Urgent house demolition in Redcliffs

18:51, May 20 2013
house landscape
DEMOLITION: The Balmoral Lane property will be destroyed this afternoon.

A flurry of aftershocks and bad weather forced the urgent demolition of a quake-damaged Redcliffs house today.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) staff started demolishing a Balmoral Lane property this afternoon, after becoming concerned about its stability.

Police were alerted just before 1pm by Cera staff who had concerns about the house above Main Rd, near the Moa Cave and a cordon was set up.

house std
TEETERING: The unstable house above Main Rd in Redcliffs.

Port Hills land clearance project director Brenden Winder said officials had noticed the building was "pretty distressed" last week, and had been monitoring it.

After the flurry of small aftershocks and bad weather over the weekend, the decision was made this morning to demolish the building.

Winder described the Port Hills environment as "dynamic" and with the reduced capacity of the house to stay structurally sound, buildings are "going to move".


If the building was not demolished today, it probably would have collapsed on to the road below, he said. 

An excavator was being used to take apart the house from behind, and the debris was expected to stay atop the cliff.

However, there was a small risk some could come down the cliff onto surrounding properties, he said.

The building was was expected to be demolished by tonight.

The emergency demolition may also have a ripple effect, spurring Cera to reassess other cliff-top properties in the area.

"It has raised the question, among others, on whether or not we should be taking a look at some more and we'll probably do that, I'd expect we'll do that relatively quickly," Winder said.

"We'll go back and review our systems around how we're going to make sure we know more about these properties, but I don't have any particular concerns with any houses right now."

One nearby resident was asked to leave their property, and others returning to their homes after the cordon was set up were turned away.

Owner John Scott said he was happy the house was being demolished.

"It is in the red zone and it had to come down at some stage and it is coming down now,'' he said.

The Press