from 2013

Blog update - going into recess

The Avonside Blog is going into recess. Why?

Avonside photography project – Official opening of Thx 4 the Memories

Yesterday was the official opening of the Avonside photography project Thx 4 the Memories.I was invited to speak on behalf of Avonside, and the following are my notes which were pretty closely followed. What was said didn’t cover everything, but seemed right for the day. The things left unsaid are raised further down. To Tim Veling, Bridgit Anderson and Glenn Busch (who is in France) For your integrity, insight, perseverance, sacrifice, ability and especially your circumspection you have no equal. Thank you very much. What you have achieved is a revealing, sensitive and intimate record of individual participants in a tragic event. Each record is an eyewitness account of the earthquakes and their aftermath. Collectively these accounts are something that will soon become tomorrow's history. An important part of the historical record. Having said that, history is a perverse thing. Understanding other peoples' history, in a different place or a different time, seems reasonably cl…

Fracking and earthquakes

From the website Science Daily (here).How Shale Fracking Led to an Ohio Town's First 100 EarthquakesAug. 19, 2013 — Since records began in 1776, the people of Youngstown, Ohio had never experienced an earthquake. However, from January 2011, 109 tremors were recorded and new research in Geophysical Research-Solid Earth reveals how this may be the result of shale fracking. In December 2010, Northstar 1, a well built to pump wastewater produced by fracking in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, came online. In the year that followed seismometers in and around Youngstown recorded 109 earthquakes; the strongest being a magnitude 3.9 earthquake on December 31, 2011.

Another Red Zone rebuild reversal

A Red Zoner, having signed off with CERA just before the 31st of July, has now had the house that was a rebuild reclassified as a repair..

Home insurance sum insured – Auckland Herald article

Diana Clement has written a very useful article on sum insured policies in the New Zealand Herald. The article (here), Make sure your house is valued properly, is a good read as are some of the comments..

Cardboard Cathedral

Some days ago Gail and I visited the Cardboard (Pro-) Cathedral. There are some photographs below.The interior is plain, and simple. Gone is all the ornate interior design and links to the past. Gone too is the opportunity for object and ancestor worship of 19th and early 20th century architecture and citizens.  Standing in the middle of the new building it felt like having gone from a mausoleum to a place of the living.

Retreat Road homeowner graffiti

A lot of Retreat Road is gone now and, as houses have been abandoned, parting gestures have been left. Some are fond farewells and others more specific and pointed. Here are two that have personal messages for insurers.The first house (two images) was photographed on the 31st of March this year. The graffiti was quickly painted over. The second house (one image) was photographed yesterday. The censor has paid a visit and, presumably, the obliterator will be along soon. I wonder if anyone is photographing this style of comment throughout greater Christchurch? It would make a good book..

Earthquake prone buildings – Cabinet Paper and Cabinet Minutes

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment have released the Cabinet Paper and associated Cabinet Minute discussing and agreeing to the provisions for legislation requiring Territorial Authorities to assess buildings and for the buildings to be strengthened or demolished. Links to the documents are on their website here (part way down the page).They can be downloaded directly by clicking on the names below:Cabinet PaperCabinet Minute.

Avonside photography project update

The University of Canterbury have posted more information about the project Thx 4 the Memorieshere.There are also more photographs on Tim Veling’s website here. Use the little grey slidey-thing just below the photographs to move through the collection..

AA Insurance - more on the July progress update

In my post on the 10th of August (here) the observation was made that nearly half the AA Insurance rebuilds had “been cashed settled which, on the face of it, suggests a full replacement policy isn’t all it was advertised to be.”AA Insurance have been in touch with additional information from their Corporate Affairs office. Here is their response in full:I have recently read your post titled  “AA Insurance progress update” and would like to offer you some background information about how we are settling our Christchurch home claims.  AA Insurance has a full replacement HomeCover Policy.  If our customer is a rebuild, regardless of whether our customers choose to stay in our rebuild programme and rebuild or their current site, or take a cash settlement to rebuild on another site, the amount they receive is based on the full replacement cost.  The same principal is applied if our customer’s home is a repair. We will provide our customers with the information for both options and they ar…

Southern Response - the use of lighter cladding for rebuilds

If you have/had a brick house that is to be rebuilt it appears the Southern Response may substitute a lighter material for the external cladding. The news release is here and reads:Lighter weight claddings for TC3 landPublished 13 August 2013 If your original home was built of brick and is now being rebuilt on a surface structure with shallow foundations, it will need to be rebuilt with a lighter weight cladding than the original brick.Lighter weight cladding costs more than brick and there is now an allowance for this in your Build to Budget sum. The allowance will cover the difference in cost between brick and the current equivalent lightweight cladding system.  We expect that the number of rebuilds on TC3 land will result in an increase in the range and a possible lowering of the price of lighter weight cladding materials - so we will regularly monitor the available products and the amount of the allowance we will make available for this upgrade.

