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Frequently Asked Questions - works schedule

How is the rebuild work prioritised across the city?
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While SCIRT understands all works may be seen as urgent, because this rebuild task is so large, works in some areas will need to take priority over others. Determining a rebuild schedule is a complex and important task, and there is a well thought out planning process in place to drive the programme. In determining a rebuild schedule SCIRT must consider both local operational drivers (i.e. where services are fragile), and strategic drivers (i.e. where there is wider community or city benefit).

When prioritising rebuild projects SCIRT considers where the services are most fragile, where there is the greatest need, where we can coordinate with other services, how to minimise disruption, and maximise safety, sustainability, and value for money. Priority has been given to the worst damaged areas that affect the greatest number of people, and getting services fixed in areas around key service providers (e.g. hospitals and schools). In prioritising the rebuild, SCIRT considers the following factors:

  1. Operational prioritisation – e.g. the condition and importance of the asset, how well it is operating and the ongoing cost of operating the asset.
  2. Interdependencies – e.g. repairing downstream wastewater lines before upstream ones.
  3. Key services – e.g. maintaining access to emergency, medical and educational facilities and major transport networks.
  4. External factors – e.g. influences from other Recovery Strategies such as Central City Development Unit, social and economic.
  5. Constraints – e.g. the availability of resources and materials.
  6. Common sense check – SCIRT reviews the decision and decides 'is this the right thing to do now?'
  7. The rebuild work will take around five years to complete, and this rebuild schedule will help give you an indication of time lines.

Can the SCIRT Work Schedule be changed?
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The schedule is subject to monthly updates to ensure that it remains responsive to operational and strategic information. However, it is important to remember that the prioritisation process detailed above will be used to determine the order of works. This is to help ensure SCIRT delivers the best outcome for the people of Christchurch.

I would prefer works in my street to be done at a different time. Can I influence the schedule?
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The reality is that SCIRT's work will affect thousands of people everyday—businesses, road users and residents. While SCIRT understands that the timing of the rebuild works may be inconvenient for you, our responsibility is to do what is in the best interests of the people of Christchurch. This means that any changes to the schedule will be determined using the prioritisation process, rather than responding to individual requests.

Why are the works in the eastern suburbs of Ferrymead and Sumner so late in the schedule as there appears to be lots of earthquake damage in these suburbs?
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The reason these suburbs are later in the rebuild schedule is the type of damage they have suffered. Most of the damage is to residential properties, which is not covered by the infrastructure rebuild. The rock fall issues are also being addressed by Christchurch City Council and also previously by CERA, as SCIRT is not involved in land remediation. As there is only limited infrastructure damage in these suburbs they have a lower priority in the SCIRT schedule of works.

What are the things that may change the SCIRT Work Schedule or priorities?
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The SCIRT Work Schedule has been prioritised based on operational issues, i.e. the state of the fresh water, wastewater, stormwater networks and roads. With the infrastructure rebuild schedule there are a number of other external factors which will continue to influence the priority of works. The schedule needs to be responsive to these factors, which include:

  • Further major earthquakes.
  • Funding – funding for the rebuild will come from central and local government and will be allocated through their annual budgeting processes.
  • Availability of resources including people, plant and materials.
  • Insurance impacts.
  • Impacts from other rebuilding programmes (e.g. housing, other utility services).
  • Environmental priorities.
  • Strategic planning processes by CERA, the Christchurch City Council, and the NZTA.
  • Priorities for servicing new land developments.
  • Continued assessment of existing infrastructure networks.
  • Current schedule of transitional works – i.e. moving from emergency works to rebuild works.
  • Operational priorities of asset owners - i.e. Christchurch City Council and NZTA.
  • Design issues and opportunities.

All the timeframes indicated in the rebuild schedule are therefore indicative, and may be subject to change based on one or more of the factors listed above.

Who is doing the construction works across the city?
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You will see SCIRT delivery teams undertaking the construction on the ground. These teams are from the five SCIRT contractors - City Care, Downer Construction, Fletcher Construction, Fulton Hogan, and McConnell Dowell. These head contractors are supported by local contractors and suppliers.

Who is SCIRT?
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SCIRT is made up of people from many organisations. The head contractual agreement within SCIRT is an alliance between owner participants (Christchurch City Council, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and New Zealand Transport Agency) and non-owner participants (City Care, Downer, Fletcher, Fulton Hogan and McConnell Dowell).  There are also many other Christchurch-based companies working as consultants, suppliers or contractors, playing a vital part in delivering SCIRT's programme of work. SCIRT is tasked with the infrastructure rebuild of the city.

