When it comes to proving loss for insurance claims, our Forensic Foundation Reports have assisted many home owners achieve outcomes aligned with the standards contained in the Earthquake Commission Act 1993, the Building Act 2004 and the contract promise in private insurance policies.
The foundation of a home has to perform the right way to achieve its purpose. One of the purposes of a foundation is ‘to support the super structure built on top of it – in this case, your home.
Putting it bluntly, if your home’s foundation is ‘totally stuffed’ then it needs to be replaced. If the damage that caused your foundation to fail was caused by a natural disaster this tells the EQC (and your insurer) exactly what should be done next; the design of the ‘reinstatement strategy / repair methodology’ for the home. A reinstatement strategy must be appropriate for the land type, which may mean a house lift, or even a rebuild.
If your foundation has failed, we argue you do not need an ‘in roof inspection, a separate assessment of a fireplace, or a range of builder assessments and contractor quotes’. Once you have independent evidence your foundation has failed, your next step is is most likely working with an informed insurance specialist lawyer / adviser to manage your insurance claim. You may also want to consider engaging a structural and geo-tech team to design a reinstatement strategy that reflects your entitlements under the EQC Act and / or your insurance policy.
For us it is simple, if the foundation is “totally stuffed’, then it is ‘totally stuffed’! No amount of jacking and packing or epoxy resin will fix it.
A rubble ring foundation is an older type of foundation that would not meet today’s code of compliance. In Canterbury, rubble was used in ring foundations as late as 1969, but they exist throughout New Zealand. If you have a home that that has a ring foundation, and it had earthquake damage, and was assessed by the EQC, we would strongly recommend you consider investigating if the EQC assessment of damage to your foundation was accurate. To find out more about rubble ring foundations download our fact sheet.
Note: Whilst not all rubble ring foundations will fail during an earthquake, the higher the magnitude of the quake, the greater the likelihood a rubble foundation has failed in someway.
One repair methodology, for a home with a failed foundation, is a ‘house lift’. The costs of lifting a house means it would be very rare for any home with a foundation failure to remain under the EQC cap. This is because, if a house is to be lifted, it often means house to street drainage is replaced, new piles are required, the new foundation must be suitable for the land type, often heavy cladding is removed, the fireplaces and its foundation are replaced, and sometimes lathe and plaster (and gib) walls fail – and what if it is two story? If a home has a failed foundation then the claim is almost always over the EQC cap (and likely to be over the new cap of $150,000).
Note: We do not undertake foundation repair work at this time.
If you are considering buying a home, in a post natural disaster environment, it is more important than ever you complete thorough due diligence. You may not know, but the EQC have admitted they have made mistakes. This means you can no longer rely on the EQC assessments of damage, or repair strategy, as part of your due diligence process. Unfortunately, many homeowners are not yet aware if their homes have been under assessed or repaired to a non-compliant standard by the EQC, or their private insurer. It truly is ‘Buyer Beware’. To avoid the risk of significant loss, thorough due diligence must include a specific focus on the homes foundations.
Own your own information not the insurance company version. Get experts to prove your real loss and reinstatement costs. Underfoot Services can help you protect your biggest asset - your home.
Underfoot Services can provide an initial short review of your situation with regards to foundation damage and where you are at with your claim and advise if it is worth pursuing further and if so how best to progress it through the settlement process.