Update from Roger Sutton, Chief Executive: 28 May 2012
The next six months will see increasing progress on repairs and rebuilds in the residential green zone, and an increasing focus on TC3 properties.
Technical categories for residential foundations were first announced by the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) in October 2011 but have been a source of some frustration for some home owners.
The more recent release of TC3 guidelines – delayed because research to identify potential design solutions was needed – may have resolved some of this frustration.
Technical categories are required only for houses that require foundation repair or need to be rebuilt. Making only new build houses or those with foundation damage subject to technical categories limits the number of houses needing such substantial works to only the most severely damaged, and in many cases the repairs needed have been able to be standardised.
Limiting the number of properties and standardising repair solutions will do much to speed up the recovery. The alternative would have been a far greater number of properties undergoing foundation strengthening. This would have added perhaps as long as 10-15 years, not to mention untold added cost, to the recovery. This is significant when you consider there are already more than 100,000 earthquake damaged properties to repair.
Great progress is being made on these repairs with about 15,000 completed so far, and more than twice that number currently under way.
We will start to see even more progress shortly, particularly in TC3 areas. These areas are most prone to land damage and liquefaction in a significant earthquake, and the recently released DBH TC3 guidelines mean that there is now nothing holding back repairs for TC3 properties not requiring foundation repairs. Insurance issues have held up some progress, but these are being addressed.
TC3 properties requiring new foundations will need site specific geotechnical investigation, and this drilling programme is under way, managed by EQC. That means that over the next six months repairs to the most damaged TC3 properties should be able to begin. A point to note is that drilling may not always occur on your property, but in locations nearby that allow sufficient information to provide nearby TC3 properties with foundation solutions.
I know this doesn’t make life any easier for people in the immediate future, but we are getting there. We will continue to do everything we can to assist communities with information, both in print, online and on television, and public meetings when these are needed.
Winter is upon us, and I know another winter in an earthquake damaged house is not something to look forward to. Once again this winter we’ll be running the Winter Wellness programme to assist in keeping people well. More information will be available soon.
We will continue to address issues before they arise where we can, and other issues as soon as we can and will keep you as informed as possible as progress is made.
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority