Industry standards for insurance assessors and contractors

Is there an industry standard that guides insurance assessors/contractors during an inspection of a damaged dwelling to ensure visible and non-visible damage is accurately looked for and recorded? If a homeowner believes that damage has not been accurately assessed and recorded, what can they do?

Asked: 6 April 2014

Category: Foundations, Independent reports

Answers

Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment

22 July 2014

Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment advises:

A number of publications have been provided  including a field guide (http://www.dbh.govt.nz/UserFiles/File/Publications/Building/pdbm/earthquake-field-guide.pdf)  There is also  rapid evaluation guides at www.dbh.govt.nz/post-disaster-building-management
MBIE’s Technical Guidance Repairing and rebuilding houses affected by the Canterbury earthquakes provides information on building assessment. The Guidance has been widely circulated and training in its use provided to insurance assessors/contractors as well as engineers and building officials. It’s important to note that use of the guidance must be accompanied by sound engineering advice.

The guidance deals with geotec issues including liquefaction and advises on the level of geotec investigation required. There may be non-visible damage that’s not geotech related.  Generally, however, the guidance recommends investigating anything suspicious by either opening-up for visual inspection or adjustment elsewhere to compensate. Work on non-visual damage outside the scope of the guidance may also require investigation, for example, a sewer pipe which now falls the wrong way. 

If a homeowner believes that damage has not been accurately assessed and recorded, what can they do?

If you believe that damage has not been accurately assessed or recorded you should take it up with the contractor who completed the work in the first instance.

There is useful information on MBIE’s websites, including consumer information about what to do when you receive unsatisfactory service. This can be found at:

http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/for-consumers/services/unsatisfactory-services

If the builder who carried out this work is a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP), this person can make a complaint to the Building Practitioners Board (BPB). We have comprehensive information about making a complaint on the LBP website:

http://www.business.govt.nz/lbp/complaints/complaints-to-the-building-practitioners-board

There is also useful information on the LBP website about dispute resolution options in situations like this:

http://www.business.govt.nz/lbp/complaints/dispute-resolution-options

You may also like to consider seeking help from the Residential Advisory Service.

See all answers from Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment >

Southern Response

14 August 2014

Southern Response advises:

Appointed professionals utilise their qualifications and experience, and rely on guidance documents such as the MBIE guidelines for repair and replacement of earthquake damaged property in Canterbury.
If a Southern Response customer believes that issues or inaccuracies have occurred, they should be aware that Southern Response has a comprehensive complaints process in place to help with review and resolution. Visit www.southernresponse.co.nz for more information (keyword = complaints)

See all answers from Southern Response >

IAG

13 January 2015

IAG advises:

Only visible damage can be included in a scope. Sometimes x-ray equipment may be used on foundations but this would be guided by an engineer. If the home is being repaired through IAG’s Reinstatement Programme, any previously unidentified earthquake damage that becomes apparent during the reinstatement process will be put through as a variation to the initial scope and repaired (provided the damage is earthquake related and not historical). If you have concerns that items have been missed off your scope, speak to your loss adjuster.

See all answers from IAG >

Lumley

11 February 2015

Lumley advises:

Only visible damage can be included in a scope. Sometimes x-ray equipment may be used on foundations but this would be guided by an engineer. If the home is being repaired through Lumley’s Reinstatement Programme, any previously unidentified earthquake damage that becomes apparent during the reinstatement process will be put through as a variation to the initial scope and repaired (provided the damage is earthquake related and not historical). If you have concerns that items have been missed off your scope, speak to your loss adjuster.

See all answers from Lumley >

Tower

3 October 2014
A response to this question is being worked on and will be posted soon.

See all answers from Tower >