reader report

Quake repairs: We were 'guinea pigs'

00:00, Jul 31 2013
guinea pig
TRIAL AND ERROR: Annie Bougen's experience as a 'guinea pig' repair home did not end favourably.

We've asked our readers to share their stories of getting repairs done on their quake-damaged homes.

Our four-week repair job turned into 60-plus weeks and we are still waiting for a new benchtop to be looked at 12 months after one of the subbies put a screw from underneath through to the laminate to brace the sink.
This all started on July 14, 2011.

In our first meeting with EQC from the New Brighton Hub, I was told we were their 'guinea pig'. That was fine, they had to start somewhere. But our story seems to be the same as other people's, over two years later. They haven't learnt.

We had poor communication all round; we didn't speak to our project manager on the three occasions he turned up and the subbies were complaining that he wouldn't return their calls. This poor communication resulted in a big truck from a reputable kitchen place clogging up our quiet cul de sac as we waited for the project manager to arrange for the plumber to turn up in the first place.

Then there was the aforementioned benchtop, fitted to the existing cupboard unit underneath, that ended up 10 millimetres out at one end. The poor fellow then had to 'jimmy' out the cupboards on that side to fit. How could they not notice that on completion?

The same benchtop was fitted to the existing tiles on the wall. Somehow six tiles got severely broken in the process, how could they have not noticed that too? 
Had I not been home, the underfloor heating wouldn't have been laid prior to retiling again. There was also paint sloshed down the vertical blinds that needed to be totally replaced.
However the biggest screw-up was the wooden vinyl floor planks in the kitchen, laundry, toilet, hallway and conservatory. They had to be relaid twice as the glue wasn't put on sufficiently first time round, and porous boarding had been put down under the planks in the wet areas and over the top of existing product. 

Some cheeky subbies had already shaved the doors down to close properly, so the redone flooring left some funny looking doors.
The floorlayer also needed to replace the lovely strip we had when the carpet was new three years ago with some ghastly industrial-type strip down to the planks. It was like he forgot he was working on someone's beloved home.
What was over spent on repairs in our house probably could have fixed three more homes.
In fact, our house was not in a bad way at all from the earthquakes. We had renovated our house three years earlier so the project manager could and should have seen how particular we had been in doing things right. That in itself should have made a nice easy job.
During all this frustration and mess we still didn't hear from the project manager. He 'sublet' the job out to some poor young guy.
The last subbie we had here was on the January 7, 2013. A four-week job? Yeah right.
While our house is 'finished', there are some things that we are still not satisfied with but can live with. However we know there are so many more people out there worse off sadly.

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