Press newspaper’s expose of CTV builder’s fraudulent qualifications

For those of you living outside of Christchurch you may have missed the Press newspaper’s lead story this morning. Headed A life of lies it documents how William Anthony Fisher, construction manager for the company that built the CTV building, was a fraud. He was actually Gerald Shirtcliff, who had stolen the identity of another man and his engineering qualifications. The online version is here. .

Demolition videos – CBD Red Zone

Demolition News is the best demolition website on the internet. If it is demolition related, this is the place to look.

Part of the coverage provided by the site is videos of demolitions – successful or otherwise. Often there are videos of demolitions in the CBD, such as the one of Natcoll House here. The home page is here.

Fletcher EQR – Customer Complaints Policy

Fletcher/EQR have also put their Customer Complaints Policy on the website. Dated the 10th of April 2012, it is a short statement of the principles involved.

At this stage it lacks detail on aspects that may become very important at the time e.g. if the complaint relates to quality of materials, choice of technology or method, or workmanship, will work stop on the house until the complaint is resolved?

If the answer is no, then a couple of days activity may hide the evidence, or have allowed work to progress so far that there is widespread reluctance to undo what has been done and start again.

The customer’s right to seek independent advice or assistance (see below) may also run into the same problems of continued activity hiding the problem or progressing beyond some point of economic no-return. The customer may be faced by aggressive opposition by sub-contractors (or sub-sub-contractors) outside EQR’s direct control. How will this be handled if EQR have no direct relationship with the business that is the focus of the problem? How fast can EQR respond to complaints?

Should a customer pursue the option of advice or assistance, what stance will EQR take on the advice obtained? If there is a difference of opinion between EQR and the independent advice, who will be the independent adjudicator and can they make a binding decision?

Some guidance is needed for customers as to the independent advice and assistance that is available, not just professionals in the field but also to the Christchurch City Council regarding compliance (if it is thought to be non-compliant), the Department of Building and Housing, and EQC if it is considered there is a breach of the customer’s entitlements under the EQC Act.

From the policy statement (full document here).

Your rights as a Fletcher EQR customer

You have the right:

  • To be treated with courtesy, respect and fairness at all times.
  • To have access to information about your repair.
  • To provide feedback or raise a complaint if you are unhappy about the service provided.
  • To seek independent advice or assistance if you are not satisfied with Fletcher EQR’s resolution of your complaint.

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Fletcher/EQR – Customer services statement

Fletcher/EQR have placed a Customer Services Statement on their website. The document, dated the 10th of April 2012, outlines the policy of the company with regard to the repairs they will be responsible for, on behalf of EQC.

The gist of the one page document is:

What you can expect from Fletcher EQR:

  1. Project management of high quality repairs, undertaken by independent contractors, who have completed our accreditation process;
  2. Quality assurance to ensure works and materials meet required standards;
  3. Compliance with the building codes and consenting requirements, and obtaining code compliance certificates for the work where applicable; 
  4. Programming contractors, consultants and other procurement to complete repairs in a timely fashion;
  5. Paying contractors, suppliers and consultants on behalf of EQC;
  6. Screen contractors and suppliers to ensure quality standards can be met;
  7. Obtain expert advice, where required, from engineers, architects, designers and other consultants;
  8. Provide the opportunity to comment on all aspects of our service by contacting us at any time;
  9. Prompt, helpful and friendly response to telephone and e-mail enquiries, normally within two working days;
  10. Provide regular news updates on our website to keep you informed of all our latest guidance in all areas;
  11. Make an initial response to complaints within one working day.

It is interesting to see, in points 9 and 11, that time standards are set for responding to enquiries and especially complaints. I wonder what the internal accountability systems are for meeting these are?

Point 8 seems the closest they can come to discussing what customers want – which may fall short of being able to agree on a range of things from materials to methods. Always in the background is the need for a mutually convenient time for repairs to take place. The various things that happen in families, and the difficulties of finding accommodation if you have a big family, or animals or whatever, means the practice of “be out in week or go to the bottom of the pile” needs to be tackled.

The Customer Services Statement, and other policy statements, can be found here.
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Gib board damage – best practice for assessment, repairs, and replacement

With an increasing number of complaints about the quality of Fletchers/EQR repair work, having an understanding of what constitutes good practice and appropriate repairs is a good form of self help (and self defence).

Winstone Wallboards, manufacturers of Gib Board, have a web page that provides a range of printed articles, reports and booklets covering the assessment and repair or replacement of damaged wall board. Of particular importance is the information on how Gib Board provides internal strength to a house, and how the correct (or incorrect) treatment of damaged wall board affects the structural integrity of a house.

If you read only one item then this is the one to read: Repairing Earthquake Damaged Linings, an article that originally appeared in Build magazine. The two page article can be downloaded from here.

The article spells out clearly why the very careful checking of wallboard damage is needed, what hidden damage there may be, the best practice methods for checking the extent of the damage that has occurred, appropriate fixes, and the inevitable problems that will result from simple fixes.

All the articles etc. can be downloaded from here

From the web page:

On this page you’ll find links to information that may be of assistance to you. If you cannot find what you require, or need additional information call the GIB® Technical Support Helpline on 0800 100 442.  Also our technical support team, including structural engineers, are available for face-to-face information sessions.  Call the GIB® Helpline to discuss timing and specifics of the information required.

The information available includes:

Repairing Earthquake Damaged Wall LiningsAn article from Build magazine that outlines how to repair the interior wall linings that have lost stiffness and strength following the Canterbury earthquakes
Post-Earthquake Performance of Sheet Bracing ElementsA technical report  from Dr Richard Hunt which using results from extensive testing determines the extent of loss of stiffness and strength to a sheet bracing element that has been subjected to an earthquake event
Guidelines for Earthquake Damaged propertiesAn information bulletin that gives some general guidelines for repairing GIB® plasterboard linings in wind and earthquake damaged properties
Repairing Lath and Plaster Walls and CeilingsAn information bulletin that provides general guidelines for assessing  and carrying out remedial work to lathe and plaster walls and ceilings
Designing Bracing UpgradesAn information bulletin to assist with effectively designing home to improve that bracing performance
GIB® News articles relating to the Canterbury Earthquakes Two articles that detailed some of the damage that buildings incurred and the performance of plasterboard bracing systems.