Fletcher EQR denies liability for damage

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2012
Stephen Moore
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ

NEARLY DONE: Stephen Moore surveys the damage to his bathroom wall done by contractors who had to remove the sink to fix the floor. The parties disagree on who should repair the tiles.

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A few broken bathroom tiles are the only things preventing Stephen Moore from declaring his earthquake-damaged house fully repaired.

Moore's Strowan home received mostly cosmetic damage in the earthquakes but floor tiles in the bathroom needed replacing.

To do that, the toilet and sink had to be removed. The latter proved hard to budge and several wall tiles were damaged in the process.

The contractors and the Earthquake Commission's project manager, Fletcher EQR, say they are not liable for the damage.

Moore said EQR initially agreed to fix the tiles after he complained.

"The next thing I know, I get a letter from [them] . . . basically saying that I had told the contractors that I intended to rip off all the wall tiles anyway, and hence they didn't take any care of them.

"I said no such thing.

"I just got home and [the damage] had been done."

An EQR complaints administrator said in an email no-one was liable for the damage:

"[A Fletcher EQR staff member] has stated that in talking to the contractors . . . you told them that you would be replacing the wall tiles therefore it wouldn't be an issue removing the basin.

"Based on this, we believe that there are no grounds for liability with either the contractor, Fletcher EQR or EQC. We have been fair and reasonable in assessing the EQ damage."

The toilet and sink remain disconnected, nine weeks after repairs started.

Commission general manager customer services Bruce Emson said homeowners were entitled to have damage caused during repairs fixed.

However, the commission had not received a formal complaint, he said.

Now that the commission had been made aware of the circumstances, it would be discussing the way forward with the owner, he said.

Moore had complained through EQR's complaints email system but this was not formally received by the commission.

A commission spokesman said both complaints processes would soon be unified.

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