11 Sep 2015

Call for Royal Commission over repairs

11:39 am on 11 September 2015

A group of Christchurch homeowners unhappy with their earthquake repairs are calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

A petition calling for the inquiry was handed out at a packed earthquake repair standards public meeting held in the Transitional Cathedral last night.

A packed meeting at the Transitional Cathedral last night.

A packed meeting at the Transitional Cathedral last night. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment report into structural repairs released last month revealed more than a third of the surveyed homes failed to meet the building code.

Earlier this week more than 100 Christchurch homeowners launched a class action against the Earthquake Commission saying it had failed to meet its legal obligations regarding repairs.

Lawyer Duncan Webb from Lane Neave told the meeting a solution to shoddy repairs needed to be found and policies needed to be honoured.

"People are not happy with their repairs, the problem is there are too many grey areas, if something is safe it will reach the building code, that doesn't mean it looks right."

Mr Webb said a Royal Commission of Inquiry was needed to identify the causes of the defective repairs, and to recommend steps to prevent bad repairs being carried out in the future.

"The problem is people don't understand their rights and are unaware they can get help, home owners need to understand building contracts are negotiable.

"I read through a building contract the other day that was 400 pages long, the home owner only had a few days to sign off on it, it is so important people seek legal advice and have others read their contracts."

Mr Webb said if people were unhappy with repairs, they had options including; negotiating a remediation, negotiating a settlement, look at a dispute resolution or as a last resort litigation.

"We need a Royal Commission of Inquiry to figure out what has happened here, who is liable and how we can learn from this for the future.

"I will personally present the petition to parliament." Mr Webb said.