Thursday, August 20, 2015

Aftershocks, Still Occurring Five Years On.



Only now they are Man Made

September 2010, Saturday 4th 0430,  in our mobile home at Steam Scene, McLeans Island Rd, what sounded like an approaching train,  wasn't and Canterbury was changed for ever by the first of many seismic  events.

Of the subsequent events February 22nd 2011 was the most tragic due to the loss of life as structures were completely brought down and it was the two comparatively modern buildings that accounted for the almost inexplicable and subsequently proven with hindsight, probably avoidable deaths. OK it was a miracle that no one was in the crumbling Cathedral though I have some nominees to be present for a re-run of that sad 1st stage demolition.

Tragic for those who lost loved ones, miraculous for those who set about the rescue as none of them perished, and rewarding for those responsible that so much of the initial response was so well performed amidst the chaos that was always never going to be vaguely similar to anything trained for.
The reality of overloaded communications, clogged roads, general confusion and thousands of people on the move appeared to be miraculously coped with.

Our own residence in Akaroa, suffered all its repairable damage in that first event centred on the Greendale fault near Charing Cross, with none of the many subsequent events centred on the Peninsula and the Port Hills adding to that from the initial event.

As the dust literally settled, some other cracks appeared and grew bigger while those the community had chosen to deal with such matters were too often exposed as having feet of clay.

Two such responses stand out as very poor,  to the ongoing disasters and it is clear those who would rule over us do not have the  necessary intellectual grunt to accept the grievious errors exposed and make glaringly necessary changes.

Insurance where the EQC model was laid bare as a bumbling inept and totally illequipped structure to deal with the unfolding events.
By totally ignoring and intentionally bypassing the relationships and expertise that the industry already possessed and had functioning, EQC set about building from a very small clerical and investment base, a functioning assessment and reinstatement base operation that resulted in many instances of incompetence while all the expertise with its easily augmented resources possesed by the industry watched with growing disbelief at the unfolding chaos.

Then the government made an even bigger error in appointing Fletcher Building as the supreme entity to oversee the rebuild and most of the problems that EQC delivered in the insurance field were repeated,  as Fletchers set about assembling their necessary team.  They resorted to old retired builders, many of whom were operating at a level far in excess of their talent with the added impediment of being forced to work in the unfamilliar work place environment that comes with a large corporate and a bunch of bright young things with little appreciation of the task at hand.
As things  moved on, the pear became further mishapen as the Big Boys working with the serious clout given to the corporate and  ignored almost all the accumulated expertise and experience of the in situ building industry. That new model employed as contractors many who had until then been casual hammer hands, part of an itinerant workforce in ChCh and elsewhere. Painters, carpenters, plasterers, plumbers, tilers, roofers, re-pilers, concrete placers, Gib installers and sparkies were upgraded at the local supplier of overalls, hi-viz jerkins and hard hats to a status equal to builders who had spent years gaining their knowledge, keeping abreast of every modern development in the industry, technical, legal, and practical.
These gurus suddenly elevated in stature, bought a second hand ute, assembled some tools, a few even lower qualified mates and were immediately ordained  as "Builders". I know of some, one would hesitate to engage to repair a rabbit hutch being the contractor to reinstate some very challenging damage to structures that many  experienced builders would hesitate to consider for a project,  particularly under the very limited funding and mind boggling hoop jumping that Fletchers expected to prevail.
In our own case a tiled floor that had cracked was to have the damaged tiles lifted without damage to the "under floor Heating net" below. When the inevitable happened and the heating circuit was totalled there was a requirement to lodge a supplementary assessment for reinstatement with  accompanying delays. Such mindless ignoring of knowledge and trust for a builder of some 30 years
experience in the area, led him to end his association with the rebuild and our reinstatement was his last under the Fletcher model.
I am without a doubt, certain his quote and working with our insurance Company would have had our damage reinstated earlier, more expeditiously, for a far lower figure than that which Fletchers and EQC managed to achieve.

The news that some thousands of repairs are now being revealed as substandard comes as absolutely no surprise and although the suggestion from Darlow, although possibly quite accurate, has ignited a response worthy of a Trumpism.
There will be a very small number of those responsible who will be contributing financially to 'putting it right'.

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