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