Contracting in Christchurch

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The EQC has appointed Fletcher Construction to project manage claims for the repair and rebuilding of houses damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes, where there is structural damage which will cost less than $100,000 plus GST to repair.
Property owners can choose to opt out of this process and use contractors of their choice. Tradespeople and businesses located in Canterbury have been given the first opportunity to be involved in this work.

The accreditation process
Repair and rebuilding work is being project managed by Fletcher EQR, but the physical work is being carried out by accredited contractors who are, in turn, responsible for subcontracting other tradespeople as needed.

Those with recognised industry qualifications, such as Master Plumbers, Registered Master Builders and Certified Builders, qualify automatically for accreditation to the Fletcher EQR scheme, but will still be assessed on their capabilities.
Others need to complete a specially-established accreditation process which they can get by emailing contractor@eqr.co.nz.

They will then be sent an evaluation form which asks for details about the size and structure of their business, their qualifications, experience, references, basic questions around any past contractual issues and their health and safety policies.
These evaluation forms must be submitted electronically. Contractors unable to do this can get assistance at any of the EQR hub offices situated around the city.

Contractors will then be interviewed by Fletcher EQR who will provide a brief introduction to the project and how it operates.
Fletcher will also ask the applicant about current work commitments and ways that they can contribute to the project. The interview will take place at the Fletcher EQR command centre situated in Deans Avenue, Christchurch.

Work opportunities also exist outside this process, most notably for carrying out emergency repairs. Claimants are able to authorise, and are responsible for, managing emergency work costing less than $2000 (GST excl) to make their homes safe and habitable.
If they have identified their own contractor for emergency repairs over $2000 in value, the EQC may give approval for them to arrange and manage this work, subject to the EQC being satisfied that work is, in fact, an emergency repair and that the quote is reasonable.

As was the case following the September earthquake, if the EQC assesses damage as non-structural, it will pay the claimant and they will manage their own repairs.
Also, some claimants will choose to opt out of the Fletcher scheme and use their own contractor.

Invoicing and payment
The EQC has received complaints of late payment for work carried out directly for claimants.

Most payments are being made on time, but the EQC has found that where there are delays, it is generally because invoices have not included one or all of the following details:
• Name, address and contact details of the repairer,
• Bank account of the repairer (to enable direct crediting of payment),
• Tax invoice, including GST number (ie GST Act requirements),
• Name and address of claimant,
• Location of repair work,
• Claim number,
• Date of invoice and date work completed,
• Details of repair, including time (hours) and description of materials,
• Total excl GST, GST and total incl GST,
• The invoice has exceeded the $2000 “pre-approved” limit,
• Charges have been unreasonable,
• The invoice is for something other than an emergency repair eg, a new oven.

Delays have also resulted from contractors sending invoices to property owners rather than the EQC. Contractors should send invoices directly to the EQC to ensure prompt payment.
The EQC endeavours to pay invoices by the 20th of the month, but if payment hasn’t been received by then contractors should contact the EQC immediately on 0800 DAMAGE.

The opt out option
Tradespeople working on jobs where the property owner has chosen to opt out of the Fletcher EQR scheme should be aware of their client’s responsibilities.
The client is responsible for managing the building process, including obtaining any building consents.

If the cost of the work completed is over the EQC-assessed value of work, they will have to pay the difference.
Before work begins, they will need to submit a detailed quote from their main contractor to the EQC. The quote must cover the same areas as those detailed on the scope of works completed by the EQC estimators.

Once the EQC has accepted the quote, the builder may begin the repair work.
Progress payments can be made by the EQC after receiving a valid tax invoice containing the information highlighted above to cover the costs of completion.

Further information is available at www.eqr.co.nz or by e-mailing contractor@eqr.co.nz.

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