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Drainage claims

If you want to make a new claim for drainage damage from the 2010 – 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, you need to commission a certified drainlayer (registered with the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers’ Board) to inspect your drains (effective from 1 January 2017).

Expert advice to EQC some time ago said that drainage damage not evident immediately after the Canterbury earthquakes could take five to seven years to appear, and that’s what’s been happening of late. People who’ve previously had an EQC claim can ask to reopen their claim to cover drainage issues belatedly coming to the surface.

Engaging a contractor to help with your claim

If you’re thinking of having a contractor help negotiate with EQC on your behalf, it is a good idea to read through any documents the contractor might ask you to sign.

If you want a contractor to negotiate with EQC on your behalf, you will need to provide EQC with written confirmation that you want to have the contractor listed as a claim contact on your file.

You will also need to explain in writing to EQC whether you want the contractor to have access to some or all of the information held by EQC in relation to your claim.

Other things to think about before you sign a contract include:

  • Do you want the contractor just to negotiate with EQC about your claim or to carry out the repair work as well?
  • Do the documents you are being asked to sign match what you are asking the contractor to do?
  • What does the contract say about how the contractor will be paid?
  • What happens if you’re not happy with the quality of work the contractor carries out?
  • What happens if you want a different contractor to carry out the work, either before work starts or part way through the work?

If you need any help understanding any documentation you are being asked to sign and what it means for you, consider getting some professional advice. 

Drainage contractors have their own consumer guide: Drainlayers’ Board Consumer Guide (PDF - 2.7MB)

What the contractor does

The drainlayer needs to provide a report and recommended repair strategy for any earthquake damage. Forms of damage that are likely to be considered as earthquake damage breakages in pipes are defined as longitudinal and circumferential cracks, displacement and blockages from liquefaction.

EQC has a set of templates (in the links below) that can be used as a guideline when the certifying contractor is preparing the drainage diagnostic assessment documents for your property:

Standard drains – instructions and forms

Dependent drains – instructions and forms

EQC will also accept drainage diagnostic assessments in different formats, if your chosen certifying contractor opts to not use these templates.

What this means for you

While you will need to pay for the drainage inspection yourself, that cost will be reimbursed by EQC if any earthquake damage is confirmed, in accordance with the Earthquake Commission Act 1993.

EQC will continue to settle drainage claims in accordance with the EQC Act by cash payment, informed by the drainlayer’s recommended repair strategies and estimated repair costings.

Customers can have confidence that if further damage is discovered after a cash payment has been made, and EQC determines the damage identified was caused by an earthquake or needs to be reinstated as part of the earthquake repairs in accordance with the EQC Act; an additional payment to cover additional costs may be made.

The new arrangement only applies to drainage damage claims lodged from 1 January 2017.

Read our FAQs

If you discover further damage during the repair of your drains

If further damage is discovered during the repair process you can contact EQC by:

  • calling 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243) between 7am and 9pm, Monday to Friday, or 9am-5pm Saturdays
  • or emailing

If we agree the damage is earthquake-related, an additional payment may be available to cover additional costs in accordance with the Earthquake Commission Act 1993.

Drainage Variation Request Form

Please have your registered drainlayer complete this form:

Drainage Variation Request Form – online lodgement

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