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Half way there

Posted on Aug 30, 2013

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Gerry-Brownlee-photo-(2)By Gerry Brownlee

By the time the Canterbury Home Repair Programme was established, more than 47,000 emergency repairs and installation of 19,000 heat pumps or solid fuel heaters, intended to mitigate some of the worst impacts of the earthquakes, had already been completed.

The goal of the Canterbury Home Repair Programme was to ensure ongoing repairs would be of sufficient quality to support property values over time, and to manage price inflation for the work done and the materials used.

It is easy to underestimate the extent and the challenges of this programme.

It is managed for EQC by Fletcher EQR, a subsidiary of Fletcher Construction and manages the repair of properties where the cost of repairing the damage is between $15,000 and $100,000. It is the largest residential repair programme of its kind in the world.

Around 80,000 individual residential repairs are required and we recently completed around half of these; 1,800 repairs each month is impressive progress.

Very often the first half of the journey is the hardest.

There’s some truth in this here in Canterbury due to the large amount of preliminary work required for many of the more complex repairs and, in particular, the extensive geotechnical drilling and investigative work necessary to identify the appropriate repairs for homes in TC3 areas with structural and foundation damage.

More than 1,441 holes were drilled in TC3 areas, making it New Zealand’s largest ever residential and drilling programme.

Not surprisingly, of those repairs carried out, 43 percent have been in the eastern suburbs.

And 80 percent of the more complex repairs are also in the eastern suburbs.

In a programme of this size, there will always be examples of home owners unsatisfied with the work completed, the occasional less-than-satisfactory standard of trades. However, more than 80 percent of owners whose property has been repaired under the programme have indicated they are satisfied or very satisfied with the repair work undertaken. I think this is impressive.

The economic value a well co-ordinated and well organised programme such as the Canterbury Home Repair Programme provides is often overlooked.

Around 5,000 people work for nearly 1,300 contracting companies accredited to the programme.

More than $1.25 billion in payments have been made to contractors, which comes out to about three million dollars daily.

These people are, mainly, Cantabrians - living here and part of our lives as family, friends and acquaintances. The money they earn is being spent here in our communities and in our businesses.

EQC has to date paid more than $5.5 billion on building, land and context claims and has set a target of completing repairs to properties with the worst structural damage by the end of this year, with all repairs completed by the end of 2015.

This is a long journey but we are half way through in terms of this significant and fundamentally important home repair programme. EQC, and all of us, should feel a sense of accomplishment.

Gerry Brownlee has been Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery since 2010 and is the Member of Parliament for Ilam, a seat he’s held since 1996.

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