Demolition plan a shock for homeowner

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 08/12/2012
Daniel Tobin

Wendy Rushworth explains what happened when she came home from work to discover her house had been fenced off by a demolition company.

Wendy Rushworth
KIRK HARGREAVES
WRONG HOUSE: A plumber heads inside to reconnect Wendy Rushworth’s water supply after she came home to find her Burwood home had been prepared for demolition.

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A Christchurch woman was shocked to discover her home sealed behind tall fences ready for demolition when she returned from work.

Wendy Rushworth's red-zoned Burwood home had not been scheduled for demolition. All her possessions were inside.

When she came home after work on Wednesday last week, a two-metre fence across her driveway stopped her entering her property.

"It was just shocking. It was more stress on top of the stress we already have. I feel lucky that I wasn't out of town and managed to do something about it.

"They should be more organised than this. I accept people make mistakes, but this is a pretty hard mistake to come home to," she said.

"I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I couldn't believe it. What would have happened if I had come home later? My house could have disappeared, but luckily it didn't."

Rushworth said it was clear her house was occupied.

"I still have garden pots round the doorways and if you look through the windows you can just see it's a house full of furniture."

The fence was erected after Falcon Construction accidentally added Rushworth's property to a list of homes ready for demolition.

Falcon Construction business development manager David Reid said the firm had apologised to Rushworth and removed the fencing.

"We got the wrong address. Between going from my desk to another and then the fencing company it [the instruction to fence the property] went to the wrong address," he said.

Reid said there had been no plan to demolish the house as the confusion related only to the fencing order.

"It was completely the wrong site."

No sign indicated who had erected the fence around the house, so Rushworth called the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera).

A Cera spokeswoman said staff were sent to remove the fence within 30 minutes of the call.

"Wendy spoke to the Cera call centre at 2.43pm last Wednesday and within half an hour Wendy's case manager and four other Cera staff arrived on site. They picked up the fence and put it on the front property . . . Cera had no more involvement," she said.

The situation was further confused by the property in front of Rushworth's home, which was scheduled for demolition, being fenced off the next day.

MWH Mainzeal were managing that demolition, but had no involvement in the fencing mistake, said programme manager Chris Pile.

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