EQC "Remedial Work" vs Deficient Repair Strategies - What you need to know.

In blog post one we highlighted how, due to EQC not increasing its $100,000 "cap" since 1993, by 2016 even minor repairs quickly exceeded that cap.

EQC were well aware of this when the Canterbury Earthquakes struck.

In blog post two we explained that one of EQC's strategies to deal with the size, scale and cost of the damage was to pretend that the standard of reinstatement for homes was not "When New" but just "pre-earthquake", "3 September 2010", "functional" or some other lower "performance based" standard. We also demonstrated that the directive to water down EQC's obligations came from its CEO.

Over the last few months you may have noticed that through group action and other avenues homeowners are starting to realise that they have been short changed by EQC.

EQC appear to have started to panic as these fundamental mistakes return to haunt them.

We have seen EQC try to throw MBIE in front of the problem by getting them to 'independently survey' repairs to try and down play the size of the problem.

EQC then used its Project Manager - Fletcher Construction - to blame Irish contractors.

However now that both these strategies have failed to stem the flow of complaints and requests for review. EQC now have resorted to the strategy of throwing small cash sums at homeowners to make them go away in the hope that this will encourage them not to investigate EQC's original scopes and assessments a little more closely.

EQCfix.nz urge homeowners to not take the cash bait now offered by EQC too quickly, or sign any 'full and final' discharges without good advice.

It is important to remember that EQC assessed damage and repair strategies to the fundamentally wrong standard from day one.

Therefore if homeowners are approached by EQC with a cash offer to "go away" please ensure you understand what you are agreeing to and possible foregoing.

For some context don't forget that the Private Insurers have placed a huge amount of pressure on authorities not to help homeowners. EQC have done their best to keep as many claims as possible 'undercap', however it is getting harder for EQC to stop the 'flow'.

This is hurting private insurers profits, for example Tower recently disclosed the pain they are feeling:

Tower Disclosure to NZX 9 September 2016

Tower Disclosure to NZX 9 September 2016

This problem is the same for every other private insurer including Southern Response.

EQC are under even more pressure than ever before to not push your home 'overcap', but as we have pointed out, even seemingly minor repairs quickly escalate over the $100,000 cap. 

So while EQC are trying to turn the tap off for Private Insurers, using "their telephone assessments" or asking customers to get a "quote" for their scopes of work,  remember it is pointless engaging in negotiations with EQC until you know the true extent of your damage and you know the true cost to reinstate your home to "When New".

It is up to you.

Reassessing damage and repair strategies is not "Remedial Work".

"Remedial Work" as EQC attempts to frame it, implies the damage assessment and repair strategy was correctly assessed to the right "When New" standard, and the only problem is the execution.

But that is not the reality.

EQC have, with the help MBIE, tried to mask the more substantial issue: that EQC did not assess damage and appropriate repair strategies to the "When New" standard required from day one. 

EQCfix.nz have put together a lists of 'warning flags' that in our experience suggest that EQC's assessment of your home and strategies to return it to "When New" may be seriously deficient, so if your original EQC Scope of Work (SOW) or other EQC documentation :

1. makes reference to "floors are less than 100mm out of level - only relevel required"; or

2. contains reference to trying to get your floors back to level within a "50mm tolerance" or so that the "doors and windows open again" or some other performance based standard; or

3. only contains one 'level' measurement in each room of your home, and/or the measurement is in the middle of the room, or is taken in inconsistent locations in each room, this could indicate that the EQC Assessor was trying to 'cherry pick' level readings to get a result to fit the MBIE Guidance thresholds; or

4. makes explicit reference to MBIE/DBH Guidance pages or tables for damage assessment thresholds (such as crack widths, out of level thresholds); or

5. contains reference to just needing to "pack or fix about six piles" in your home, then EQCfix.nz has noticed that repairing "about 6 piles" is a consistent pattern and another strong indication that your EQC Assessor was working to a pre-determined repair strategy; or

6.contains the strategy "grind-out cracks and expoxy repair" in foundation perimeter walls or concrete slabs, then this is another flag that your foundation damage may not have been assessed to "When New" standard, a particular problem in TC3 and TC2 land areas; or

7. 'technical reports' (such as the 'engineering report' or 'geotechnical report'or 'foundation report') on your property does not contain a name or signature of a real person, or the names that do appear on the 'technical reports' do not state the qualifications of that real person (such as chartered engineer) and your home is on TC2 or TC3 land, then this is another flag that your damage and repair strategy may not be correct.

While there are many other flags, you will note that the above list concentrates on foundation damage.

This is a major problem for EQC and Private Insurers and can't be underestimated.

In summary, it is vital that homeowners understand:

a) their "When New" and "As New" rights under their replacement insurance polices with EQC and their insurers; and

b) That EQC have been under a huge amount of pressure to keep as many homes undercap as possible. This has lead to extremely poor damage assessments and repair strategies for repair work that was both attempted by EQC and cash settled by EQC; and

c) EQC created this mess - they will not voluntarily make it right, no matter what they tell you - they are are trying to turn off the tap - It is up to you to push your claim forward.

d) If you need help - get it - it is worth the investment.

Cam Preston