Section 16: Built Environment Recovery
He whakatika i ngā mea hanga
He waka kōtuia, kāhore e tukutukua ngā mimira.
A canoe that is interlaced will not become separated at the bow.
The recovery of the built environment will leave the greatest legacy. Activities are already underway to recover and, wherever possible, enhance the built environment and infrastructure of greater Christchurch. The built environment includes land, land use, network infrastructure (energy, transportation, water and telecommunication) and the part of the natural environment that has been integrated into our lifeline networks (flood banks, rivers, the estuary and coastline). It also includes residential housing, commercial and significant buildings that make up our economic, community and social infrastructure such as schools, government offices, police stations and public buildings.
Well-designed, connected communities and buildings that are constructed to a high standard have benefits for health and wellbeing. These communities and buildings are also more energy efficient, increase use of active or public transport and work in harmony with the natural environment. During consultation people expressed strong support for taking the opportunity to make buildings and infrastructure more interconnected and resilient. With the rebuild it is now possible to rethink the form and integration of the built and natural environments so it increases economic productivity, strengthens community vitality and improves quality of life.
Studies of land damaged by the earthquakes have shown there are two critical factors that can delay and increase the costs of rebuilding. First, thin crust reduces the load bearing capacity of the land and increases the severity of liquefaction. It is both a cause and a result of falls in land levels. Second, lateral spread means the land splits and slides towards the weakest point – away from built or buildable areas (usually by waterways). As more information becomes available on the state of land and the performance of buildings and infrastructure, decisions are being made about where, when and how to rebuild.
Sufficient land is needed to house people displaced from the red zone and other locations, and for strategic infrastructure and community facilities. In addition, the additional workforce required for the recovery need accommodation. The Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy and statutory plans provide for a mix of land uses so that people can live in an attractive built environment within a compact urban form.
16.1 Built environment goals
5. Develop resilient, cost effective, accessible and integrated infrastructure, buildings, housing and transport networks - by:
- 5.1 coordinating and prioritising infrastructure investment that effectively contributes to the economy and community during recovery and into the future;
- 5.2 supporting innovative urban design, buildings, technology and infrastructure to redefine greater Christchurch as a safe place built for the future;
- 5.3 rebuilding infrastructure and buildings in a resilient, cost-effective and energy-efficient manner;
- 5.4 developing a transport system that meets the changed needs of people and businesses and enables accessible, sustainable, affordable and safe travel choices;
- 5.5 zoning sufficient land for recovery needs within settlement patterns consistent with an urban form that provides for the future development of greater Christchurch;
- 5.6 having a range of affordable housing options connected to community and strategic infrastructure that provides for residents participation in social, cultural and economic activities; and
- 5.7 drawing on sound information about ongoing seismic activity and environmental constraints, including other natural hazards and climate change.
Built Environment Recovery led by CERA will direct a coordinated and timely repair and recovery of the built environment. This programme will identify the priorities and provide sequencing timeframes for land and natural hazard remediation, residential housing rebuild, significant buildings and network infrastructure. Built environment recovery is organised into four programmes of work.
Built Environment Recovery Integration Programme
The Built Environment Recovery Integration Programme includes the following activities.
- Integrated planning will cover underground, on-ground and above-ground rebuilding programmes. This includes developing solutions to minimise risks that might constrain the rebuild such as the supply and demand of building materials and machinery. It will also develop indicators and measure progress to help monitor the recovery of the built environment. Opportunities will be identified to be smarter with our infrastructure including modern technology and communications infrastructure.
- Strategic directions for land use and infrastructure are being developed with UDS partners. These will guide and coordinate land use and infrastructure recovery planning; help realise opportunities arising from the earthquakes; and provide a strong foundation for the future development of greater Christchurch.
- Stocktakes of built assets will summarise the state of the built environment prior to the earthquakes and what has happened to it. Three stocktakes will be undertaken (for land and land use, buildings and infrastructure). They will describe the previous policy and regulatory frameworks; summarise the asset network for transportation, water, energy and telecommunications; summarise community, cultural and public service built assets that existed; state the levels of service that were available; and describe the strategic buildings that are regarded as crucial to recovery.
- Action planning will identify what needs to be done, by whom and when, based on the stocktakes above. Actions are likely to include policy and regulatory changes; temporary repair or replacement projects; and understanding and re-establishing levels of service and investigations. Actions such as modelling population and settlement patterns will provide information for all recovery components and help to integrate their activities. Opportunities will be sought to improve the design of buildings and infrastructure so they function effectively and contribute to economic, environmental and community outcomes across the recovery components.
- A toolkit will be developed for recovery and will include prioritisation and sequencing frameworks, blueprints for integrated recovery and 3D and 4D visualisation models to encourage integrated recovery.
- Community engagement will communicate progress and include communities in their local repairs. Local government consenting processes will apply.
Land and Land Use Programme
The Land and Land Use Programme includes the following activities.
Land zoning decisions – the Government is continuing to assess the state of the land damage across greater Christchurch. It is using this information to make policy decisions about the land on which rebuilding is practicable in the short to medium term.
Red zones cover over 7,400 properties. In these zones there is area-wide land damage and an engineering solution to remediate the land damage would be uncertain; disruptive, and not timely and cost effective; and the health and wellbeing of residents is at risk.
As of May 2012 over 180,000 properties have been zoned green. In these areas land is generally suitable to be repaired and rebuilt on. Some green zone properties may have had land damage but this can be repaired on an individual basis as part of the normal insurance process.
