Section 9: Pace of Recovery
Many factors can influence the pace of recovery. Recovery activities need to be sequenced carefully to avoid bottlenecks and minimise frustrations. Although a fast recovery is desirable, going too fast can create further problems. It creates competition for resources between projects, drives up costs and creates pressure on existing services and facilities. It may also not produce the best outcomes in the long term. As the aftershocks are continuing, time is needed for the land to settle down or be remediated. It is important to obtain the right information, including scientific data, and take a considered approach to planning and developing robust solutions before implementing them.
Influences on phasing and pace include:
- the nature of, and the risks posed by, ongoing seismic activity;
- the availability of sufficient land for rebuilding and infrastructure services provided to this land (e.g. for greenfields developments);
- whether skilled construction workers and machinery are available;
- the timing and nature of insurance settlements;
- the capacity of building industry professionals to design, build and inspect developments;
- the preparation of quality consent applications and council processing of resource and building consents; and
- whether there is sufficient funding and insurance cover for recovery activities.
At the moment there are not enough skilled construction workers and machinery in greater Christchurch to work on all recovery tasks at the same time. Additional training courses are already available in Christchurch through the Skills for Canterbury package. Increasing the number of trade workers may speed work up but would also increase the pressure on temporary accommodation and other services.
CERA is liaising with insurers and their project managers, councils and representatives from engineering and other professions involved in the rebuild about this issue. In this way it is developing a clearer understanding of the requirements of the rebuild in terms of timing and the demand for labour, skills and building materials, and consenting and professional advisory services.
Closer working relationships on the rebuild will help to identify and resolve any risks or unintended consequences that may interfere with the recovery of greater Christchurch.
Projects that create impetus for additional services or investment to stimulate recovery have been successfully used by other cities recovering from disasters. CERA, its strategic partners and the private sector will identify and progress these kinds of projects. Two examples are the Re:START Cashel Mall and the Christchurch Stadium, both now completed.