In the Know is all about asking questions and getting answers and has had a great response from the public with over 1000 unique visits to the website last weekend. If you haven’t checked it out yet please take some time to have a look. www.intheknow.org.nz
Roger Sutton continued to ask questions of community leaders at the Recovery Leaders Forum on 20th of this month as he, the council and others updated everyone on what is happening. (As soon as we receive the power points from this we will put them up online).
The Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities workshop, (made possible by a very hard working CCC), certainly raised the question about whether we should find a new word to replace ‘resilient’ and left many of us thinking about how we will take this discussion out into the community. This project is going to need a lot of kiwi ingenuity, which we know this city has plenty of, so bring it on Mayor!
But what is the BIG conversation that CanCERN has been generating behind the scenes with Insurers, EQC, CERA, CCC, CEA, Red Cross and many others over the last few months?
Wednesday, Campbell Live…
EQC responses to Foundation Repair Questions.
EQC answered a series of questions from The Press on foundation repairs: 21st March
1. When EQC/EQR are looking at a house, is there some percentage of foundation damage where they go in and repair without applying for a CCC consent? MBIE guidelines suggest about 25% possible. I get told that up to 49% is some kind of recognised line. And then there are claims of examples where 100% of foundations are fixed without consent being applied for. So what are the ground rules so far as EQC/EQR are concerned? And are these self-imposed limits or imposed by CCC or MBIE?
The Building Act 2004 requires a building consent to be obtained for all building work, unless that work is listed as exempt building work under Schedule 1. Interpreting this part of the Act is complex and requires specialist understanding.
Engineers working on the programme have worked closely with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Territorial Authorities and experienced building specialists since the occurrence of the Canterbury earthquakes to refine the extent of repair or replacement work to ensure that it meets the objectives of Schedule 1.
Schedule 1, paragraph (a) exempts two different types of building work:
(i) any repair and maintenance using comparable materials and
(ii) any replacement with a comparable component or assembly in the same position.
However these exemptions do not apply to the complete or substantial replacement of any component or assembly that contributes to the building’s structural performance.
EQC repairs of foundation damage are therefore exempt from needing a building consent, provided this does not involve the “substantial” replacement of structural materials.
There is no legal definition for what is “substantial”.
MBIE previously published (draft) guidance that stated: “A repair of more than 50% will be substantial. A repair of more than half a component, such as a wall or foundation, would be substantial replacement”. However in November 2013, MBIE released a Determination (2013/071) that ruled a purely quantitative analysis (such as 50%) fails to take into account the nature of the building and site. MBIE ruled that qualitative analysis is also required (such as ground conditions, size of building, etc) and concluded: “there may be situations where a replacement of 50% or more of a foundation wall might not be substantial … [and] there are situations where a replacement significantly less than 50% would be substantial”.
One of the key aspects the engineers must consider is whether the repair is complete or substantial.
Where the foundation replacement is greater than 25% it is more likely that the engineers will apply for a discretionary exemption under Schedule 1 part 2 of the Building Act. Exemptions under this category have been granted for more significant replacements, providing all of the criteria in the relevant schedules of the Building Act are satisfied, and the new work must still comply with the Building Act.
Irrespective of whether the repair or reinstatement is consented or exempt, the building repair work must comply with the New Zealand Building Code (refer to section 17 and 112 of the Act).
2. What number of Canty homes have had foundation repairs without consent already? How many are there potentially over all?
Hundreds of consents and discretionary exemptions have been granted throughout the programme, although, most repairs carried out on the Canterbury Home Repair Programme are carried out under an exemption class, they are all still required to comply with the New Zealand Building Code (NZBC).
Most of our work involves standard solutions which follow the principles of the MBIE guidelines. This is a recognised alternative solution which complies with the New Zealand Building Code. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Consent Steering Groups initiated by CERA, MBIE and CCC, local Building Consent Authorities, the Engineering Advisory Group along with other technical discussion groups and Industry representatives have gone to great lengths to inform and educate those carrying out repairs to Canterbury homes, and ensure that very high standards are met.
3. When scoping houses for repair of foundations, are sewer lines always checked for the slope that will result at the end. There are comments that houses have often sunk and then get repaired at a lower level in relation to their services. So looking at the foundations would allow a repair, but considering the sewers would change that decision.
If there is an issue with the sewer lines, or the proposed work is likely to effect the flow in the lines, then the solutions must consider the effect on those lines before undertaking the work. EQC generally has to consider a whole raft of factors in such instances depending on various scenarios. For this reason they are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. I provide here a link to EQC’s legal position on its approach to repairing houses that sheds light on why this is so:
4. What are the tolerances that EQC/EQR are working to when it comes the floor slopes and wall verticality when repairing foundations with strategies like jack and pack? Is MBIE’s building code advice being used as the benchmark tolerance? If so, why is EQC/EQR not repairing to what people would consider “as new” as lawyers Anthony Harper have argued should be the case.