AA Insurance – progress update

AA Insurance have added progress figures for July here.It is interesting to note that so far AAI have completed only four rebuilds out of a total 674. Of the 674 nearly half (326) have been cash settled which, on the face of it, suggests a full replacement policy isn’t all it was advertised to be..

Southern Response - progress report to July 2013

Southern Response have published their progress report to the end of July 2013. It is available here..

Earthquake-prone buildings

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has published the media release for the policy decision on managing earthquake-prone buildings (here).Part of the release states: The new system is designed to strike a better balance between protecting people from harm in an earthquake and managing the costs of strengthening or removing earthquake prone buildings.When the performance of the MBIE (DBH as it then was) on acceptable floor levels in damaged houses is taken into account (see blog entry here), there is room for concern that this piece of policy is potentially just as dubious. Once again the balance seems to have moved further in favour of protecting business interests by transferring the risks onto people.  A primary part of the policy is to extend the amount of time available in which to strengthen a building identified as being earthquake-prone.  The policy proposes that Councils have five years from the date of the new legislation in which to identify all earthq…

Insurers - Changing a rebuild to a repair.

Today’s Press has an article by Lane Neave law firm partner Dr Duncan Webb on insurers changing a rebuild into a repair. This article is part of an on-going "agony uncle" series on how the law applies to certain situations.The article is here, and worth reading. There is also an e-mail address at the bottom of the article if you have a question you would like to submit..

Christchurch Police - Facebook page

Christchurch police have just set up a Facebook page to help Christchurch people be safe and feel safe.The page, which is here, has been active for less than two days and is already very popular.  See the faces of those with whom the police would like to have a chat. Anyone you know?.

Southern Response – asbestos handling information

Southern Response have added the following information to their website (here), describing how properties with asbestos will be treated. Before your repair work begins the main repair contractor will assess whether they need to test for the presence of asbestos in building materials in your home - based on the age, construction materials used and the nature and location of earthquake damage.  If asbestos testing is needed, the main contractor will arrange for inspection of the earthquake damaged areas; This will be done at our cost. If asbestos is identified in earthquake damaged materials, a competent contractor will be engaged to remove that type of asbestos product that is earthquake damaged. The main contractor is fully responsible for asbestos identification, testing, removal and disposal as per the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment rules and Health and Safety Act. We will advise you if asbestos is identified in earthquake damaged areas of your home and can give you…

CERA - updated Cabinet Papers and Minutes

CERA yesterday updated its page of Cabinet Papers and Minutes (here). A quick check indicates that the changes fall into four categories. The first is replacing unsigned documents with signed copies. The second is updated versions with some or all of the information that was withheld in the past. Third is where a larger paper has now been broken down into a separate document, and the fourth new material added to the page.The papers concerned are (italics for signature only, bold for additional text, standard text where a paper has been split out from a previously available document, and  underlined because it looks like a new paper i.e. my record of this CERA page does not show the document to have been present before yesterday).Changes to CERA’s existing web page headingsCabinet Paper: Land Decisions - June 2011 (replaced on 30 July 2013) Cabinet Paper: Kaiapoi Orange Zones - August 2011 (replaced on 30 July 2013)CAB Min (11) 41/24 - Canterbury Earthquake Recovery: Decisions on Rema…


In November 2011 there was a blog entry Photographing the loss of Avonside(here) about a project to record a number of post-earthquake personal experiences. The purpose was to record, over a period of years, the lives of some Avonside residents as they and the suburb experienced the after-effects of the earthquakes.The first phase of the project is more or less complete and those of you who took part may have noticed that part of it is to form a centre piece of next month’s Arts Festival. Under the heading THX 4 THE MEMORIES, it will be an outdoor poster display of pictures and words and will run along Worcester Boulevard from the museum to the Square. There is information on the exhibition on the Arts Festival website here. Sadly there is no sneak preview of the images. It will be necessary to wait until the festival which starts on the 22nd of August. For those who don’t know about this project, it was a long and arduous piece of work (still not finished) undertaken by Tim Veling,…

Sum insured - what amount should you insure your house for? What could go wrong?

