Fletchers update

Fletchers have made three important additions to their EQC – Helping the recovery in Canterbury website at www.eqr.co.nz.

The first is a web page is called About EQR which explains:

  • About EQR (the EQC’s Earthquake Recovery – EQR – project run by Fletchers)
  • What EQR will do for homeowners
  • The HUBs (community based offices set up to manage the rebuild process in different parts of Canterbury and Christchurch).

That page can be found here.

The second is Repair process and covers:

  • An outline of the process from the initial EQC visit until the completion of the repairs.
  • What work Fletchers will undertake to create and agree with claimants the scope of repairs and any associated aspects
  • Managing the repairs
  • The use of accredited contractors

An interesting point arises from this page, so a separate blog entry will be done to cover it.  The repairs page can be found here.

The last one is a Frequently Asked Questions page. As there is a lot of interesting information there will be a separate blog entry on it. The Fletchers FAQ page can be found here.

Fletchers – Project Management Guidelines

The final piece of useful information in the Information Update previously mentioned, is the following statement of Fletchers intentions with regard to how the project will operate.

Overall intentions

The project management team works on the following guidelines:

  • use existing industry practices and structure
  • local hire first, while identified resource pinch points will need to be sourced from elsewhere
  • accreditation for assurance and competence
  • steady work flow and prompt payments, for a reasonable return for all
  • a systemised approach, with good work practices
  • equitable, fair and transparent dealings, and prompt decisions
  • homeowner empathy and satisfaction

It is hoped that contractors and tradespeople will see themselves as a valuable part of the overall team, helping homeowners recover their asset value.

Exactly what that means for us, described here as homeowners and as claimants in another part of the document, is unclear. It is likely that the crux of it all for us will fall on the last word – satisfaction, where satisfaction will be more than a feel-good thing and incorporate agreement to what has been done, how it has been done and the warranties provided as to the suitability, quality, and integrity of what is delivered. 
The full document can be found here.

Fletchers – Three strikes principle

In the Information Update (see the previous two posts) Fletchers also address the issue of contractors who fail to adhere to the rules set as part of their contract with Fletchers.

Adherence to Rules

Contractors who are found to be flouting the above rules will be governed by the “three strikes” principle – a first strike will result in a warning, a second in formal notice to EQC, and a third in public dismissal from the programme.

The original document can be found here.

Fletchers – Legal and Contractual issues

The Information Update mentioned in the previous post contains additional interesting pointers as the how Fletchers intend to conduct the rebuild process. The extract below is their position, as of November 2010, on how various legal matters will be handled.

The fourth paragraph is significant for “claimants”, as they call us. It could be a good, or a bad, thing depending on how involved any of us might want to be.

Legal / contractual

Prior to commencing work, contractors will be asked to sign a short form (two page) contract agreement, along with Fletcher (as agent for EQC). This will be the principal document governing all work that the contractor/tradesperson performs under the EQR programme. Each new job will be initiated by a contract instruction containing details of the job.

The contractor will be responsible for the work it performs, and for that of its subcontractors, as in any normal contracting arrangement.

The contractor will be the responsible party under the Health and Safety Act and, accordingly, will be responsible for H&S requirements on each household site. Fletcher or an independent expert will provide oversight from time to time as agent for EQC and the contractor will be expected to comply with its obligations to provide a safe work site.

There will be requirements for the contractor to abide by a code of conduct appropriate to all work carried out under the programme. In particular, contractors should be aware of minimising “claimant fatigue” – ie. minimising the interactions with homeowners, and performing the work efficiently, promptly and courteously.

The full document can be found here.

Repair work – Fletchers and Quality Control

Continuing with the quality theme, most of us will be out of our depth trying to determine whether work done on our behalf is of an acceptable quality and if suitable materials have been used.

Those who are “fortunate” enough to have a level of damage that puts us into the $10,000 to $100,000 band, have the opportunity to let Fletchers undertake it all for us. While little has been heard from Fletchers they do seem to be working away in the background.

On the 3rd of November Fletchers posted a newsletter, Information for  Contractors and Tradespeople Update # 1, on their website. Aimed at contractors and tradespeople who may be interested in working with Fletchers it sets out the basics of what will expected of contractors etc. by Fletchers, and what they can expect from Fletchers. The newsletter can be found here.

The topics covered by the newsletter are:

  • Purpose
  • Project management structure
  • Accreditation
  • Legal / contractual
  • Materials
  • Payments and Pricing
  • Insurance 
  • Adherence to Rules
  • Overall intentions
  • Rollout

An interesting insight into how Fletchers see quality issues can be found in the section on materials.

Contractors will use only accredited suppliers and merchants for their building materials and supplies. These suppliers and merchants will have been accredited through Fletcher procedures, so that the supplies are provided to NZ standards, with appropriate warranties, and to a maximum price acceptable to EQC. Suppliers will also have to have information systems that allow Fletcher to track orders placed by contractors for EQC work.

In practice, this means a contractor using (for example) a local ITM store will have a pre-agreed price list for these items, and materials will be supplied with the usual guarantees and warranties.

The major merchants and suppliers are being asked to provide net pricing, with no rebates or loyalty scheme points being applicable. Contractors will be asked to abide by these rules, and to be prepared to have their accounts audited by EQC if required.

It is a requirement that all arrangements be transparent, and instead of a materials rebate all contractors earnings will come from the agreed rates and recoveries (see below).