Documents reveal EQ repairs and methodology don't meet building code

Wednesday, 24 August, 2016 - 10:13

With the sixth anniversary of the September earthquake in Canterbury only days away, documents obtained by EQC Fix, under the Official Information Act, show hundreds of repairs referred to the MBIE’s Technical Engineering Panel, did not comply with the Building Code.

Accountant Cam Preston, spokesperson for EQCfix.NZ, says an OIA has revealed from the last 200 homes referred to that Panel, 55% not only did not meet the EQC Act or insurance policy standard of "When or as new", worse they did not comply with the Building Code.

"The issues appear to be related to foundation and subfloor work and although there are simple remedies to some of them to make them compliant with the Code, the main issue is that the Building Code is not and should not have been used, to justify the repairs undertaken on EQ damaged houses," says Mr Preston. "Of course the building code is relevant to repairs as they must comply with the Building Act however it is not and should never have been the starting point the standard is "When or As New".

EQCfix.NZ says tens of thousands of homes have either had assessments undertaken or repairs completed on foundations or in the subfloor, and to see from these documents (which cover the last 200 Technical Panel referrals) that 55% were not compliant with the building code, is raising an enormous red flag.

 

Non-compliant repairs

MBIE say 55% of repairs were not compliant with the building code

"Putting aside for a moment, the obligation of the Insurance Policy to return the house to "When or as new" condition, these documents suggest to us that with Insurance Companies and EQC winding down, anyone who has had an assessment or work done on foundations, should contact their Insurance Company or EQC as soon as possible, to recheck the work," says Mr Preston. "We believe after the end of this year as employee numbers reduce, it will be much more difficult to get satisfaction if people wait until next year. Public funding for services to help them is drying up as EQC and Insurers try to "turn off the tap" and leave town."

 

EQCfix.NZ has letter templates on their website to assist people to request a review, as well as other resources to assist homeowners.

EQCfix.NZ today reiterated the call for an independent inquiry into the way EQC has operated in Canterbury following the quakes.

"MBIE is continuing to support substandard, unconsented foundation repair methods such as "Jack n Pack" and "Epoxy Resin" which camouflages structural damage to foundations that were fully insured for "When New" or "As New" replacement, particularly on TC3 land," says Mr Preston.

EQCfix.NZ says a planned repair can and should comply with the Building Code but if the repair doesn’t return the house or element of the home that was damaged, to an "when or" or "as new" condition, then using the Building Code as a justification for the standard of a repair is wrong, as the EQC joint statement makes clear.

"Our message to homeowners is, protect your asset and make sure you get a review of your subfloor work as soon as possible," says Cam Preston.

Copies of the MBIE slides referred to above are on the Resources page, under the heading, Important Documents, currently item 5.

Melanie Tobeck