The staff working on the project are required to identify the earthquake damage. They then develop solutions to repair this damage which must comply with the Building Act.
The MBIE guidelines provide a realistic approach to the repairs and triggers to ensure appropriate decisions are being made by those undertaking the assessments. The guidelines are intended to be a guide, and significant engineering judgement is still required, particularly if the proposed work to return one element of the house to an ‘as new’ condition is likely to cause consequential damage.
5. Last, what is the liability story in the long run if foundations are repaired without consent? Who stands behind the work in five years down the line home-owners believe they were pushed into accepting a substandard outcome and want to pursue legal redress? What is the on-going culpability of EQC and EQR as organisations (given that like Southern Response, they are likely to be folded as entities in a few years).
Our approach has and always will be that all new work (whether it requires a Building Consent or not) must comply with the Building Code to the extent required by the Building Act 2004, this position has recently been reinforced with the building amendment act no.4. Also, under section 112 and Section 42A of the Act, if the building complied with the building code, it must continue to comply, and if it didn’t comply, it must comply to no less extent than it did prior to the work. All lead contractors within the CHRP programme are licensed building practitioners and they have obligations under the Building Act with regard to the quality of work carried out./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Australian Insurer Slashes Flood Premiums
How often do we hear about insurers reducing premiums? If you click the following link you will be taken to an article that describes the slashing of premiums because of the completion of a flood protection programme. Is this something for Christchurch’s future?
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Nominations for the 2014 Volunteer Recognition Awards
Nominations for the 2014 Volunteer Recognition Awards are now open and will close on Wednesday 14 May. If you’re aware of a volunteer, or group of volunteers, who’ve made a difference in our community please consider nominating them. Any not-for-profit organisation or project may nominate, you don’t need to be a member of Volunteering Canterbury.
Awards will be presented by the Mayor of Christchurch, Hon. Lianne Dalziel, at a function on the morning of Wednesday 18 June, as part of our Celebrating Volunteering event.
A nomination form can be downloaded from our website www.volcan.org.nz
Christchurch Community House
Te Whakaruruhau ki Otautahi
Nominations due soon for Community Service Awards
Nominations for this year’s Community Service Awards need to be in by 5pm on Thursday, April 17th.
The awards, run by the Christchurch City Council, recognise individuals and groups who volunteer for the benefit of their community.
Click here for more info and a nomination form.
The annual awards are run at a local level with community boards considering the nominations and awarding those most deserving. The community boards taking part in 2014 are Burwood–Pegasus, Hagley–Ferrymead, Fendalton–Waimairi, Riccarton–Wigram and Spreydon–Heathcote.
“One of the greatest gifts you can give is your own time, and that’s why it’s important to acknowledge the people who do just that in the service of their communities,” says Carolyn Gallagher, the Christchurch City Council’s Community Services Unit Manager.
“There are no restrictions on what these heroes can be nominated for – whether they’ve been coaching a sports team or volunteering at their local church. Now’s the time for the community to let them know just how appreciated they are,” she says./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Minister Media Release from 17th March
Some of you may have already read about this as there has been a fair amount of discussion on this topic. Like many we will be following this closely.
- Minister responsible for the Earthquake Commission released the following media release: Monday 17 March 2014.
Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Gerry Brownlee says EQC is exploring making a financial contribution to Christchurch City Council-led area-wide flood mitigation as part of its role settling residential land damage claims.
“This is being explored as a possible option for settlement of some Canterbury land claims on properties identified as at an increased vulnerability to flooding, including some properties in the Flockton area,” Mr Brownlee says.
“Residential land with an increased vulnerability to flooding as a direct result of the earthquakes is covered by the Earthquake Commission Act.
“EQC has been investigating affected land, as well as looking at how to settle these claims.
“This has included working with the Christchurch City Council in recent months to understand where there may be opportunities to undertake area-wide works to mitigate some of the flooding risk faced by many Christchurch homeowners.
“Any work on an area wide solution to flooding risk will be led by the Christchurch City Council.
“The council is working on the initial stages of identifying where these works could take place and the government has offered any help it can provide to expedite getting them underway.
“EQC and its engineers, Tonkin and Taylor, are continuing to work on identifying properties now at an increased risk of flooding due to the earthquakes and this will be completed shortly,” Mr Brownlee says.
The Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel says the announcement is a positive development.
“It will provide considerable reassurance to residents whose properties are subject to increased flood vulnerability as a result of the earthquakes and who would benefit from area wide solutions,” Ms Dalziel says.
Environment Canterbury’s Winter Air Programme
Environment Canterbury is reviewing its ‘Air Plan’ and so if this is something that is important to you please read through the details below. Also if anyone is interested in an approved log burner – Ethos Ares IS 100 – then please send email firstname.lastname@example.org
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