Friday, 25 March 2011

Before and After - from the sky!

They have just released satellite pictures of Christchurch on February 24th - two days after The Big Quake.

Here's our piece of paradise before:

And after:

Not only can you see piles of rubble at each end, but you can see the four patches of our roof which are all higgeldy-piggeldy after being thrown in the air.

For the science-y among you, yesterday there was a write up in The Press by Dr John Berrill explaining why the hill suburbs (where we live) was especially hard hit. The following paragraph brought it all back for me:

...this suggests that a building, and possibly some underlying soil, would have been left behind in the air as the ground accelerated downwards beneath it, with the building then falling under it's own weight at near, but less than, 1g until it impacted on the ground, giving the high positive (upwards) acceleration.
Well it turns out there was a reason it felt like we were being thrown up and down in the air - we were.

(to read the full report, visit - his report has some cute hand-drawn images illustrating what happened which never made it into his article).

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Aint nothing gonna happen round here for a while

Turns out the EQC guys popped round to our house at some stage and left this note. I guess it's reasonably accurate, in that we don't think we have any major structural damage, but it's still kind of heartbreaking to realised that we won't get a full assessment until September. And that's if they run according to plan, which is highly unlikely.

There are stories going round about who these guys are - there used to be about 20 assessors, but after this quake they decided they needed a few more, so suddenly there are over 200. Rumour has it that they are mechanics, truck drivers and policemen. So not really that qualified to make judgment on structural soundness.

At least this gives this blog an increased lifespan! We were thinking that once we'd done the garden (which was going to be in the next 12 - 18 months) I'd have nothing to write about, but now it looks like we'll be working on this place for the next 3 - 4 years! Awesome!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Shiny happy bathroom!

Turns out tilers don't have much on right now, with lots of work presumably coming to a halt due to the quake. Not our bathroom though...we have progress, people!

..and it looks a thousand times better than first time round.

What's more, the peeps came and resurfaced our bath. I wasn't there to see it, but apparently they stripped back the old surface and then painted on a new one. Looks good to me.

All that's left is some tidying up. Actually, a lot of tidying up.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Nearly watertight

One of the few good things about having our bathroom drag on, is that we had our builder on speed-dial when the quake hit. And (potentially out of guilt) he was more than willing to jump in and arrange things so that we could get our house watertight asap.

And so, last week some nice men came and put up scaffolding, and today more nice men came and boarded up the front of the house (the back was done using a ladder soon after the quake).

On the one hand, it is great to have something being done (although, word on the street is that after the house is watertight, the scaffolding will be moved elsewhere and then there will be a very looooooooong wait before repair work is started due to the massive amount of administrative work that needs to be done by the EQC), but on the other hand, I was hoping never to have to see our house clad in scaffolding ever again...

Side note: bizarrely, this new round of scaffolding was erected exactly one year after last year's was put up. Okay, so that's not that bizarre. But it will definitely be getting weird if we put the scaffolding back up for repairs on 12th March 2012. Hopefully things will start before then, but we are pretty much in the dark right now, so it's within the realms of possibility.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The bullshit begins

Looks like the bank behind us is going to cause us a lifetime of grief. I think deep down we already knew this, but this latest quake has made it a thousand times worse.

Firstly there are issues with establishing how safe it now is (not very, is my guess), then what can be done to make it more safe (not much without spending loads of money, is my guess), then whose responsibility it is to do that work (hopefully not us), and then actually getting it done (we think 1 to 2 years time is actually quite optimistic). Yikes.

Shitty shitty bugger f*%# bugger.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A bit more damage..

Another part of the fence has fallen down in an aftershock - no biggie, we weren't planning on keeping that fence long term anyway...

We went in and cleaned out the inside last weekend. The internal pane of glass that smashed:

Small cracks in paint and gib-board upstairs:

Cracks in the downstairs block work:

We have had our builder, an architect (thanks bro), and a structural engineer have a look and all three are optimistic about the long-term future of the building. If we can sort out the immediate issues of weather-proofing and clearing unsafe debris then we may be able to occupy the house pretty much straight away.

Hopefully we will have scaffolding up in the next week so we can secure the roof tiles back in place, and waterproof the front of the building.

There's still no water, but we have power. And a portaloo out on the road. Getting there.

Weirdly, the guys want to carry on with finishing our bathroom, and so someone is coming next week to recondition the bath. You'd think it would sort of slip off the priority list, but I think lots of tradesmen are keen to get jobs done to keep up income - it could be months or even years before some of the highly skilled work actually eventuates. If you're not a builder or digger or scaffolder there's probably not a lot of work right now.