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Thread: Advice needed please about what it's like living in Christchurch at present.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Waikanae Beach
    Posts
    176

    Default Advice needed please about what it's like living in Christchurch at present.

    OK, it's a bit of an odd title for a post I suppose.
    The reason behind it is that we have some friends (family with 1x15 and 1x12 year old) who are moving out here in around 6 - 8 weeks or so he's been offered a very good and well paid job ...but... it's in Christchurch, they are getting all emigration fees, moving fees and flights paid so it's a very big incentive coupled with the fact that they are very, very desperate to leave the UK and come back here. They were living here around 2 years ago but lived on Kapiti Coast (which is where they really want to be) but had various family problems so ended up going back to UK (illness, parents died etc).

    What I am looking for is an honest opinion of just what it is like living in Chch at present with the constant quakes etc...
    Is there a psychological problem living with the constant rumbles and wobbles (if indeed there are any now)?
    Are there any better areas to live round Chch that are less affected than any others?
    Are you better looking for a house built on a concrete raft rather than one on poles? (I ask this as our house is brick outside, built on a concrete raft and we really don't feel a lot, we had a 5 the other day my wife felt but I didn't but some of our friends houses are wood and built on poles and everything they have they rattles at a 2.5).
    Or would the advice be...Don't do it.
    Anything else that you can think of (good, bad or indifferent) would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance
    cheers
    G

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Scotland to Rangiora
    Posts
    1,995

    Default

    This thread might answer some of your questions and try searching for similar threads as quite a few folks have asked similar over the last year or so:

    http://www.enz.org/forum/showthread....Hamilton/page2


    Cheers Karen

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Chch, NZ
    Posts
    2,213

    Default

    Are there any better areas to live round Chch that are less affected than any others?
    That all depends on what you require? If you're strictly talking about areas that were least affected by the earthquakes, well then there is naturally going to be good and bad areas. At least 50% of Christchurch area is on liquefaction. With re-zoning of the red / white / and green areas, there will be some home owners disadvantaged and will affect their resale value. One side of the street could have houses zoned red (for demolition and to never be bulit on) while across the street, the houses are green.

    The new sub-division developments in the west side of Christchurch is going to be popular. Furthermore, the ground that way is more stable. Wigram & Aidanfield, are 2 areas that are currently in construction for new section to be sold later in the year. Many have moved north of Christchurch too but i'm not sure how Pegasus is doing since there's been a lot of earthquake activity coming from that area.

    Are you better looking for a house built on a concrete raft rather than one on poles? (I ask this as our house is brick outside, built on a concrete raft and we really don't feel a lot, we had a 5 the other day my wife felt but I didn't but some of our friends houses are wood and built on poles and everything they have they rattles at a 2.5).
    There's concrete 'raft' and 'slab' construction. Raft is designed so the whole foundation moves and is suppose to be more stable than conventional slab concrete foundation. However there's considerable cost by going raft foundation and to a property developer, the location of the land has got to be good to warrant the higher cost of construction. The conventional case is to just use thicker mesh steel in poured slab foundation.

    Foundation piles can have a lot more movement because they're bored into the ground, vs slab concrete is basically just sitting on the soil. Many say it's easier to repair pile foundation from earthquake damage than slab as the piles can be height adjusted.

    However, regardless of which foundation, an EQC inspector told me that there's no fool proof foundation, none of them for a certainty can withstand the 2 major earthquakes in Christchurch. Meaning that to design a foundation that could (with a high certainty of degree), it would be so expensive that such a house would never recoup the cost back. After all, there is a reason why so many areas in Chch are red zoned. He mentioned they use raft foundation in cases where piles can't be used (or where previous drilled soil tests show no hard bearing in the ground), but it is by no means, a foundation that is designed to better withstand an earthquake over other foundations.

    If you put earthquake issues a side, the overall reason why slab foundation is the norm in new builds is because it offers better insulation and better draft proofing which translates to a lower energy load on the house. By no doubt, newer houses today consume far less energy than the older houses built on piles with little or no insulation.

    Many old time builders say "they don't build houses like they use to" which is true to some extent. The NZ gov't funded state houses built in Christchurch fared very well against the earthquakes which proved that old style bracing of timber frame walls indeed worked while modern 'Gib' board bracing (drywall / gypsum wall board) failed because the design of the house relys on the Gib to brace the walls. As a matter of clarification, most engineers would say cracks in the Gib board is not a failure and can be easily repaired. Most old time builders would question how you can renew the Gib board if the material around the screw heads powder up due to an earthquake? Having shown that older houses may stand up better to earthquakes, this result doesn't translate well to the home buyer wanting home that is energy efficient and low in maintenance cost.

    You may be more inclined to build a new house in Christchurch.

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