EQC has about 5500 shoddily repaired homes to fix

Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment officials Paul Hobbs, left, Adrian Regnault, and Larry Bellamy during a ...
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment officials Paul Hobbs, left, Adrian Regnault, and Larry Bellamy during a press conference about defective quake repairs.

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has about 5500 second-time repairs to carry out on Canterbury homes because of poor workmanship, failed or incorrect repair strategies, scope omissions and new damage

EQC has been forced to take on new full-time staff after being flooded by homeowners wanting remedial work to their properties and it can not say when the second round of repairs will be completed. 

The Government agency has about 5500 second-time home repairs on its books because of complaints about the quality of repairs and other issues. 

Multiple layers of plastic packing were among the problems identified with a substandard jack and pack at a St Albans ...
SUPPLIED

Multiple layers of plastic packing were among the problems identified with a substandard jack and pack at a St Albans property

It also has about 2300 underfloor repairs to reinspect and potentially fix as a result of a Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) report last year.

READ MORE:
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The report found defects with unconsented structural repairs, particularly jack and packs, which involves packing material between the floor and foundations to re-level houses.

Homes needing a second round of earthquake repairs because of poor workmanship, failed or incorrect repair strategies, scope omissions and new damage now make up about 90 per cent of the organisation's workload.

As of December 15, EQC had 746 first-time repairs to do under the Canterbury Home Repair Programme and a further 480 claims were yet to be settled. More claims may yet be pushed over the $100,000 damage cap and be passed on to private insurers. 

A source close to EQC told Stuff  it would take at least two years to complete remedial repairs.

EQC's head of dwelling settlement Michael Price could not provide a concrete time frame but said EQC would have a better understanding of the situation once underfloor inspections were completed.

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About 80 inspections were being carried out weekly, Price said, and the organisation was "exploring options to go faster".

An August 2015 briefing, released to the Labour Party under the Official Information Act, showed EQC expected to receive more than 7000 requests for remedial repairs by the end of March 2016.

Fletcher EQR used to manage such requests and had completed 884 remedial repairs before EQC took over at the start of May, it said.

The briefing said EQC's "current process and resourcing" was unable to meet the demand and needed to recruit 29 full-time staff members, 21 from EQR and 8 new EQC employees, at a cost of about $1.5 million. 

It said 75 per cent of remedial repair requests resulted in further repairs being undertaken or cash settlements of $5000 or less. 

"There is a backlog of requests from customers and this is continuing to grow."

An EQC spokesman said between 45 and 50 staff worked in the post-repair enquiry and MBIE response teams. 

"More will be moved over as workflow demands change," he said.

Information provided to Labour's Canterbury spokeswoman Megan Woods revealed in the 10 weeks from August to mid October, EQC received 1370 requests from homeowners wanting remedial repairs. 

"This problem is just continuing to grow," Woods said.

When MBIE released its findings last year, EQC said about 3600 properties would need to be revisited to ensure work was up to the Building Code.

The EQC spokesman said as of December 22, 604 properties had been checked. More than a third had been checked off as being up to code and not requiring any remedial work while the data for the remaining 389 was still being reviewed, he said.

The Minister Responsible for EQC, Gerry Brownlee, was unavailable for comment.

 - Stuff

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