What can you say when it comes to the Canterbury situation? From the RMBF we want to express our sympathy, concern and support for all of you and Iet you know the whole of New Zealand is behind you and we want to do everything we can to help.
It is truly a fast moving beast so by the time you are reading this article things would have moved on.
The RMBF has been doing as much as it can during the early stages of the recovery. We are maintaining a register for the EQC for those who may want to assist with assessing and estimation work.
We have also provided the Department of Building and Housing a list of those members who are able to supply kitset/modular-type accommodation. Thanks to all of you who responded so quickly to our request.
Housing needs are immediate, including urgent shelter requirements. There is also likely to be an interim need for accommodation to house those whose homes will eventually be rebuilt.
Accordingly, the Government is investigating short-term shelter (anything from caravans and the like) to easy and quick to erect structures such as modular/kitset housing.
The RMBF is also part of BusinessNZ, and a number of subcommittees have been established to look into various aspects of business and needs in Christchurch.
We are represented on two of those committees, one relating to building needs and the other accommodation requirements, similar to the above.
Other committees are looking into things such as water supply, food and household goods, energy support, health services, banking and finance.
Liquidity is of primary importance for us at this time. The Canterbury region’s building activity was essentially on hold after the September 2010 quake until recently. This is the best part of five to six months which has put pressure on builders’ cash flows.
The region cannot afford to stall again, and building activity must start in earnest as builders cannot wait another five to six months again without regular and steady incomes.
It is clear that there will probably be the best part of a decade’s work ahead in the region, and we would hate to lose builders over the short term due to a lack of activity.
We have conveyed our concerns to senior Ministers and others on the importance of this, so we will have to wait and see the outcome.
We have also been in discussions with those managing the first insurance work to urge them to let that work continue (where it is unaffected) to keep cash and capability in the system.
We have also discussed the matter with the Christchurch City Council and, while we appreciate and understand the issues that it has to deal with in the aftermath of February, it agrees that existing work cannot be held up due to a lack of inspections.
Obtaining insurance also a problem
The CCC will have support from many local authorities from around the country, but other options may need to be considered going forward.
Obtaining insurance is also a problem at present. Major insurers have recently released a statement that they are not currently accepting new property risks in the Canterbury region.
While this is no different to what happened after the September quake, it interferes with property settlements and the ability to commence new work.
We have been talking with our insurers who are willing to see if they can find a solution if some are having problems, so please contact MasterSure if you need any advice.
On another note, we have just supported the launch of a web site designed to recognise and celebrate the many incredible stories we are already hearing coming out of the Christchurch region.
These stories of local heroes, and what they did, are truly inspirational, and we are delighted to be associated with a site that provides the people of Canterbury an opportunity to tell their tale about someone who did something for them, no matter how small.
Our supporting partners include Newstalk ZB, the Sunday Star Times and Habitat for Humanity. So please Canterbury, if you wish to recognise the efforts of your quake heroes you are most welcome to do so at www.quakeheroes.co.nz.