As mentioned in previous posts, future house insurance policies will be based upon what YOU have assessed as being the cost of rebuilding. This isn’t just the cost of time and materials, it also includes costs relating to demolition and disposal of the rubble, surveys, local and regional council consents, legal fees, plus others that are complex (e.g. disposing of asbestos) or don’t come to  mind at the moment. You also need to know what limitations or conditions insurers put on certain aspects of your property (e.g. the technical category of your foundations, retaining walls, hazardous materials). It is not going to be easy to get this right. Get it wrong and you loose in a devastating way.Not only is it going to be a difficult exercise there is also, as highlighted in a recent item on the Australian website (here), the issue of avoiding unqualified valuers.  In that item NZ Property Institute CEO David Clark is quoted as saying:“We are concerned that these so-calle…

Earthquake Assessment Service for Wellington

EQC have publicised a house assessment programme Quakecheck, that uses services offered by the New Zealand Master Builders Federation and Certified Builders Association and is available anywhere in the Wellington city area. The purpose of the programme is to assess the risk an earthquake will pose to your house. The cost is $160 (see here for cost information and inspection details), and it is necessary to book an inspection.

Earthquake information for Wellingtonians.

EQC, Civil Defence and other agencies produce a range of information sources that are useful pre and post earthquake. New Zealand’s highly variable geography and geology means that the information is of a general nature.For those who want to do a bit of research on earthquake preparedness for a city with some characteristics similar to Wellington, the San Francisco area offers a range of useful resources (click on the name to go to the website).Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) Earthquake and Hazards ProgramAssociation of Bay Area Governments Housing Vulnerable to Damage in EarthquakesAssociation of Bay Area Governments Shaken Awake! Creative Ways to Strengthen Housing and Promote Community ResilienceAssociation of Bay Area Governments The REAL Dirt on LiquefactionBay Area Earthquake AllianceThe US Geological Survey (USGS) published Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country in 2005 as a handbook for those living in the San Francisco Bay Region.  While not intended for a New Ze…

For Wellington

It has been a hard day for many of you. Like other forms of strife, being in the centre of it creates a perspective few others can truly appreciate. Hopefully the night will be quiet and sleep comes quickly. Take a couple of days off and celebrate the fact that the worst didn’t happen.

EQC - Additional information posted on the Home Repair Programme page

EQC have added more important material to the Home Repair Programme page here.The headings for the additions are:Find out more information about the Canterbury Home Repair Programme Find out more about pre existing building issues The issue of asbestos Urgent repairs Certificate of title notificationThe last addition, notices on land titles, will have major insurance and re-sale ramifications for those who have a Section 74 notice placed on their Certificate of Title. The additions in full are below …

Southern Response - foundation repair trials

From the Southern Response website (here):Southern Response is partnering with Housing New Zealand to trial different methods of re-levelling earthquake damaged houses on TC2 and TC3 land. The trials are specifically for houses with concrete ring and concrete floor foundations. Housing New Zealand has produced two video clips - the first clip is an explanation of the project by structural and geotechnical engineers and the second clip is a demonstration of the jack and pack method of re-levelling. The website also includes a recorded presentation on foundation repairs from the CERA rebuild and recovery expo held in April 2013..

AA Insurance - progress update

AA Insurance’s progress update to July is here..

EQC, floor levels and (in)competency

Yesterday Radio New Zealand (here) ran an item where EQC was accused of:“employing unqualified surveyors to measure how level floors are - using inadequate measuring methods - and thousands of houses are being wrongly assessed.”To this EQC spokesman Bruce Emson, said:“the commission's surveys are carried out by suitably qualified quantity surveyors and comply with all building and housing guidelines.”Where does the truth lie? The two times our house was assessed, EQC used bog-standard builders to determine the state of the house. The first builder didn’t know how to use the laser level he had brought with him, and it took him nearly 30 minutes to get it operational. Once operating he measured only the easily accessed bits, despite offers to move furniture for him. This experience does not exist in isolation, so how can others know whether their property was accurately assessed by someone suitably qualified for the job?The first thing is to deal with the semantics of the EQC respon…

Radio New Zealand news - EQC assessments of damaged houses wrong

Radio New Zealand has reported this morning that:A registered surveyor in Christchurch says the Earthquake Commission is providing misleading assessments of quake-damaged houses.More information on the news item, and EQC’s one line response,  is available on the Radio New Zealand websitehere..

