Rebuilds underway on TC3 sites

Robbie Baigent’s TC3 rebuild in North New Brighton is underway.
Photo: Don Scott/Fairfax NZ

From The Press:

Rebuilds are ramping up on Christchurch’s worst-affected green-zoned land, despite the complexities involved.

City council figures show 77 new builds on residential technical-category 3 (TC3) land have been granted consent since January.

This is great news. It’s heartening to know that some homeowners are committed to remaining in their local community. There is life beyond the TC3 label and many TC3 residents are effectively navigating a way forward.

TC3 homeowner Robbie Baigent is among those with a rebuild under way.

Builders will this week install the roof on his North New Brighton home.

It is progress many can only dream of as the land’s complexities – mainly new foundation design – contribute to delays.

Baigent adopted the riskier approach of taking a cash settlement and organising his own contractors, rather than a managed rebuild through his insurer.

He was told his property would not be rebuilt before 2015 and was not willing to leave his young family living in a “broken house” for a further three years.

Self-managing had been “relatively easy”, Baigent said.

“I felt we were better off out of [the managed rebuild]. It was going to be easier, faster and we’d get a better house.

“It’s not something people should feel they’re limited by because it’s not hard work to do.”

Red tape with insurers, banks and the council was the main challenge.

I’m sure many Christchurch homeowners will be able to identify.

“We probably settled for a lot less than what we could have if we kept fighting, but you’ve got to make a call. You’ve got to get your family back into a home or do you want to keep squabbling over money?”

“I think we made the right move. The way things are going, we’d probably be a repair and fighting for a rebuild.”

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

He had been “realistic” during negotiations, knowing his 50-year-old house was being rebuilt new.

Baigent received a prompt over-cap payment from the Earthquake Commission, but then spent 12 months negotiating a fair rebuild sum with the insurance company.

His bank was initially “very anti” continuing the mortgage before relenting.

He has a letter of intent for reinsurance after the rebuild, but cover was not guaranteed.

Baigent urged fellow TC3 landowners waiting to build to “stand up for what’s right”.

“Push the issue, do your homework, get around the housing companies and find out what it’s going to cost to build a house the same size and spec as what you’ve got. Go into the meetings with a basic understanding of where costs are at and aim for that.

“It’s not been easy, but we are moving forward now.”

Good on yer Robbie! I might go as far as to say that you’re one of the pioneers of the TC3 rebuild.

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