Wrangle over cracked concrete
Earthquake repair work has ground to a halt at a Linwood property as contractors say a "dirty great big crack" pre-dates quake damage.
Repairs on one of Jeff Hale's properties started last month but stopped when workers found a crack in the concrete slab foundation.
Hale was told the crack pre-dated the quake damage and it was his responsibility to fix it.
"They've stopped work and refused to go on until I do repairs," he said. "[It] is essentially earthquake damage but they're claiming it is existing damage."
A scope of works report from January 2011 detailing damage from the September 2010 quake says nothing about a cracked slab and notes the floors were "generally firm".
A report from October 2011, post-February 22, mentions slab damage.
"They accepted the humping [to the floor] was caused by the earthquake but they're claiming the crack was always there," Hale said.
"The builder says: we don't have any money in the budget for this because it wasn't described as part of the scope of works. They've got to go back for a variation."
Repair work was continuing in other parts of the house but an engineering report was needed before contractors would attend to the crack.
"This will be the third one," Hale said. "If I was to hire an engineer to come around and do the report it would cost me more than it would to actually fix the problem."
Hale owns more than 30 properties in Christchurch, many of which suffered quake damage.
"I rely on the rental income from these properties to pay the mortgages. While they stuff round waiting for an engineer to make another report it's costing me."
Such delays could further stretch Christchurch's rental market, he said.
"If you multiply [this problem] over the whole of Christchurch, it's obviously contributing to the shortage of rental properties," Hale said.
Fletcher EQR spokesman Barry Akers said the Earthquake Commission (EQC) determined which damage was caused by quakes.
"That may come at the end of the EQC assessments or it may come later in the process when a contractor arrives to do the work.
"It's not really about when," he said.
"When it arises, the assessment they issued is discussed, and they make that decision."
Fletcher did not comment on individual cases, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News