EQC update - error with some “Know where you stand” letters

EQC announced today (here) that there has been an error in about 4,000 “know where you stand” letters. From the EQC website (important bit has been highlighted):Friday 12 July 2013: EQC has identified a technical error with about 4000 letters sent to customers currently in the Canterbury Home Repair Programme which means they were sent information not relevant to their claim. Every affected customer was in the “CHRP repairs” customer group. While they received the correct claim information (eg: claim number), the letter or email may have referred to a situation which was not true for their claim. For instance, some customers were told their repairs were on hold at the customer’s own request, when this was not true. EQC apologises for this error and will be sending further letters to customers in this group to give them the information they should have originally received.

Southern Response - progress report to June 2013

Southern Response have published their progress report to the end of June 2013. It is available here..

Supporting workers in the rebuild.

Paul Watson has an opinion piece in today’s Press raising the importance  of rebuild workers getting “… decent jobs with good wages, a safe work environment and a voice in how the city and the rebuild progress.”The article is here..

AA Insurance - Sum insured for Canterbury customers – cover for retaining walls (bad news for Wellington and Auckland too?)

AA have updated their new policy information to include two questions and answers relating to retaining walls (they are basically the same question put twice)here.  While the answers have significant ramifications for most Cantabrians on the hills, or with multi-level sections, the effect of extending this limited level of cover throughout the country will be massive. Many hillside properties in the main centres will lose a significant amount of their appeal and also their market value.The questions and answers are:How can I ensure that I have enough cover for retaining walls?Currently our policy will have a $10,000 limit for the construction of all retaining walls, which means this is the most we will pay for your retaining walls to be reinstated in a future claim, regardless of your total Sum Insured. My home is in the Port Hills – how can I ensure that I have enough cover for retaining walls?Currently our policy will have a $10,000 limit for the construction of all retaining walls,…

EQC & DBH - deviousness with house floor levels?

Adrian Cowie, Director of Topografo Ltd., has written an article pointing out the inappropriate (incompetent and deceitful?) practices being used by EQC on the basis of the Department of Building and Housing’s less than professional amendment to building guidelines. It is a very interesting article to read. If your house has a sloping floor reading the article is critical.  A link to the article is in the latest CanCERN newsletter, or the article itself can be found on the Rebuild Christchurch website here.For those who wonder about Mr Cowie’s credentials (which are both impressive and substantial), they are listed at the bottom of the CanCERN version of the article here. .

New EQC booklet - Settling land claims

EQC have released a new booklet that provides a summary of the land settlement claim process. There is information in the booklet on:What land is covered? The six steps in the settlement process. Progress The land settlement pack Repairs Timeframes Complex claimsFor the last point EQC consider complex claims to involve land with: Increased vulnerability to liquefaction Increased vulnerability to flooding Shared land claims (for example, multiple dwellings on a single title) Land with damage to structures such as retaining walls, bridges and culvertsA copy can be downloaded from here..

Sum Insured update – AA Insurance’s guidelines for Canterbury homeowners (and the rest of the country)

AA Insurance have added a whole set of Q&As to their website for Cantabrians, to assist in coming to grips with the new method of insuring houses.  As AA Insurance seem to be the trendsetters for sum insured house policies, the information on their site will be good background material for those insured with other companies. Useful reading too for homeowners outside Canterbury, particularly those in earthquake or flood hazard areas.The Q&A information applies to both those on the flat, and the hills. Significant questions arise for those on TC3 land (foundation costs), also on TC2 (foundation costs), and everyone in a damaged house. There are differing but equally significant questions regarding foundation costs and retaining walls for those on the hills (retaining wall liability to be capped at $10,000 irrespective of amount factored into the Sum Insured value).  There is no indication that the liability for retaining walls is to be inflation adjusted so the sum may become wo…

EQC - Timeframe for settlement of under $15,000 claims

The following is from the EQC website (here).July 2013EQC expects to settle all single-dwelling under $15,000 claims (standard) that don't have structural damage by the end of October 2013. This will include your claim if: your overall home repairs will cost less than $15,000 (+ GST) you don't have any structural damage integral to your building you don’t have any urgent repairs outstanding your claim or claims refer to a single dwelling rather than a body corporate managed property or multi-dwelling. There are approximately 20,000 properties still to be settled. So far, EQC has settled approximately 20,000 dwellings with under $15,000 claims as at the end of June 2013.

