Building materials

The one good thing the recent earthquakes have done, and that’s sharpened up the average persons perception of what’s the best materials to rebuild with. For me, brick, block, and stacked stone are not even on the considered list. A wooden frame is a must, and the wood must be treated to the highest standard to avoid the leaky home syndrome. As well, the land beneath must be solid, and free of any signs of liquefaction. The pad or building platform must be reinforced and the roof ‘long run’ iron. I have definitely left out everything that I noticed from my immediate area that has failed. By just looking around. Bricks, concrete blocks or roof tiles are materials definitely to be avoided, as they didn’t stand up well to the prolonged shacking. In lieu of this normal cladding that I have rejected, even though over time they are of low maintenance. However there is a cement board that looks good and stood up to all the shaking. It also seemed to add to the structure integrity where ever it was used.

The Christchurch quakes should have been a wakeup call for the rest of New Zealand, but whether they wish to take notice of what has happened to many of us, is over to them. I did notice when we were in the middle our our misery, and you spoke to anyone from the North on the phone, it was obvious they hadn’t the slightest idea of what was going on down South. They couldn’t believe that we hadn’t put it all behind us, and gotten on with our lives. The fact that many of us were still locked out from where we normally conducted our business, or what we called home. And that we were still awaiting repairs to thousands of houses to be made liveable again. With call centres established in any town in New Zealand, more often than not the caller is too far away to be interested in what has happened to Christchurch.

Anyway I hope with the object lesson we have been dealt, that all the other local bodies will now take a hard look at their building codes before it’s too late. If they don’t they are being incredible stupid. Christchurch folk considered themselves ‘safe’, and an earthquake was something that was furtherest from their minds. We were really were blind sidelined, as they considered that if were were to suffer an earthquake, it’s epicentre would have been centred in or around the main divide fault. Certainly not plumb centre of the business area.

Much of our damage was confined to our heritage buildings which were a compromise between beautiful buildings, and a minimum adherence to the building code. These buildings are a latent hazard and sustained a lot of damage, we were lucky that they didn’t kill more. Many of the Heritage buildings fell are on the cheaper end of rental market and when buildings are replaced the new rent may now be too high for the former tenants. These were in the past mainly ethnic restaurants which for the last couple of decades, gave Christchurch much of it’s colourful character.

It’s going to take several long years before this city is restored to it’s former glory.

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