Rebuilds under way on tricky TC3 sites

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 11/07/2013
Rebuild
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ

ON THE UP: Robbie Baigent's TC3 rebuild in North New Brighton is underway.

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The Rebuild

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Rebuilds are ramping up on Christchurch's worst-affected green-zoned land, despite the complexities involved.

City council figures show 77 new builds on residential technical-category 3 (TC3) land have been granted consent since January.

About 100 consents have been granted in the least-damaged TC1 land, and 233 in TC2, during the same period.

TC3 homeowner Robbie Baigent is among those with a rebuild under way.

Builders will this week install the roof on his North New Brighton home.

It is progress many can only dream of as the land's complexities - mainly new foundation design - contribute to delays.

Baigent adopted the riskier approach of taking a cash settlement and organising his own contractors, rather than a managed rebuild through his insurer.

He was told his property would not be rebuilt before 2015 and was not willing to leave his young family living in a "broken house" for a further three years.

Self-managing had been "relatively easy", Baigent said.

"I felt we were better off out of [the managed rebuild]. It was going to be easier, faster and we'd get a better house.

"It's not something people should feel they're limited by because it's not hard work to do."

Red tape with insurers, banks and the council was the main challenge.

"We probably settled for a lot less than what we could have if we kept fighting, but you've got to make a call. You've got to get your family back into a home or do you want to keep squabbling over money?"

His home had been liveable immediately after the quakes but aftershocks made it leakier and colder during the winter.

The Baigents moved out and bulldozed the house.

"I think we made the right move. The way things are going, we'd probably be a repair and fighting for a rebuild."

He had been "realistic" during negotiations, knowing his 50-year-old house was being rebuilt new.

Baigent received a prompt over-cap payment from the Earthquake Commission, but then spent 12 months negotiating a fair rebuild sum with the insurance company.

His bank was initially "very anti" continuing the mortgage before relenting.

He has a letter of intent for reinsurance after the rebuild, but cover was not guaranteed.

Baigent urged fellow TC3 landowners waiting to build to "stand up for what's right".

"Push the issue, do your homework, get around the housing companies and find out what it's going to cost to build a house the same size and spec as what you've got. Go into the meetings with a basic understanding of where costs are at and aim for that.

"It's not been easy, but we are moving forward now."

Insurance Council spokesman Samson Samasoni said TC3 land was not treated differently to other categories, but was more likely to face challenges such as flood management, foundations, land remediation and geotech issues.

"We're actively working with all the relevant parties, including EQC, to try to resolve these as speedily as possible," he said.

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