EQC update - Canterbury FAQs

EQC have updated their Canterbury FAQs here.The change involves the addition of a new section on cash settlements where claims are under $15,000.  You can find them toward the bottom of the page, or click on the link just below to continue reading them on the blog.

CERA update - Community Issues and Questions

CERA have updated their Community Issues and Questions page by adding three new questions (at the bottom of the page here). One of the questions is relevant to those who are still in the Red Zone. At this stage there are no answers available.The problems/issues/questions are:

Insurance Council and building consents – a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

Earlier this evening (Sunday) a media release was sent out from the Insurance Council (ICNZ) welcoming the progress being made by CCC on issuing building consents. At the same time ICNZ took it upon itself to warn CCC that “… the council “can’t take its foot off-the-peddle””.Consider the on-going track record of most insurers - continuous failure to communicate, act, or negotiate with any sense of urgency, competence or diligence over the last two and a bit years. How can ICNZ consider itself to be in any position to criticise or advise CCC? Had insurers performed to a uniformly satisfactory standard would the bottleneck now being experienced have been so great? Is this being used as another opportunity for insurers to blame someone else for problems they themselves have created?It would be ideal if consents could be granted more quickly, but at what cost? The process is there for a purpose – health, safety, quality and appropriateness. Think in terms of leaky buildings, shonky land, …

Know where you stand - a new EQC webpage

Know where you stand is a new webpage aimed at providing very basic statistical information on the progress EQC has made, and what is happening in EQC’s programme of contacting all claimants.The information is not particularly breath stopping however the page may become a means of finding out what is happening, or scheduled to happen. For instance the page advises that this week EQC is contacting those who have elected to opt-out. The page is here.

New winter resilience programme

Minister Brownlee has announced the coming together of companies and agencies to help those whose damaged homes don’t fare well this winter. In a first step, major construction companies have volunteered staff to respond to any emergency works created by this week’s expected snowstorm, working alongside Civil Defence and the Christchurch City Council. Mr Brownlee says the impact of a third winter in an earthquake-damaged home cannot be underestimated, especially where warmth and sanitation issues are concerned. “While almost 50,000 urgent repairs have been carried out to ensure homes are weathertight, and 19,000 winter heat devices have been installed, we accept that cold weather could cause problems. “I want to be sure we get the message across to everyone that there is a lot of help available in a variety of forms.” As per normal procedure in the case of an emergency, Civil Defence through the Christchurch City Council will lead the response, while other agencies will form an addit…

Evaluating the government’s temporary housing

The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) has released a report Evaluation of the Canterbury Temporary Villages on the temporary housing provided at Kaiapoi, Linwood Park and Rawhiti Domain. The report can be downloaded from here.The following is an extract from the executive summary:To date, the temporary villages have provided a relevant and effective service to displaced Canterbury residents with property damage resulting from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Village residents interviewed have appreciated the villages for what they are: temporary accommodation while their homes are being repaired or rebuilt. Almost all tenants regard the accommodation as ‘more than adequate’, and the rent as ‘fair’. Property management issues are quickly and efficiently dealt with; there is flexibility around end dates that gives tenants peace of mind if their repairs are delayed. The non-property management services have been useful for tenants and providers alike.The Report is 29…

Progress update - AA Insurance

AA Insurance have published their progress figures as of June here..

EQC - updated information on land and building claims

EQC have published updated information on claims here. The information is based upon newspaper advertisements being run by EQC, the topics are listed below. For each topic a copy of the published material published can be downloaded.Land claims (June - July 2013)If you've got a land claim, here's some facts about your cover. If you've got a land claim, settlements are underway. If you've got a land claim, we've got some timings. If you've got a land claim, here's how we'll assess it. EQC Canterbury land claim settlements are underway. EQC's Canterbury land claims process. How Canterbury Land Claim Settlements are calculated by EQC.Vulnerable people (June - July 2013)Help us reach those most in need.Building claims (cross leases) (June 2013)If your building claim is delayed, your building could be the reason.

CERA - more information on the Residential Advisory Service

CERA have produced a video explaining some of the workings of the RAS here, on a website called Vimeo (sort of like Youtube but for grownups). Click on the photograph of Ivan to make it work.The video is about 5 and a half minutes long and quite informative – good viewing..