How long will the rebuild take to finish?
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It is expected that the infrastructure rebuild will take around five years to complete.

Why will the work programme take until 2016 to complete?
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The level of damage from the Canterbury earthquakes is significant. Work to repair the infrastructure has been ongoing since immediately after the earthquakes and considerable progress has been made to date. However, the rebuild is a huge task, and not everything can be done at once. Once the rebuild gets up to full speed, SCIRT will have a peak monthly spend of about $40 million. On the ground this means SCIRT may have up to 150 work sites operating around the city at any one time. It is also important to remember that we are rebuilding a 'live' system. This means that we need to keep the freshwater, stormwater and wastewater services operational while we fix the systems.

Why not bring in more construction teams to get the work done quicker?
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Bringing more people into the rebuild will not necessarily achieve a faster or better result for the city. The timing of different projects within the wider rebuild will mean that demand for resources will need to be managed. It is likely that the infrastructure rebuild will dominate the market for contractors, equipment and supplies, and SCIRT needs to manage these resources to manage demand, supply and pricing. It is important to remember that a high demand will be placed on the construction sector across all the recovery programmes, not just the infrastructure rebuild.

There is also a strong focus on local people and businesses for the rebuild. This includes using local tradespeople, and upskilling unemployed Christchurch residents so they can be part of the construction and rebuild.

It is also important to remember that there is only limited road space for construction teams to work. We also need to keep the traffic moving as best we can about the city during the infrastructure rebuild.

What works are you doing in my street, and when?
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Where rebuild works are scheduled beyond 2013, SCIRT is still assessing and designing the works and therefore we can't yet tell you what exactly the project works will be. However as the rebuild progresses and we have more information, we will know with more certainty what works will be undertaken, and when. Keep a watch on the six month schedule updates which will outline the areas (streets) for construction, and for work notices letting you know about upcoming works in your street. All this information is available from the SCIRT website, in newspapers, and in your community at the local library/Christchurch City Council service centres.

How long will the projects in my area take?
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The length of time the construction crews spend in your area depends on the amount and type of rebuild work they need to do, the existing condition of the networks, and the weather conditions. SCIRT understands that the rebuild works can be disruptive, and tries to complete the works as efficiently as possible with as little impact as possible, while still achieving a safe and high quality result. Some works may take many months to complete.

What is the process for fixing a piece of broken infrastructure?
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Fixing a broken piece of infrastructure (an asset) is an important task that involves a number of key steps. First the asset is identified, surveyed, and the damage assessed. Then, the rebuild works are prioritised with priority given to fixing the worst damaged areas that affect the highest number of people. The rebuild work then enters the design phase, and consultation with the community is undertaken if needed. The rebuild works are then packaged together, and the delivery teams go out and do the physical construction work on site. Once the works are completed the infrastructure is handed over to the asset owner (e.g. Christchurch City Council or NZTA).

Why are there works being undertaken in my area now when the schedule shows works much later on?
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Much of the works done to date has focussed on emergency or make safe repairs identified as priorities before SCIRT was put in place. These repairs focussed on getting fresh water and wastewater services restored, and getting the roads safe. In the future the rebuild will follow the schedule set out in the Rebuild Schedule Priority Map.

Works in my area are scheduled for later on and the roads need attention. What should I do?
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Christchurch City Council will continue their current maintenance contracts across the city where needed. If you have concerns with the maintenance of your street please contact the Council call centre on 941 8999.

Do you coordinate with other services (e.g. Orion or Telecom etc.) to save digging up the roads multiple times?
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During the rebuild SCIRT will coordinate with other services where possible with a 'dig once' philosophy in mind. We are currently working with other utility providers such as Orion, Rockgas, Telecom, Enable, Telstra, Vodafone, and CAFÉ to ensure that any plans they have for their services are included, where possible, into the rebuild schedule. By working with the other utility providers we are trying to avoid disruption as a result of further construction works after the rebuild team has moved out of an area. In some cases however due to the arrangement of services, the level of damage, or the timeframe for the rebuild, other utility works may have to be undertaken separately.

How is the rebuild or repair of structures like bridges determined?
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Structures are prioritised in a similar way to other network assets. This means the condition, importance of the structure and current service levels are considered, along with external factors such as traffic flow, access to key lifeline facilities and other services. Bridges requiring significant repair will be repaired as individual projects. Bridges with minor damage will be grouped into work packages. The rebuild and repair of bridges will be carried out over the full five years of the programme.

How are you taking account of changes to ground levels following the earthquakes?
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The Christchurch City Council has completed work to understand the impact of changes to ground levels on stormwater networks which has included hydraulic modelling. Christchurch City Council is continuing to investigate the effects on the network, and the results of this work will be included in the SCIRT work programme as they become available.

