Long wait for many quake repairs

While many Christchurch homes were completely destroyed after the region's devastating earthquakes, some homeowners have to wait years before repairs can be carried out. Photo / Paul Estcourt
While many Christchurch homes were completely destroyed after the region's devastating earthquakes, some homeowners have to wait years before repairs can be carried out. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Thousands of Canterbury homeowners will have to wait two more years for repairs to their quake-damaged homes.

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) today announced it aimed to repair 80 per cent of the roughly 100,000 earthquake damaged homes in its repair programme by 2014.

That means some 20,000 homeowners could have to wait three years since the February 22 quake before their homes have been fully repaired.

EQC customer services general manager Bruce Emson said the worst damaged homes, or those with more than $50,000 of damage, would take first priority.

"We hope to have these completed by mid-2013, but it will depend on the number of properties which ultimately fall into this category. We will update our customers on progress against this target as we go."

Mr Emson said the targets were demanding but achievable.

"We have adopted them to provide the people in our managed repair programme with a sense of the timeframes involved, to help with their own planning and decision-making."

EQC said it would regularly update all customers on their repairs from next year.

Some 7000 houses have already been repaired, with another 16,000 currently in the repair or planning stages.

Mr Emson said with full assessments of more than 190,000 properties now completed, planning could ramp up as the settlement details were finalised.

David Peterson, general manager for project managers Fletcher EQR general manager, said the programme had accelerated significantly in recent months, with more contracting resources and fewer aftershocks and emergency work.

"Our recent run rate has been above 1400 completed home repairs per month, which translates to more than 70 homes per day."

Up to $50 million was being pumped into the local economy every month through payments to contractors, he said.

If that rate was maintained during the next two years, some $1.2 billion would go into the local economy.

Mr Peterson said a neighbourhood work pattern would enable contractor and trade resources to be used efficiently.

"This pattern will enable us to indicate to customers when we will be working in each area. Inevitably, the timeframes will evolve as we work through the programme, but our intention is to work with EQC so that this information will be provided as soon as possible.

"In the meantime we are building our contractor numbers and project management resources to meet the coming demand."

Mr Peterson said work had so far been allocated as it became available.

"Going forward, with the workload fully defined and ready to action, it is clear we will need more resources. With that in mind we have been recruiting contractors from within Canterbury as the first priority, and also from the rest of New Zealand."

- APNZ

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