EQC Assessments for the Seddon Earthquakes
It would appear from comments made by Bruce Emson (EQC) in the media 1 August 2013, that EQC has not learnt the lessons from the Canterbury Earthquakes. (See http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough– express/news/8989302/Quake-judgments-could-take-months )
His comments indicate that EQC will, in assessing homes affected by the Seddon earthquakes, use inspection teams consisting of a ‘Trade Certified Builder’ and ‘Estimator’.
EQC’s use of a ‘Trade Certified Builder’ and ‘Estimator’ in assessing Canterbury homes has been a spectacular failure. Major structural damage has routinely been overlooked by EQC’s Canterbury assessors, either by lack of expertise, or a desire to minimise repair costs. Homes that required major structural repairs were assessed in Canterbury as having only ‘cosmetic’ damage.
This new earthquake event near Seddon gives EQC a chance to instigate a more rigorous assessment procedure that provides accuracy, transparency and truth for the homeowner.
The lessons learnt in Canterbury have been that damage can be difficult to determine visually, and that qualified people should be engaged to assess buildings in the first instance.
It should be remembered that it is EQC’s responsibility to repair all earthquake damage in terms of the Earthquake Commission Act. The first part of this repair is to obtain accurate assessments from those that have the required expertise.
With respect, we have seen in Canterbury that a ‘Trade Qualified Builder’ does not have the expertise to do these assessments accurately.
Adrian Cowie, Registered Professional Surveyor Topografo Ltd