Southern Response - progress report to May 2013

Southern Response have published their progress report to the end of May 2013. It is availablehere..

Red Zone extension form changed.

CERA have updated the application form to be used for those applying for a Red Zone settlement extension. The new form was added to the CERA website today, and can be accessed from the bottom of the webpagehere, or downloaded here..

Briefings to builders from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), with Bunnings, Carters, ITM, Mitre 10 and Placemakers, are running a series of briefings to give builders working in Canterbury important info on repairing and rebuilding earthquake-damaged homes. The briefings will cover roles and responsibilities, and the repair of foundations, linings and cladding. The free briefings will run for two hours, either 7.30 - 9.30am or 5.30 - 7.30pm in the Jack Mann Auditorium, College of Education, Solway Ave, Ilam, Christchurch The full media release ishere..

For Red Zoners who are seeking an extension

CanCERN has produced some ideas they think may help Red Zone residents who wish to apply for an extension to stay in the residential red zone.   To see this information pleaseclick here or go to the following link on Google Docs.

Waimakariri Red Zone drop-in session tomorrow (Wednesday)

The Waimakariri District Council (WDC) and CERA are hosting a Red Zone drop-in session on Wednesday 5 June between 2.30pm and 7pm at the Kaiapoi Service Centre, 24 Sewell Street.The following is the text of a letter dated the 30th of May from the WDC to Red Zone residents …

EQC - Update to the Canterbury FAQs page for multi-unit buildings

EQC have updated their Canterbury FAQs pagehere. The information that has been added is:Multi-Unit Buildings Why do I have to consult with or agree with my neighbour over the repair strategy?Can I see my scope of works?My unit has only minor cosmetic damage, why can't it be repaired now? Or my neighbour has been repaired, is with Fletcher EQR, or has been cash settled. Why haven't I?Can we learn from how they handle cross-lease titles in other countries?Does being part of a multi-unit building affect my land claim?

AA Insurance progress update

AA Insurance have posted their progress figures for the period to 20 May here..

CERA – Community Issues and Questions update

CERA have updated their Community Issues and Questions web page (here). The following questions and their associated answers have been added:Land with increased risk to flooding.What is the timeline for the business decision to be made in regards to flood risk land? Is there a chance this land will be deemed unsuitable or too expensive to build on? Why can't the homes be assessed prior to the decision so when the decision is made homeowners know whether they are a Fletchers managed repair or with their insurance company? Then, if they are with insurance they will be further into the process than if no assessment had been done.How do we get a report once the Land remediation team has assessed our land?At the moment most communities have to go through the CCC to get access every time they want to use the community facility - hall. Can the CCC negotiate for there to be local key holders who are most likely to use the facility on a very regular basis?Does land in the FMA which has dr…

Canterbury recovery insurance report

The Insurance Council of New Zealand have released the latest statistics on apportionment decisions, assessments, money spent and claims being processed. Click the link for the report.

Red Zone deadline update

CERA have issued a media release (here) announcing the grounds on which a deadline extension may be granted for those  stuck in the Red Zone on flat land. In part the media release states:“We have already been in contact with the majority of these people for a long time, so we have been aware of their concerns. However the workshops just gave us a chance to get more information about their situations, as no two cases are the same.” Mr Sutton says cases for an extension will only be considered on strict criteria. That includes whether obstacles a property owner may have in settling are beyond their control, their particular health or age-related vulnerabilities, and the impact an extension may have on activities such as property clearances and infrastructure services.Letters are being sent to affected Red Zone property owners to explain the case by case extensions, and information can be accessed on the CERA website (here).Requests for extensions need to sent to CERA as follows:Settlem…

Supporting CanCERN’s letter to Minister Brownlee

A number of community groups have sent e-mails to Minister Brownlee supporting CanCERN’s letter. Click the link to see our e-mail sent yesterday to Minister Brownlee. A copy of the e-mail was also sent to MP Nicky Wagner, who seems to have disappeared from the radar over these issues which affect much of her electorate.

