If you need an engineer to carry out a damage assessment, we’ve partnered with Engineering New Zealand to make the process easier.
Engineering New Zealand
Engineering New Zealand has set up the Christchurch Earthquake Expert Engineering Panel to provide technical and expert advice to help resolve insurance claims through the GCCRS. Their website provides information on the services provided by the panel.
Engineering New Zealand has also developed a template letter of engagement that anyone can use to engage an engineer to carry out a damage assessment and provide reinstatement recommendations. Using the template helps make sure everyone involved is on the same page and can prevent later conflict.
GCCRS encourages homeowners to use this information and letter of engagement when instructing an engineer. It clearly outlines the engineer’s role and responsibilities in the insurance context, as well as what homeowners should be asking their engineer to look at and definitions of key terms. The letter can be downloaded from the Engeineering New Zealand website below.
Initial Process Appraisals
GCCRS may ask a Panel Member to carry out an Initial Process Appraisal. This may be under a joint instruction from the homeowner and the insurer, to help determine steps that could be taken to resolve the claim. This process could involve a conversation with the homeowner about their observations of earthquake damage or inadequate repairs, a visual assessment of the home, and a brief report about issues that could require another process under the GCCRS.
GCCRS may ask a Panel Member to carry out a peer review of engineering assessments of earthquake damage and reinstatement recommendations for a home. The peer review can include advice about whether sufficient investigations have been carried out, the evidence supports the findings, the correct standards have been applied, and the conclusions in the report are robust.
Engineering assessment of earthquake damage and reinstatement recommendations
A Panel Member can be engaged by the homeowner, the insurer or both to carry out an assessment of the home, advise on earthquake damage and recommend an appropriate reinstatement methodology.
Provide explanations about engineering assessments
A Panel Member can be asked by the GCCRS to meet with a homeowner and/or insurer to discuss an engineering report that either party has received. This would involve helping the homeowner and/or the insurer to understand the report’s findings and recommendations.
A Panel Member specifically trained in facilitation and mediation techniques can be asked by the GCCRS to act as an independent facilitator between engineers who have different opinions on earthquake damage and reinstatement. The Panel Member will facilitate a conversation with these engineers to better understand where opinions align and where they are misaligned. The purpose of the facilitation is to give everyone greater clarity about how to move forward, towards resolving the insurance claim.
A Panel Member can be asked by the GCCRS to provide independent expert engineering advice during a determination of an insurance claim, acting in accordance with the High Court Code of Conduct for Expert Witnesses.