Will my house be demolished?

Will my house be demolished?

The question on every Christchurch resident’s lips right now: Will my house be demolished? Or, if you’ve already heard the bad news about your property: What the hell do I do now?

Today EQC released information on which Christchurch property owners will have to move on and which will be able to safely rebuild.

In fact, not surprisingly, things aren’t quite as clear cut as that. The announcement details which properties fall into which of CERA’s residential classifications. You can find out about your own property’s classification by using the LandCheck website.

These classifications relate to the land that the property is on, rather than the structural integrity of the property itself. To put it simply, a property given a green classification may still have to be demolished. The green classification means that the land itself is fine to remain as residential use in the future. So a property can be rebuilt on this land should the property owner choose to rebuild.

Residential Classification Zones

If a property has been given a ‘red zone’ classification, evaluations have shown that bringing the land up to a level suitable for residential properties would take too long and is not economically viable. In layman’s terms, if you have a property classed as a red zone, you should have received or will be receiving a financial offer from the government. You will then have 9 months to decide whether you will take this offer and move on.

Speaking of zones, the whole ‘zone’ classification thing can be quite confusing and perhaps wasn’t a good move by CERA. We’ve all come to know the Christchurch CBD as a red zone. It’s a no-go area. There are a number of commercial buildings in the red zone that will need to be demolished but many will be able to be rebuilt on the same land. In that sense, it’s technically quite different to the new red zone residential classification.

After the announcement today, the term ‘red zone’ can apply to a single property. In fact, it seems that a green zone property can be sandwiched between two orange zones.

It’s just another small thing that could have been avoided  to save a bit of confusion. But oh well, CERA have a lot on their plate right now.

Maps of the Red Zones

There are a couple of maps which quickly show an overview of where the residential zones are in relation to the new announcement.

This interactive map hosted on Stuff.co.nz shows the boundary of the red zone residential areas. Click on the map to view the interactive version.

Earthquake Red Zone Map

To view suburbs not shown on this map, and to view the green and orange zones, you can view this PDF map provided by CERA.

Using LandCheck

To find out which zone you are in, you can use the LandCheck website.

The LandCheck website is very simple to use, thanks to the team at Trade Me that put the site together and host it. It’s great that CERA chose to use a development team that knew what they were doing. If this site had failed, there would be a lot of upset Christchurch folk wandering around.

On the website’s home page, you’ll see a simple form where you can enter your street address.

The result will show your property along with a red, orange, green or white icon to show its classification.

What’s happening to my street?

Another way to use LandCheck is to only enter your street name. This will return all of the results for your street (although some longer streets are split between two suburbs).

If you want to see some really tragic results, just look at the poor folks in Bexley. Not knowing the name of a Bexley street off the top of my head, I was lucky to find that there’s a road in Bexley called Bexley Road. Handy that. The results tell a sorry tale.

Now what?

Once you’ve found our your classification, you can view the zone information page to find out what that means for you and your property. Each one comes with a factsheet to give you more detailed info.

My own property is a green zone section, despite the suburb being surrounded by many houses that are red zoned. There’s just one small thing that confuses me with this result. On the zone information page for a green zone, we’re told this:

What happens next? (Green Zone)

You should make contact with your insurer or EQC to progress repairs

Not too sure what they mean by that. I already have a claim lodged with EQC that my insurers are aware of. My house is classified as ‘severe’ and I’m waiting for an assessment. Do I now have to contact EQC again in order to get some progress from them? Or perhaps I only needed to contact them if I’d already been assessed and were only awaiting on this result.

I’ve been trying not to make a lot of noise with EQC as I respect that they have a lot to do and they should already be aware of my claim. I’d hate to have to chase them to get results.

I’ve asked CERA this and will comment on this post when I have clarification.

This Tonkin & Taylor video helps to further explain what’s happening and why certain decisions have been made:


It’s worth knowing that Orion, the company that supplies Christchurch with electricity, have released this statement (bolding mine):

“In the short term we will continue to maintain our network to ensure power is delivered where needed to areas severely affected by the quakes,” says Orion General Manager Commercial Rob Jamieson. “In the longer term Orion will work constructively with relevant authorities to develop a thorough understanding of the investment and infrastructure necessary to support the rebuild of Christchurch. Our goal is always to provide an electricity delivery service that meets the needs of our community,” Mr Jamieson concludes.

So at least the infrastructure that’s still in place will remain until the last moment.

How much is my property worth?

It’s likely that you won’t know a definite figure for this until your personally contact by a representative of EQC. The amount offered should be equal to the last government valuation of your property before the September earthquake. The last registered valuation was actually in 2007 but Gerry Brownlee believes people will be happy with this as house prices have fallen since that last valuation.

You can get an idea of how much this will be by checking your current ratings valuation on the CCC website.

How was the news for you?

Were you in the red zone? Are you happy or upset about that? Or are you in a green zone and wish that you had been in a red so that you could take the offer and leave?

Let us know in the comments below.

Check My Property
  • Lauren F Lincoln

    Very comprehensive Mark.  Thanks for that!  The new website format looks fantastic by the way!

  • Rella

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the great info.
    I love the new website


  • Jim

    We’re Green Zoned in Niven Street Avondale. Come for a drive and check out south side addresses 46,48,50 and 52.
    There has been a massive land drop from the back of properties right out to and including the street. This street was all at the same level prior to february quake. The street has since been built up.
    Storm water no longer runs down to the drain at Niven and Eglinton streets. How can this land be repaired on an individual basis?
    The whole lot would have to be done at the same time. We won’t be the only Green Zoners in this situation. Just Red Zone us and let us out of this shit!

  • Hi Jim, thanks for your comment. You’re absolutely right and it’s not clear how they plan to deal with these situations. Reading through their process, it would seem that they are saying:

    “We’ve already checked out your property and can safely say that it’s worth repairing it, the access to it and all power and water supplies involved with it. We’ve weighed up the pros and cons of doing this and have decided that it can be done within a decent budget and to a sensible timeframe.”

    And yet I’ve seen houses that have been classed as green but will need a substantial amount of work done to raise the land before the house can be lived in. In doing that, the house will probably need to be knocked down and then rebuilt on the same land. What is the timeframe for that really? You can imagine that in that situation, the home owner would much rather the land be red zoned so that they can move on.

  • Jim

    Now the insurance companies are playing silly buggars. If the government doesn’t flex their newly aquired powers, then we’ll have no Gerry Brownly or John Key come November.

  • I am in Hunt Lane not far from Mark (on the opposite side of Avondale Park), about 100m from the Red Zone but have been zoned Green. Our land has sustained a lot of liquefaction and most (if not all), houses in the street and adjoining Baladin St are to be demolished. If we rebuild how will we ever be able to get insurance? Will the land be remediated prior to rebuilding? CERA and EQC need to provide some answers to these questions.