What happens with traffic when you are working in my area?
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Given the size of the infrastructure rebuild it is likely that the impacts on the traffic network will be both citywide, i.e. covering a wider area, and localised, i.e. confined to a specific street. SCIRT works closely with the asset owners Christchurch City Council and New Zealand Transport Agency in its planning and prioritisation process and carefully considers the sequence of work and other rebuild projects to minimise the impacts on traffic where possible.

You will need to keep informed of traffic issues both citywide and locally. Look out for traffic information on the website which shows major works, road closures and events. This information will help you find the quickest and safest route around the city. Also, if there are rebuild works proposed in your street, look out for the works notice you will receive before the construction begins. This notice will outline any temporary traffic changes in your street during construction. We ask that you take care when driving through the city, particularly around work areas, and be aware of any temporary traffic management.

Will there be any disruption to my usual services when you are working in my area?
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The rebuild will involve works on fresh water, wastewater and stormwater networks, as well as roads. Although it is unlikely, there is the potential that some of these services may be disrupted during the construction process. Where services are to be shut off a separate notice will be delivered to affected residents prior to any planned shut off. It is likely that some works may impact upon traffic movements and as always we ask that you be aware of any changed traffic conditions, and follow the temporary traffic measures that may be in place.

Are you taking this opportunity to improve the infrastructure?
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SCIRT's purpose is to create 'resilient infrastructure that gives people security and confidence in the future of Christchurch'. Resilience is the ability for the infrastructure (the roads, pipes etc.) to resist future earthquake damage. Improved infrastructure resilience can be achieved by using better materials, adopting higher construction standards, creating new systems, or minimising hazards.

'Betterment' is used to describe an improvement in the system which can raise both level of service and cost, for example increasing the capacity of piped networks. Betterment, or opportunities for improvement, will be explored on a project by project basis during detailed planning of the works. Where an opportunity creates additional costs, it will need to be considered carefully by local and central government. Where an opportunity reduces costs, for example the narrowing of a street and bringing it up to current roading standards, this will be seriously considered as an option during the rebuild.

Why was there no community consultation undertaken with regard to prioritising works or areas?
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The infrastructure rebuild is a largely technical project and decisions about how and when damaged services are replaced are made by the appropriate technical experts. However, the community does have the chance to be involved in the infrastructure rebuild. Information will be shared through face-to-face briefings, local information displays, letter box drops, online information, and advertising. There may also be the opportunity for the community to influence decision making when planning is underway for some above-ground elements on local streets and parks.

During the rebuild schedule information will be shared with the community in three key ways:

Diagram showing consultation channels

The SCIRT Work Schedule outlines indicative rebuilding timelines for areas across the city. The SCIRT 6 Month Work Schedule will provide information on area(s) recently begun; the next area(s) where works will begin; and update any changes to the work schedule. The SCIRT 6 Month Work Schedule will be updated each quarter.

The work notice is delivered to areas affected by a particular project, typically several days before construction starts, and tells you what, where and when the works will occur, and any important traffic and safety issues.

What will happen to the SCIRT Work Schedule if there is another major earthquake?
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If there is another major earthquake, any emergencies will continue to be managed through Civil Defence. In the case of a major earthquake, Christchurch City Council's maintenance contractors will provide the initial response effort supported by SCIRT rebuild contractors if needed. Another major earthquake may however influence the rebuild schedule changing the priority for some projects or areas.

Who is fixing the 'other' city owned infrastructure?
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Other city infrastructure such as facilities and buildings was damaged in the earthquakes. The Christchurch City Council will manage the repair/rebuild of this city-owned infrastructure.

Does the rebuild schedule relate to works on private land (e.g. residential houses)?
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The infrastructure rebuild map relates only to the rebuilding of public infrastructure.

What is the SCIRT Work Schedule all about?
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The earthquakes caused major damage to Christchurch's roads and underground services. SCIRT's task is to rebuild the public 'horizontal infrastructure' damaged in the earthquakes. Horizontal infrastructure is that which runs along the ground and includes roads, fresh water, wastewater, and stormwater networks; and other infrastructure like bridges and retaining walls. Rebuilding this infrastructure is a huge task and is likely to cost around two billion dollars and take several years to complete. The SCIRT Work Schedule sets out the broad timeframes for the rebuild works to be undertaken across the city. It is important to remember that the infrastructure rebuild is only one part of the rebuilding programmes occurring across the city, and is part of the bigger picture for the recovery of Christchurch.