Land information - Technical Category 3 (TC3)

Posted 11 May 2012 by GovtEQC Popular
Posted in EQC , Land Information , TC3

If your property is located in the Technical Category 3 (TC3, or blue/green) area it may mean your land claim progresses in a different way to other properties.

If your house has foundation damage, and there are plans in place to make repairs or replace the foundations, EQC will look to progress the land and building claims together. For instance, if the house is to be lifted or removed to allow foundation repairs, land repairs under the house may be needed, or able to take place, at the same time.

The land claim process for TC3

Flow chart of land claim process for technical category 3

Remediating your land

It’s important to note that EQC cover for land damage is not designed to remediate underlying geotechnical problems with the land in question. For property in TC3, the settlement will not change the category of your property, or reduce the future risk of liquefaction.

Buildings in TC3 that have badly damaged foundations will be repaired or rebuilt to Department of Building and Housing recommended standards, which are designed to ensure it will stand up better to future events. That work is covered under the building claim.

What exactly is TC3?

Technical Categories (TC1, 2 and 3) are a classification developed by the Department of Building & Housing (DBH) to describe how the land is expected to perform in future earthquakes. They are part of the guidance provided by DBH regarding engineering options for new or repaired residential foundations in Canterbury.

See the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority website for detailed information about technical categories and what they mean.

The categories, and the areas they apply to, are based on ground conditions not just the extent of land and building damage caused by the recent earthquakes. Ground conditions include susceptibility to liquefaction in future earthquakes.

Foundation designs will vary depending on the specific requirements of each individual property and the proposed house design. DBH is developing further guidance specifically for TC3, to assist engineers with the foundation design process.

What’s the relationship between TC3 and damage to my land?

Your EQC land damage assessment does not relate to the Technical Category (TC1, 2 or 3) of your property. EQC will assess any damage to your land under your EQC land claim. Any repair work to your land undertaken by EQC will not change the Technical Category for your property.

How does TC3 status affect my insurance claim?

Basically, it doesn’t. EQC and your insurer will honour the terms of your policy, regardless of your Technical Category. Being in a TC3 property means that repair or replacement of foundations requires a specific engineering foundation design for that site, but so long as your insurance is valid, it covers this requirement.

EQC and private insurers will undertake drilling work to get the necessary information for a geotechnical analysis of properties with earthquake damage to foundations.

How long will EQC take to complete geotechnical engineering work on TC3 properties?

At this stage, we are expecting the drilling in the eastern suburbs to be finished in the next six to nine months. Further announcements around timeframes for the remaining western and southern suburbs will be made when we have a clearer picture of the resources available.

Will the house still be insured if the foundations are undamaged and therefore not brought up to TC3 standard?

Yes. As with any change to the Building Code, Technical Category requirements are not retrospective. A house with perfectly good foundations that met the standard at the time they were built will still be insurable.

Some land claims issues

The ‘Financial Agony Aunt’ also threw up some issues to do with the settlement of land claims. The Technical Categories do not affect your land claim, they are part of your building claim with EQC and your insurer. But land claims are an important issue and worth discussing all the same.

Will insurers still honour a policy and repair a house if the land underneath is considered uneconomic to repair?

If your land is considered to be uneconomic to repair by EQC, it does not necessarily mean the land cannot be built on.

For example, if EQC decided to pay out for the maximum entitlement under the Earthquake Commission Act, you and your insurer would need to discuss next steps, based on your individual policy and specific circumstances.  Of course the maximum entitlement will not be paid in all cases – it will depend on the area of insured land that is damaged.

Your insurer may require you to provide for any shortfall in the cost of remediation before agreeing to repair or rebuild your home.

The maximum entitlement depends on a number of factors including the minimum allowable lot size for properties in your area, as stated in the council’s District Plan. This minimum lot size varies across the region. It is not 450m in all areas. 

What does EQC cover as part of a land claim?

If your house is insured, EQC also insures a defined area of your residential land. EQC will assess the amount of damage to your residential land and provide cover up to the maximum amount specified in the Earthquake Commission Act.

Residential land is land on which the house is situated, and land within 8 metres of the house.

Is EQC planning to stop covering land?

No. Our Briefing to the Incoming Minister, from December 2011, discussed changes to the way EQC covers land but crucially for Canterbury customers:

  • There is no suggestion land cover will stop
  • EQC itself doesn’t make these decisions, Parliament does by changing the Earthquake Commission Act
  • Changes will not be retrospective, so all current claims will be covered by the current cover.

For more information

See Technical Category Three (TC3) Investigations and Assessments undertaken by EQC (PDF 1.38MB) for more information about the drilling process and what you can expect as a property owner.

More information about TC3 and other Green Zone categories at:

Department of Building and Housing guidelines:

See a visual depiction of the three foundation categories proposed to remedy the foundation in TC3 categories at the bottom of this article:

You can find more information about EQC land claims at:

More information from this page available here. 

http://canterbury.eqc.govt.nz/land-information-technical-category-3

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