Builders urge prompt action on rebuilding city

10:45 pm on 8 March 2011

Builders say it is vital that rebuilding in Christchurch begins immediately.

The Government says 10,000 homes will have to be demolished and early indications are that another 100,000 homes have been damaged following the 6.3-magnitude quake on 22 February.

The Insurance Council had warned after the 4 September quake that rebuilding Christchurch could take at least three years.

Master Builders Federation chief executive Warwick Quinn says work was about to begin just before February's quake struck.

He says local tradespeople are without work and rebuilding needs to be made a top priority.

"We've got to make sure that the work assessed prior to the latest quake is quickly reassessed and contracts are entered into and the work gets going."

Mr Quinn also warns that building costs have been rising steeply which will erode the ability of people to rebuild if the process takes too long.

Some buildings to be demolished without consent

Civil Defence national controller John Hamilton says four central city buildings in the red zone have been earmarked for demolition without the consent of their owners.

Mr Hamilton says the owners live overseas and it has been difficult to contact them. There has been a degree of urgency because of the risk the buildings pose to search and recovery teams.

Mr Hamilton says the focus on Tuesday will be on sorting out access for business owners to dangerous buildings so they can retrieve their belongings.

The queue is long, and while many owners are getting frustrated, the job is a dangerous and time-consuming one, he says.

Labour's Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns says a process needs to be set up to affirm there are historic buildings that deserve to be protected.

Mr Burns says his main worry is that Christchurch could lose more character buildings than is necessary.