Further geotechnical investigations are underway to determine the appropriate zoning decisions for the remaining 1,700 properties on the Port Hills (currently white). The Government is committed to making decisions about these properties as quickly as possible based on the best possible information.
- Land supply - CERA, working with councils, will monitor land supply for residential and commercial development and will remove constraints to bring suitable land to the market. To accommodate the resettlement of people from damaged lands as well as future population growth, infrastructure and efficient planning and consenting processes are required.
- Re-evaluation of existing planning documents will take account of the residential red zone decisions, any changes in demand for types of housing and an increase in the short-term demand for housing. It will consider new land hazard information to confirm where residential and commercial building is and is not appropriate. Guidance will be provided on the conditions for land and building development so that homes and business premises are well-designed and more resilient to future natural hazards.
- Residential red zone land clearance is overseeing the clearance of residential red zone properties and the return of the land to open space. It consists of three stages over two to three years. The first stage is to remove built structures and services. The second will involve larger-scale land clearance and grassing. The final stage will be to liaise with utility providers to remove public infrastructure no longer needed. After that, Land Information New Zealand will manage the open space. Wherever possible, these activities will preserve significant trees and will keep options open for the way the land will be used in future.
- Future long-term use of red zone land will be considered once a substantial proportion of red zone land has been transferred to the Crown. CERA, on behalf of the Crown, will lead an assessment of future options for land use. The assessment will consider hazard risk, opportunities for economic return, natural features and ecology of the land and adjacent waterways. It will also consider any community input required as part of the process and look for consistency with urban growth policies for greater Christchurch. Land Information New Zealand and CERA will be responsible for interim land management.
The Rebuilding Programme includes the following activities.
- The demolition and operations programme is undertaking detailed engineering evaluations of all commercial and multi-unit residential buildings, and the demolition of dangerous buildings to enable the rebuild of greater Christchurch. The programme sets out the works for demolition and business restart projects overseen by CERA, and for the reduction of the cordoned area of the inner city. It covers buildings within the cordon and other significant buildings such as those over five storeys in the central city and commercial buildings outside of the city. It also deals with foundations and basements left after the national emergency and the removal of debris from demolition sites. CERA requires detailed engineering assessments so that there is clear information about the structural integrity of commercial and public buildings, and people can be confident about the buildings they work in or enter. Urgent demolitions take priority and may therefore disrupt planned work. The aim is to remove large areas of the central city cordon by July 2012.
- The building quality programme is improving understanding of the Building Act’s seismic performance requirements for both residential and commercial buildings. It is also developing solutions to better meet those requirements. The Department of Building and Housing is leading this programme and has already provided updated guidance.
- The housing recovery programme is considering the market’s response to the housing issues arising from the recovery; the opportunity to coordinate the range of central and local government housing activities; and the pace of the residential rebuild. For example, CERA, EQC, private insurers, the Department of Building and Housing and local government are working to identify and resolve issues to progress the green zone rebuild.
- Buildings of strategic significance will focus on planning and rebuilding community network assets open to the public. These assets include public service buildings such as schools, hospitals and courts as well as community facilities for sport and recreation, arts, culture and heritage. CERA will liaise with councils, across government and with the private sector on this programme.
The Infrastructure Programme includes the following activities.
- Identify and reconfirm existing infrastructure programmes that are still appropriate and required to help greater Christchurch to recover and grow in the longer term. These programmes (and associated infrastructure) are, or will be, incorporated in Council Long Term Plans rather than in specific recovery programmes. By rethinking about where assets are placed and what their function is, it is possible to enhance infrastructure networks as part of the recovery.
- Transportation solutions for recovery issues will be developed. This work will consider the changes to customer needs for public transport and the need to reinstate and repair damaged infrastructure. It will also identify opportunities to improve the resilience and sustainability of the transport system, such as by improving infrastructure to increase walking, cycling, and use of public transport and freight. Existing transport planning programmes will be considered and integrated to ensure the transport network operates seamlessly and is relevant to the postearthquake environment.
- Horizontal infrastructure repair and rebuild work will be ongoing throughout the city for several years.
- The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) is repairing the city’s roads, water supply, storm water, and wastewater systems that were damaged by the earthquakes. The SCIRT project is one of the largest and most complex civil engineering projects ever undertaken in New Zealand. SCIRT is an alliance of Christchurch City Council, CERA, New Zealand Transport Agency, City Care, Downer, Fletcher Construction, Fulton Hogan, and MacDow New Zealand.
- Commercial infrastructure providers such as Orion, Telecom and Vodafone are rebuilding telecommunications and energy infrastructure systems. CERA and SCIRT will liaise with these providers to align and coordinate repairs where possible to minimise disruption.
- Infrastructure standards and specifications will be reviewed to ensure they are fit for the new seismically active environment and represent value for money.
- A decision support tool to decide how the infrastructure rollout will be prioritised will be developed by SCIRT. This tool will specify what infrastructure will be repaired, where and when. It will prioritise what is best from an engineering viewpoint, while taking into account efficiency and community needs. It will also consider other factors such as the concern to continue services important to the local economy. SCIRT will use the tool to coordinate the sequencing and timing of infrastructure projects across service and utility providers. In this way it will help them line up replacement or repair works and apply the “dig once and dig right” principle. The decision support tool will be reviewed periodically to ensure it remains fit for purpose.
- Communications for the network infrastructure repairs including providing information about the SCIRT programme in communities.