Dear Minister Brownlee

Yesterday CanCERN wrote to Minister Brownlee in response to his appearance on Campbell Live earlier this week.  Hon. Gerry Brownlee
Minister of Canterbury Earthquake Recovery
22 May 2013Dear Minister Brownlee Firstly we would like to thank you for conducting the Campbell Live interview on Monday 20 May regarding the resident’s plight with the Earthquake Commission. Acknowledging their voice is the first step towards resolving issues. You mentioned in your interview that you had heard the issues but not the solutions. We found this statement disappointing because CanCERN has on numerous occasions tried to engage you in solution focused discussions regarding EQC. We would once again invite that opportunity and have reiterated the areas which have consistently been of most concern and the solutions that have come directly from the residents most impacted by EQC’s delivery of service. Prioritising the vulnerable the issueMany elderly, sick and vulnerable people are still waiting to be id…

EQC drilling update

EQC have updated information on their drilling programmehere. The information covers:Major drilling program completed Shallow geotechnical investigations (useful for those who don’t need a major geotechnical investigation).Accessing a copy of the shallow geotechnical investigation findings.

Red Zone meetings – urgent message

The following is from Leanne Curtis of CanCERN. If you are a Red Zoner and haven’t attended one of CERA’s Red Zone meetings please read.This is a very quick summary of the Red Zone Workshops which were held yesterday, Monday 20 May. There are two further planned workshops TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY 22 MAY at 1pm and 6.30pm.If you have not yet registered and would like to please ring:0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372). Registration is essential to cater for seating. (If you are unable to attend one of the workshops and you are concerned that you may not be able to meet your settlement date, you can call 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372) to discuss your concerns.)The feedback from attendees has been positive and the phrase 'useful' was the most common. The workshop is mostly focused on the small group discussion/workshopping although there is an overview of the offer, deadlines and support services. The main questions relate to why exactly you have had issues with settling and vacating and …

CERA Red Zone meetings on Monday and Wednesday

On Wednesday CERA sent invitations to those still in the Red Zone to attend a Red Zone workshop. There are four workshops in all: Monday 20 May at 1pm or 6.30pm Wednesday 22 May at 1pm or 6.30pm.The letters are going to those who have not yet settled with CERA, their  insurer, or have a settlement date between now and July. The workshops will provide the information you need about the deadline and how case management will work.  Please note you must register in advance to be able to attend one of the four workshops. The following is the text of the letter (click the link to see the rest)

Criteria for CERA’s Residential Advisory Service

On the RAS site there is a description of the three steps used by the Service (here).Step 1 includes the words “a staff member will take you through a short assessment to see whether your circumstances meet the criteria …”.  In case it is not clear what this means, the criteria is listed further up their web page and I have reproduced it below.The wording is a bit equivocal (may be available if …) however there oughtn’t be any surprises (let me know if there are). This service may be available to you if you are an earthquake-affected residential property owner and you: believe you are in disagreement with another party over your repair or rebuild process, or are not confident about or do not understand the complex matters associated with your rebuild or repair process.However, you cannot use the service if you: have filed legal proceedings against your insurer (if your issue is insurance related), or are participating in EQC mediation (if your issue is EQC related), or are trying to d…

CERA’s Residential Advisory Service

The Residential Advisory Service (RAS) starts business from 8.00 tomorrow morning. The RAS website is here.The basics are:Phone number 0800 777 299Call centre hours  8am to 5pm When will meetings with independent advisors begin?  Cases will be triaged by the call centre and placed with advisors based on the specific nature of issues, with the first advisor/property owner meetings beginning on Monday 20 May. Where will meetings take place?  The Residential Advisory Service has secured space in 15 locations around greater Christchurch so meetings can occur in convenient places for property owners. Who are the independent advisors?  They’re professional people working in the field in greater Christchurch across the areas of engineering, building, geo-technical expertise, real estate and insurance.

Over-cap and got creeping mould or weather-tightness issues?

Australian insurance news website InsuranceNEWS reports the CEO of the Insurance Council of New Zealand as encouraging all owners of over-cap earthquake damaged homes to contact their insurers if there are problems with mould. This applies only to homes that are over-cap, as EQC and Fletcher/EQR are responsible for under-cap properties.Some extracts from the article (full articlehere).Canterbury homeowners should contact their insurers if they are affected by creeping mould from liquefied soil caused by the earthquakes, according to the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ). “While the removal of liquefied soil is a land issue, and therefore the responsibility of the Earthquake Commission, insurers will look at removing soil for ‘over-cap’ homes and settle with [the commission] afterwards,” ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton said. Temporary weatherproofing repairs can be carried out without affecting the full repair waiting list. “I’m aware some people are worried about seeking help because they …

Southern Response - update on Build options especially cross lease properties

Southern Response have updated their webpage on options available to those with rebuilds. Part of the new information relates to people with cross leased properties.The update is here and the cross lease information below (original here).

