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St Clair homes in Dunedin Update

Over the last week there have been a number of press and radio stories regarding eight Dunedin properties affected by landslip last month.

EQC appointed Surveyors visited the properties prior to Christmas and again yesterday. Further minor movement was observed across the site, and as a result, monitoring will continue for at least two more weeks before next steps are agreed. Homeowners remain out of their homes while further investigative work is carried out.

We are in regular communication with affected homeowners and the Dunedin City Council, and there is a clear plan for managing resolution of these claims.

The media stories highlighted the complexity involved in managing land claims, and the need for greater clarity regarding the roles of the stakeholders and timeframes involved.

This afternoon Technical Claims Managers, Brad Dahlenburg and Cameron Tiananga, spoke to Tim Miller from the Otago Daily Times to provide an update on progress and explain EQC’s role following a landslip.

What EQC Does?

  • EQC’s role is to assess the physical loss or damage to property which is insured under the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 (EQC Act).
  • When the damage is caused by landslip EQC usually requires input from a Geotechnical engineer to assess and report on the natural disaster damage which has occurred and to provide a ‘conceptual’ remedial solution to repair the damaged insured property and/or, the cost of preventing damage to insured property that is considered imminent as a direct result of the natural disaster that has occurred.
  • EQC generally cash settles land claims and homeowners are responsible for managing their own repairs.
  • The remedial solution homeowners decide to carry out may be the same or similar to the ‘conceptual’ remedial solution recommended by the EQC engineers, or an alternative remedial solution that is effective and may also be more cost effective.
  • The engineer’s report is produced for EQC for the sole purpose of assisting EQC to determine whether it has any liabilities under the Earthquake Commission Act 1993.
  • Local councils determine if properties are safe to occupy and have the legal authority to ask residents to evacuate by issuing buildings with a Section 124, Dangerous Building Notice (‘red sticker’), having assessed the safety risks which may include engaging their own relevant experts e.g. engineers for advice.
  • The EQC commissioned engineer report is NOT for a Council to use to determine if a property is safe to occupy, or for the purposes of deciding whether to issue and/or remove a Section 124, Dangerous Building Notice.
  • However if the engineer (for EQC) identifies safety concerns during their inspection they will notify the Council who will then need to decide what action they need to take to address the matter.

The engineer’s report (for EQC) is normally based on a visual inspection, however in some circumstances, e.g. where the nature of the land movement (depth and extent) is complex, further geotechnical investigation may be required for EQC to quantify the property damage and determine the customer’s EQC claim entitlement.

Press articles:

Insurance Business NZ - Frustration at EQC, council over landslip delay - report

Otago Daily Times - Frustration for St Clair evacuees

NZCity - Frustration is growing amongst some Dunedin residents unable to return to their homes


EQC Media: 029 978 6430 or media@eqc.govt.nz

*Article updated with additional information on EQC's role.

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