24 Feb 2015

Rebuilding woes four years on

7:04 am on 24 February 2015

About 700 people packed Christchurch's Cardboard Cathedral to hear why, after four years, their quake damaged homes had still not been rebuilt.

The Earthquake Forum was organised by two law firms helping homeowners with insurance problems and heard from experts in insurance, quantity surveying and foundation repairs.

In last night's audience was Ross Houston, who is still waiting for repairs to his Ilam home four years after the 22 February 2011 earthquake. The house was not level and had mould growing inside.

He said his biggest mistake had been trusting his insurer had his best interests at heart.

"I tried to work with them - I guess I should have a long time ago got my own professionals in and pushed it," said Mr Houston.

"They want to pay the least amount out for their loss."

One woman, who wanted to be known only as Heather, said she was stuck in limbo after four years going back and forth between EQC and her insurer.

A lawyer specialising in construction, Rebecca Saunders, said even when repairs were finally carried out, many were being found to be defective, causing a whole new set of problems for homeowners.

Ms Saunders said defective repair work in Christchurch was shaping up to be the next leaky buildings crisis, and councils were likely to end up carrying financial burden.