Southern Response - progress report to April 2013

A few days ago Southern Response published their progress report to the end of April 2013. It is available here..

Comments on the EQC Mediation service - Part 2

The fourth document in the process is the Settlement Agreement. Before we get to it some context is needed, as there are important factors to be taken into account. The first is, when reading this, please remember it is an area in which you need to get professional advice before making a decision.  MotivesThe correct view to take of EQC's Mediation Service is a dismissive one. The Service is aimed at creating the impression EQC is being proactive and helpful, part of the on-going public relations campaign of boosting EQC's profile while marginalising claimants. It is interesting that, in promoting the Service, neither EQC nor AMINZ suggest that mediation could be anything other than a walk in the park. Yet, at it’s core, the Service is potentially a mechanism for getting rid of difficult cases and unsuspecting claimants down a dark alleyway.This may seem harsh, yet there is no cause to think otherwise. The experience of many is EQC has no sympathy for claimants who challenge t…

Updates and clarifications to the MBIE’s guidance for repairs and rebuilding in Canterbury

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has published a page of updates, clarification and further information on technical issues relating to MBIE’s guidance ‘Repairing and rebuilding houses affected by the Canterbury earthquakes’. These issues result from feedback received on the guidance since its publication in December 2012 (here).  .

Comments on the EQC Mediation service - Part 1

This first post covers the basic information relating to EQC’s Mediation Service. The Service has a website here.To access the process you must first be approved by EQC as being a suitable candidate. There is an EQC brochure A Guide to the EQC Mediation Service (here) which sets out the basics. The information topics in the brochure are:Who can use the EQC Mediation Service? How does the EQC Mediation Service work? Do I have to pay for it? Who is bound by the mediation settlement? What happens if there is no settlement? What are the criteria for being offered mediation? What if I haven’t been offered the service but would like to use it anyway?This brochure is an important starting point, especially as mediation is not available for some of the major issues that exist between claimants and EQC.  Areas of dispute that are covered by the Service must contain one or more of the following elements:A dispute which concerns matters of opinion (e.g. value of contents) that can be discu…

Geotech update from Southern Response

Southern response have released an update on their geotechnical testinghere. .

Survey on the potential uses of the Avon River Residential Red Zone

Lincoln University are running an on-line survey to establish what residents consider to be important in the redevelopment of the Avon Residential Red Zone areas. The survey is here. .

Brownlee, Sutton and today’s judicial review application

The NZ Herald (here) has reported that forty Red Zoners applied today to the High Court for a judicial review of the Crown offers made to them.  The particular circumstances of the case are that the people concerned either own bare land (and couldn’t get insurance) or were uninsured.  They consider the amount offered by the Crown inadequate and inappropriate. They also consider Minister Brownlee did not engage with them over their concerns. Minister Brownlee and Roger Sutton were named in the statement of claim.When asked for comment Minister Brownlee “…wouldn't comment because the matter is before the courts.” A very proper position for the minister to take.While the review is before the court the question arises whether CERA will  make further attempts to get these Red Zoners to take the existing offer, and get out of the Red Zone by the 31st of July. Would that be proper? Should they be left alone, in the Red Zone, until the review is completed, however long that takes?.

Southern Response - update to web page “Who will I work with on my claim?”

Southern Response have updated their web page Who will I work with on my claim?here.The text, as it now reads, is shown below with the additional text highlighted. It is interesting to also note that the page now shows both the date of publication and the date it was updated. This is a welcome step in coming to grips with how information is evolving (thanks folks).

Red Zoners and CERA’s Residential Advisory Service

As is their continuing practice, CERA have announced a process – this time the Residential Advisory Service (RAS) - with no supporting detail. It commences on the 20th of May and might be the way to break through the problems between the insured, insurers and their project management organisations (PMOs).

With the 31 July departure date approaching a few are still stuck in the Red Zone because there is no closure with insurers. Could the RAS be the means of getting these people unstuck? To what extent will it help those in TC3 or TC2 with problems?

The potential value of the RAS for Red Zoners hinges on factors not yet public (or perhaps not yet worked out). On the face of it, the Service is likely to be suitable to process simple to moderately complicated issues of genuine misunderstanding, or an inability to pull all the bits together. It is optimistic to see the apparent premise of the Service, producing results through better provision of information and opportunities for conver…