Day 514 - Builders laid off as earthquake recovery falters

Posted 22 Jul 2012 by addingtonaction Popular
Posted in Suburbs
This item was posted on the Addington Action website - click here to view the original
Reprinted from Action for Christchurch East

According to the latest bulletin from The Earthquake Commission - 50,000 emergency repairs have been completed, 19,000 families are back in repaired homes, 39,000 are in the process & 100 more jobs are finished everyday.

Action for Christchurch East has been talking with local trades people and Fletchers customers and we have been presented with a very different story...
Months after the September 2010 earthquake contractors and building firms were told to prepare for the pending flood of work, hire enough staff to deal with the rebuild, increase middle management levels and purchase the equipment necessary for the task. In recent days our writers have witnessed qualified builders being sacked, companies left without work and Fletchers EQR instruct building firms to stop hiring.
Canterbury Master Builders in recent days have gone public stating "Canterbury builders...are treading water" ...As well as a lack of work the pricing allowances regulated by EQC and enforced by Fletchers EQR have left many out of pocket. "All of the small firms are finding it tough - I know there are lots of people being laid off because I'm getting a lot of texts asking for work," states the owner of paint and plastering business David J Peters.

In the past week the pricing allowances for materials has been stripped, leaving painters and plasterers dealing with $19 per square metre - a 20 per cent drop in pay! CTU president Helen Kelly has labelled it "an abuse of contracted labour"

To top it off we have heard that EQR hubs have explained to contractors that the work flow will be "at best one new job a week" for each firm. With the majority of work continuing to be paint and decorating, builders and trades people not using the brush or scraper are in serious trouble. 

So how is it the Earthquake Recovery Authority can boast such large numbers of repairs and success stories? Because the vast majority of jobs have been cosmetic and restricted to areas largely unaffected by the quakes. Now that the easy stuff is drying up we're now finding building companies getting trapped into the black hole that is 'work variations'. A variation has been described to us as damage that wasn't reported in the initial EQR inspections. Once the builder's step into a home they are finding the original reports are entirely inconsistent with what they are physically looking at on the day. The time it's taking for insurance companies and the EQC to agree on new pricing is pushing the completion of jobs further and further back. EQC for example, have only budgeted for one or two quantity surveyors per hub, meaning one individual is responsible for working out the pricing of on average 400 properties - and that's before any variations land on their desk!

The legacy of deregulated residential building standards are also beginning to bite - leaky homes is something we have all heard of but now Christchurch is beginning to wake up to its full consequence. As builders strip back the weather boards and pull down plaster board they are discovering mould and rotten timber. As the rot is not earthquake related but the result of past and present politician's decisions who foots the bill? The question is yet to be answered and building firms are forced to put work on hold until they are told otherwise.

The conclusions we are left with are; the EQR Fletchers staff are horribly under resourced, questions surrounding variations and leaky homes remain unanswered and the builders with the skills necessary to fix the city are being left high and dry by EQC. The results speak for themselves.


(Taken from the TC3 Residents forum)
On Monday July 30th the 100 day blue print of the CBD is launched in town. Key, Brownlee, Sutton, media etc will be present to celebrate 'their' milestone. TC3 residents are organising a rally to coincide with this occasion outside the CCC building where the blueprint unveiling will take place. We need the powers that be to take notice that whilst the city may be getting fixed and addressed, we in the suburbs are ignored, abandoned and forgotten. That EQC is a shambles and insurance companies are refusing to engage with us. That the time frames being presented to us are unacceptable - we are real people who are facing uncertainty, ill health both physical and emotional, loss of community, financial loss and the inability to lead a normal, healthy life due to the fact our homes are broken and no one will fix them. We want our homes fixed so we can begin repairing our shattered lives. More info to follow soon - but this is a little over a week away. Share with all your networks - get the word out there. There is power in numbers and we need you there - placards as well.
More info can be found here:


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