What to Check Around Your Home After an Earthquake

after an earthquakeAfter an earthquake, there are some things you’ll need to check or get done straight away. First, inspect your foundations and essential services first. You must check they are are safe and secure and unaffected by the earthquake. Next, contact your insurance company and EQC. This is because they need to approve your claim before you hire a tradesperson, unless you need emergency repairs.

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Posted In: Carterton, Central Otago, EQC Help, Handymen, Invercargill, Kaikoura, Kaipara, Roofers

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repair earthquake damageWe have received many questions about which jobs you can use Builderscrack for, versus those that you need to have pre-approved by the Earthquake Commission.

To help clarify requirements when you want to repair earthquake damage, guidelines are set out below.

Emergency work to repair earthquake damage

If you require emergency repairs to your house (e.g. security, safety, and weatherproofing issues), you need to contact EQC or EQR (Fletchers) and organise through them first.

Non-emergency work where your claim has been settled by EQC

Builderscrack is an ideal place for you to source tradesmen to repair earthquake damage where your claim has already been settled by EQC. However, if the work includes structural and/or chimney damage get in contact with EQC first for advice on how to proceed.

Repairs costing between $10,000 and $100,000

You have two options for using Builderscrack to find tradesmen to help repair earthquake damage  to your house when the value of the damage has been assessed at less than $100,000 + GST. Once you have posted the job on Builderscrack you can either:

Use any tradesman of your choice provided that you complete the opt out forms (phone EQC and ask for them), which enable you to do the work outside of the Fletchers EQR scheme. Ask your selected tradesman to provide a detailed quote which covers the same areas as those on the scope of works completed by the EQC estimators. Then submit the quote to EQC.

If the tradesman provides a higher quote than the original EQC assessment, discuss this difference with EQC and reach an agreement regarding any additional costs: EQC will not pay more than its estimated value of the repairs without further agreement. Once EQC has accepted the quote, the builder may begin the repair work.

Make sure to obtain any necessary building consents before work begins – your selected tradesman should be able to help with this. Normal best practices apply when choosing a tradesman – ask for details regarding licensing and insurances, see the section choosing a tradesperson. Note that it is possible for EQC to make progress payments provided that the appropriate details are laid out on the tax invoice.

PLEASE NOTE – even if you opt out, Fletchers will pay the tradespeople directly – they will not pay you.

Or, choose a tradesman on Builderscrack that has already been accredited by Fletchers EQR (specify this is what you would like in the details when listing your job). Once you have selected an EQR accredited tradesperson, ask them to quote on your job and contact the relevant Fletchers EQR office to discuss project management.

Tradesmen, see the EQC guidelines regarding how to prepare invoices.

Repairs costing less than $10,000

You will receive a payout in this case. Then post your job on Builderscrack and tradespeople will chase you. You define and manage the work and pay the contractors.

Posted In: Builders, Christchurch, EQC Help

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The Canterbury Earthquake has affected us, our neighbours family and friends personally. Jeremy, a director, and the CTO of Builderscrack.co.nz, is based in Christchurch, and describes his personal earthquake experience. Given the importance of Christchurch to us, we want to do as much as we can to help make the repair effort as efficient as possible.

christchurch earthquakeWe recognise that the demand for builders, plumbers, roofers and handymen after the Christchurch earthquake is going to be high. For a large number of repairs, the work required will be urgent. Builderscrack.co.nz is in a good position to help. When tradesmen are busy, phoning around can be particularly frustrating.

Builderscrack has over 9,000 tradesmen actively looking for work (with over 1,000 of these in Christchurch and surrounding areas). Having seen the damage on TV, a number of tradesmen from around NZ have contacted Builderscrack with offers to help out in Christchurch.

If you need a tradesman to help with your Christchurch earthquake repairs, please post your job on Builderscrack, and we will ensure that you find someone who can help.

