Element - - Cover Story -

While cen­tral Christchurch gets re­duced to a vast park­ing lot, re­pair work is be­ing done at tens of thou­sands of pri­vate homes around the city. The Earth­quake Com­mis­sion, which cov­ers up to the first $100,000 of dam­age, con­tracted Fletcher Con­struc­tion to project man­age re­pairs on claims up to that sum. David Peter­son, Fletcher’s gen­eral man­ager for earth­quake re­cov­ery, al­ready has 450 staff and 3500 con­tac­tors, and he will need 7000 con­trac­tors to get the work done within the three-year tar­get. Crit­ics say the op­por­tu­nity is be­ing lost to in­su­late homes at the same time they are be­ing re­paired. Peter­son says the brief is to re­store homes to their pre­vi­ous state, not im­prove them, but the pol­icy could change. “We have put a pa­per to EQC that I think has gone to Gerry Brown­lie’s team to say if want they us to (in­su­late), they should be aware of the haz­ards of old wiring and the fact it may take longer. “What we are of­ten do­ing is fix­ing one sec­tion of ex­ter­nal wall, so that room could be warmer with in­su­la­tion, but the over­all house would not be im­proved.” That said, it has re­placed more than 18,000 chim­neys with more ef­fi­cient log burn­ers and/or heat pumps, which should have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on the re­gion’s win­ter air qual­ity. He says sus­tain­abil­ity is built into the way Fletcher op­er­ates.

Fletcher Build­ing’s gen­eral man­ager for earth­quake re­cov­ery David Peter­son with a map show­ing the city di­vided into ge­o­log­i­cal risk zones.

Photo: Stu­dio La Gonda

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