Architect appeals for insurers to play fair

CRAIG BROWN: "I hope insurers are honest and decent in fulfilling their settlement obligations."
CRAIG BROWN: "I hope insurers are honest and decent in fulfilling their settlement obligations."

Award-winning architect Craig Brown hopes insurers will be "honest and decent" when handling schools' earthquake claims.

His comments come just days after Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton told a Christchurch City Council forum he was pushing insurance companies to be more upfront with their customers.

Brown, a director at Melbourne-based McIldowie Partners, is the lead architect for the Rangi Ruru Girl's School rebuild.

He said Christchurch schools faced complex insurance claims.

Schools had several buildings on one site, in varying conditions, so establishing whether to repair or demolish buildings, while considering what was economically viable, was difficult, he said.

"I hope insurers are honest and decent in fulfilling their settlement obligations," he said.

Insurance may not fully cover the estimated $1 billion the Government believes it could cost to repair Christchurch's education network.

The Draft Education Renewal Plan showed that almost half of the city's 215 state and state-integrated schools needed major repairs.

Rangi Ruru, which is an independent school, will partly fund its visionary rebuild through insurance money.

The project will be spaced out over coming years so the school can continue to run, with the board applying for planning consent as the different stages take shape.

The first stage, which involves the demolition of five buildings between Merivale Ln and Hewitts Rd, will begin in October.

The building planned for the site will house the school's teaching space, meaning pupils will be able to move out of the 12 relocatable classrooms they have used since the February 2011 earthquake.

The Press