Insurance

For any emergency/urgent repairs, post your job, lodge your claim with the EQC (if insured). Take photos of the damage before it is fixed and keep all receipts. For any non urgent repairs check with your insurance company first.

For information about EQC processes see Christchurch Earthquake EQC information.

Posted In: Christchurch, EQC Help

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SHAKE SHAKE

I’m awake – tired, but wide awake! The whole house is shaking. I knew that when I jumped out of bed and couldn’t stand that this was one big earthquake. Jo, my wife, jumped out of bed and said grab the baby (I had to as I found out later because her arm was asleep and couldn’t hold anything). Then the lights started to flick on and off. Then they went off for good. I could hear crashing, smashing and rumbling. I thought the house was collapsing. I started to move towards our baby daughter and the quake assisted by throwing me into her room. She was fast asleep for the first time that morning. I took her out of the swing and bolted down the pitch dark stairs with her in my arms.

Jo was busy telling the older kids to get under the doorways. Our four year old was onto it however. She was already ducking and covering as taught in Kindy. Our 6 year old was a little more aware, and was notably frightened, but he was doing what he was told.

I couldn’t find a torch. I went for the pantry but my feet told me the entire contents of it were over the kitchen floor. I knew there was a torch somewhere there, but also knew I had no chance of finding it now!

Next my thoughts were this – that was a very big earthquake and we live in a city near an ocean. I had no idea where the quake epicentre was. All I thought was quake + ocean = bad. I said to Jo I think we should drive and then shouted to the kids to get their dressing gowns on, we’re getting in the car.

It was still dark. I went to the garage and in the dim light I noticed that a whole lot of wood sheets had trapped the car. I moved the wood, manually opened the garage door, and we managed to get all three kids into the car. So far about 5-10 minutes had passed since the quake. We were now a family unit and could move together – I felt a lot safer even though we were still in the driveway.

We saw our neighbour Graeme across the road and we called him over to talk. I told him what I was thinking. However he was of the understanding that a tsunami wouldn’t reach us – although we are only a few metres above sea level, we are some distance from the coast. My brain now starting to engage, thought, “yeah, you’re right”. My 6 year old son who had now calmed down was saying “Dad, this is just like a movie” – yeah, he was right, you usually see this stuff on the big screen.

LIGHT OF DAY

Jo, the baby, the two oldest kids and I snuggled up in my son’s bed. I dozed for an hour while the kids next to me watched a movie on my laptop. Around 8am another big aftershock happened. We just stayed put and watched the trees swaying outside. I was now relatively nonplussed as I was exhausted and the large aftershock was nothing compared to the main quake.

We got up and surveyed the damage. We got off pretty light really. The pantry contents were on the floor, a big mirror in the lounged smashe on the ground, a number of plates, vases and glasses smashed, a wall with cracks in it, dishwasher broken, floor slightly buckled, and two chimneys damaged. It could have been worse – we still had a solid roof and four walls!

We went and talked with more neighbours. They gave us coffee and exchanged stories. One of our neighbours got his BBQ out and fired it up on the street.

LOCAL DAMAGE

It was apparent that our neighbours and us had relatively little damage compared to other parts of the city. We rounded up a few neighbourhood kids and went for a walk to assess the damage in the local area. We saw the damaged Methodist church on Papanui Road and beside a van now flattened by the fallen bricks. Also every second chimney was down and people were busy weather proofing their houses while the sun was out.

After the kids were in bed and my four year old daughter had made herself safe for the night, we settled down and started to watch the TV coverage. Next thing, Paul our neighbour knocked on the door excitedly telling me to get my camera and follow him down the street. A water main had just exploded and was showering water 30 metres into the air over the road and a house. It was impressive to see just how much pressure is in those pipes!

Well that’s about it – the after shakes continued into the next day.

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Posted In: Christchurch, EQC Help

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resource management consultantResource Management consultants are tradespeople who specialise in getting the most out of a homeowner’s land and home.

