7 Mar 2016

EQC to reinspect damaged drains

5:55 pm on 7 March 2016

The Earthquake Commission has changed its tune on the reason why some Christchurch homeowners need to have their quake damaged drains and sewage pipes re-inspected.

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Photo: RNZ/ Conan Young

Earlier today it announced publicly that pipes would be inspected, regardless of whether they had already been checked, in order to give it the most up to date information.

It already had 2500 claims for damaged pipes but expected this to more than double as a result of today's announcement.

This afternoon an email was leaked to media saying the re-inspections were being carried out because the ones done initially were of a variable quality.

The commission's claims manager Trish Keith later admitted to RNZ News the leaked email had been sent out to stakeholders, including councils.

She confirmed the variable quality of the earlier inspections was the reason the checks were being carried out again.

EQC didn't have proper procedures in place at the time the initial inspections were carried out, she said.

Road damage near the Avon River following the February quake.

Road damage after the February 22, 2011 quake. Photo: 123rf

She admitted that five years on from the earthquakes it would be frustrating for homeowners to have to put in another claim for work they thought had already been done.

"For some customers, yes it will be a re-inspection, but at least they can be certain that the information is consistent and that we are following the process here for every contractor."

She had no idea how much the extra work would cost but expected most payouts would be in the thousands rather than tens of thousands of dollars.

The commission was not being upfront with people, Labour's earthquake recovery spokesperson Megan Woods said.

She questioned whether the quality of other inspections could also have been compromised.

"This raises the question for me, what else are they keeping from us.

"This is one email that's made it through, that we know that this isn't a proactive measure from EQC. This is a fix up on botched work, so what else falls into that basket."

The commission now has 5500 homes on its books because of complaints about the work it had carried out on them initially.

Together with new claims this made up about 90 percent of all its work.

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