Case study

Several moons ago, my team were working on some pricing for an earthquake damaged home on behalf of a homeowner who needed independent verification of their insurers offer.

This is something we used to do A LOT, and to this day we often get called in to assist with insurance-related projects because we have such a huge amount of experience working on these types of projects.

For us, working on an earthquake repair is a very similar prospect to working on a renovation project pricing for a client, both require a lot of extra consideration that is often not spelt out on the plans.

The term ‘consequential damage’ was one we became intimately familiar with, and we realized after working through both earthquake repairs and house renovations that it was something that could be VERY hard to put your finger on, and often the consequential damage items would differ from builder to builder depending on how they were going to approach a project.

More than meets the eye

I recall going to site with a builder once, and we were working through the repair items outlined on an engineer’s report. There was an external chimney to be brought down, and we were checking it out from the driveway side of the property.

My terribly clever builder was telling me how long he thought he would need to do the work, while I furiously scribbled every bit of gold that was coming out of his mouth…

Me: So, what else will you need to do?

Builder: Oh, well we will need to get a hardfill skip.

Me: (looking around) But there’s nowhere to put it, so we will need to get a permit from the council to place it on the kerb, won't we?

Builder: Oh yeah! That will work.

Me: Ok, how about that fence that’s in the way? How will you work around it?

Builder: Oh, that’s a good point…. I think we will need to take it down.

Me: But it adjoins the neighbours, whose responsibility is it to get permission?

Builder: It’s probably easier if I go and get it sorted out, I’ll tell them I’ll build a nice new one back again.

Me: Right, so you are going to need to allow for not only the manpower to take the chimney down, but also the hardfill skip, the council permit, the time to arrange the permit, the time to speak to the neighbours and discuss the fence coming down, the labour and material to replace the fence, some temporary hoardings so you can leave the section secure at night, some temporary hoardings to the house once the hole has been made by the chimney coming down, a new piece of soffit and framing to the soffit, new cladding to the exterior of the house including an allowance to stagger the new weatherboards so they blend into the old, concrete cutting to the old chimney foundation and a plaster coat to the entire side to make it good and match in with the existing foundation wall…. Plus, the other subbies, painter, sparky etc and that’s just the outside work. Is that all do you think?

Builder: Whoa. That’s a big list considering all it says on the engineer’s report is remove chimney to base and make good…...

Me: Yip.

Golden rule…… never be complacent about consequential items on a retrofit! Every single thing on a build has a cost associated with it.

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