They seek to maximize the utility (efficiency and effectiveness) of every resource and to consider what additional resources would improve the capabilities.

In essence, the resource manager improves the homes functionality by making the most out of available resources.

Resource Management Consultants will be able to assist with resource consent applications, assess the effects on the environment, and project planning and management. They will be able to undertake environmental planning and work with councils on behalf of homeowners on difficult cases, providing advice on development potential and future prospects for your land.

Resource Management Consultants may provide the following services:

  • full residential subdivision design
  • consent
  • project management
  • rural subdivisions
  • commercial consents (motels, schools, factories etc)
  • comprehensive housing developments
  • water permits
  • discharge consents
  • gravel extractions
  • submissions to District Plan variations
  • submissions to Annual Plans

The Resource Management Act (RMA) is permissible legislation with the Regional and District Plans setting out what you are to undertake on your property without the need for a consent – plus setting the different levels of consent (controlled, discretionary etc) that would be required for differing activities (subdivision, buildings, uses/activities etc).

Hire a Resource Management Consultant

Posted In: Auckland, Resource Management, Rotorua, Ruapehu, Selwyn

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pilingA foundation or piling contractor is a tradesperson skilled in the development of  foundations of a building. The house foundations are the system on which the home sits. Sometimes the house foundation rests upon the footings and supports the floor system – as with conventional foundation walls.

There are many different types of foundation, such as masonry, concrete, wooden and piles. Piles are typically used where the available soils are unable to support the necessary loads with the use of more traditional spread footings and their supported masonry or concrete foundation walls.

Concrete piles are components of a foundation which is driven into ground to make sure it’s embedded deeply.  Pile foundations require a lot of concrete piles during construction, and the piles will connect to the footers of the foundation. They distribute the weight of the building, which reduces the risk of collapse.

foundationsIt’s necessary to hire a foundation and piling contractor when building a house, as without the correct foundations a house can be very weak.

There are various regulations around piling and foundations, which a specialist will be able to advise you of when discussing the job.

The services of a foundation or piling contractor include:

  • Housing foundations
  • Building foundations
  • Raising foundations
  • Basements
  • Repiling and piling repair

Posted In: Auckland, Coromandel, Foundation Specialists, Piling & Foundations, Tauranga

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BuildersA builders tasks vary widely, but generally builders will coordinate the different types of construction involved in building a house, office or other building.  An architect will usually design the structure and create blueprints and the builder will oversee the construction process.

A builder will often be involved in getting any necessary building permits and consents, and having land surveyed so they know what they’ll need in the way of drainage etc.  Once a builder has the land ready, they’ll begin building. Builders will remain on-site throughout the construction process to ensure that the structure is built correctly and according to plan.

As an example, during a new house build, a builder will initially oversee the foundations being laid, then the frame of the house being erected and then the roof.  Builders will then work with plumbers and electricians to get power and water to the house.  Other tradespeople may be employed to do different tasks. A carpenter may be required to put in flooring, landscapers to do the front yard and painters to paint the house inside and out.  As a builder will need to organise all these other tradespeople, they’ll need to know a lot about these different fields so they know that a job is being done correctly.  A builder will coordinate all the other tradespeople to ensure things are done in the correct order.

A Builders toolbox will often include:

  • Hammer and nails
  • Screws
  • Saws
  • Levels
  • Screwdrivers
  • Electrical tools

Builders may begin their job by helping the client to obtain building permits, and by surveying land in order to get a scope for how to go about building on it. Drainage and natural vegetation are usually assessed and acknowledged. Builders are on-site during construction checking that all aspects of the structure are built according to plan.

The services offered by a residential builder can vary widely. Many choose to specialize in particular types of projects, such as green homes, housing developments, custom homes, or homes of a particular style. When hiring a residential builder, a homeowner should plan to meet with multiple builders.

Posted In: Auckland, Builders, Carpenters, CHB, Christchurch

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