Cera demolition 'a rip-off'

17:00, Jun 17 2011
Phil Lennon
NON-COMPLIANT: Phil Lennon's demolition plans for his Apex Car Rentals building, above, were turned down by Cera.

The "disgusted" owner of a Christchurch building being urgently demolished says the Government is using emergency earthquake powers to rip people off.

Late last month, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) served Apex Car Rentals with a 10-day demolition notice for its Lichfield St building, on the corner of Madras St.

The building, a former fire station, was seriously damaged in September's earthquake and suffered further damage in the February quake.

On June 7, Cera provided a $448,000 quote for the demolition of the one-and-a-half storey, century-old brick building.

Days later, Apex appointed another contractor to do the job for $194,000.

However, yesterday Cera told the company its plans were "non-compliant" and the building would be knocked down for it.


Apex managing director Phil Lennon said Cera was putting impediments in the way of private contractors and its attitude was "disgusting".

"It's taken them 4 1/2 months to come to us and say the building needs to come down – a blind man could have seen that on the 23rd of February."

Lennon said after getting Cera's quote, Apex had three days to appoint an independent demolition firm and produce demolition plans.

"I understand the building needs to come down and we're not going to cry over that," he said.

"We're being completely ripped off.

"They're using this emergency legislation to shaft people and to make money out of it for private firms."

Under Cera's 10-day notices, building owners must provide a demolition plan, a safety plan, waste-minimisation plan, transport-management plan and a hazard-management plan.

Cera interim deconstruction manager Warwick Isaacs said last night the Lichfield St building was on the urgent list after Monday's quakes.

"We still haven't got a plan from the owner. It's now well past the 10 days. It's urgent, and we're just advising them we're going to get on and do the work."

However, Lennon said he could have provided plans by last night.

When told this, Isaacs said he was happy to look at Apex's plan to ensure it was up to standard, adding: "All we want is the building down."

"We've got more than enough work ourselves."

Isaacs said Cera's demolition costs were quantity surveyor estimates based on $90 a tonne dumping costs.

"If we can get the job done cheaper, of course, that's what the owner pays," he said. "Cera's not making any money on the way through."

Cera will use emergency powers to demolish more than 100 buildings damaged by Monday's earthquakes.

Isaacs said by last night talks had been held with about 20 building owners, of which about five were using independent contractors and 15 "we'll be doing".

Many demolition plans had been substandard, he said.

The Press