Secrets hidden behind walls or underground can be unlocked by a Carterton firm armed with highly specialised equipment and its owner Peter Jackson is a bit puzzled as to why he is not a lot busier on this side of the Rimutaka Hill.

Mr Jackson and his wife Jocelyn own Tick2dig, a company that specialises in finding things in places others can't, like exactly where reinforcing steel inside walls is located, what lies beneath a concrete pad or the spot where bones of the long departed lie at rest in graveyards and urupa.

Reading a Times-Age front page story in mid-March on the prevalence of earth-prone buildings in the Masterton CBD prompted Mr Jackson to question why use of his specialist equipment is not being more widely sought.

The story stated 50 buildings in the CBD have already been classified as earthquake prone and a further 159 are yet to be assessed.


Mr Jackson said he had read many stories over several years about earthquake prone buildings but so far his company had only been once asked for help in locating hidden steel in the concrete wall of a suspected earth prone building.

An electrician by trade, Mr Jackson said he acknowledged he was not an engineer but building owners who had to have their properties assessed could be helped by his scanning equipment and results passed on to engineers or consultants.

Likewise, underground scans were a help to geologists.

"Our services have been used by Arrow International to find the correct position of steel in a multi-storey building in Palmerston North.

"This was in spite of them having detailed drawings of the existing reinforcing.

"They needed to know exactly where the steel was, because during the drilling process in their earthquake strengthening work they kept hitting the steel which they were trying to avoid," Mr Jackson said.

Despite advertising he was frustrated with so little response regarding the particular type of work the company offers.

Mr Jackson said he wondered how assessments of "at risk" buildings are being made.

"To our knowledge we are the only company in Wairarapa who has this technology.

"We are not engineers -- we just have the technology to look inside concrete walls, floors, ceilings and provide a 3-D image of what's underneath the surface."

Ground penetrating radar could detect underground water leaks and the location of cables, he said.