Questions and answers - Section 38 demolition work and 10 day notices

I have received a letter about the demolition of my building from CERA. What does this mean?

As a result of the Canterbury Earthquakes and aftershocks the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) was established. The Authority has the power to determine what demolition works should be done to a building which has been identified as dangerous.

The letter is issued under section 38 of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011. Before the letter is sent CERA will endeavour to make contact with the building owner to discuss the way forward for their building. We recommend you (the building owner):

  • Read these FAQs carefully.
  • Discuss any questions you have with CERA. You can contact CERA by email demolitionenquiries@cera.govt.nz or phone on 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372).
  • Contact your insurer.
  • Decide whether or not you want to organise the demolition yourself.

Demolition is a complicated process – for example, in addition to organising demolition contractors and communicating with your insurer, you will have to:

If you decide to organise the demolition use the time you have before you receive the formal letter (section 38 letter) from CERA about the demolition to begin to form a demolition plan so that CERA can assess whether your time frames are realistic. Ask your insurer for guidance on your demolition plan. CERA can organise the demolition on your behalf if you wish. You can contact CERA by email demolitionenquiries@cera.govt.nz or phone on 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372).

Once you receive the letter:

  • You have 10 days to contact CERA and let CERA know if you intend to carry out the works or if CERA should do this for you.

Once your response (including the above requirements) is received by CERA, we will endeavour to contact you as quickly as possible.

Note: the Act provides for 10 days not 10 working days so you have less than a fortnight to get organised.

  • If you decide to organise the demolition the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act requires you to give a time frame for carrying out the work. You will need to provide a demolition plan so that CERA can assess whether your time frames are realistic.
I have not responded to CERA within the 10 days or provided all the information that is required? What could happen?

CERA can proceed with the demolition under the Act as the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act does not provide for an extension to the statutory 10 day time frame.

Note: the Act provides for 10 days not 10 working days so you have less than a fortnight to get organised.

If CERA carries out the work who will cover the cost?

CERA will invoice the building owner for the costs of the dangerous building demolition, including administrative expenses.

Under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act, CERA can impose a charge against the land to recover costs.

Please direct any specific questions to:

Email:demolitionenquiries@cera.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372)

Can CERA help me with my discussions with my insurance company?
  • It is a good idea to make contact with your insurance company before you have been contacted by CERA and enter into discussions with your insurers. If you have not done so you should contact your insurers as soon as practicable after you have received a letter from CERA.
  • A copy of the (section 38) letter will be sent to your insurer, if CERA has those details.
  • CERA cannot give advice on individual cases or contact the insurance company on your behalf because the insurance contract that is held is between yourself and the insurance company.
  • However, CERA stays in touch with the insurance sector to discuss broad issues. You are welcome to mention what is working well with your insurer and what is not in your discussions with CERA. Where CERA identifies common issues these can be raised with the insurance sector.
I disagree with CERA’s decision to demolish the building? What should I do?

Where a building has been identified as dangerous, demolition is an appropriate measure to assist with the recovery of greater Christchurchfrom the earthquake. The Act does not provide for an appeal process. You can discuss this issue with your lawyer to get clarification of your legal rights.

I have started the demolition but I will not reach the agreed time frame. What happens now?

Please keep CERA informed so that you can be given assistance where CERA is able to. A failure to inform or meet the agreed time frame may mean that CERA will take over work.