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Process around flooded buildings


As Wairoa cleans up from the damage of Cyclone Gabrielle, local residents are reminded recovery is more like a marathon than a sprint, and there is a process to be followed.


Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna said buildings that were yellow stickered will take time to dry out and reach the required moisture levels.


“Everyone wants to be able to get back to normal as quickly as possible, however we also need to make sure the correct process is followed. To assist in the recovery process, Wairoa District Council is offering fee free building consents or exemptions. This will also provide peace of mind to homeowners and insurance companies that the appropriate steps were taken during the rebuild process.


“If flood waters impacted the inside of your house, in most cases you may need to remove your wall linings and insulation to at least 300mm above the flood line, but please seek advice from your insurance company or a licenced builder first.


“Removing wall linings will enable you to clean, disinfect and dry the exposed areas. Failing to clean, disinfect and dry your damp floors and walls may lead to serious health issues due to mould.

Timber exposed to prolonged dampness will also begin to decay rapidly and lead to bigger issues within your home.”


Mr Tipuna said while he appreciates people want to get back to normal as soon as possible, beginning work too soon and before a building is fully dry, may result in longer-term damage.


“Please be aware that the drying-out process could take anywhere from weeks to months depending on weather conditions and how badly your home was affected. 


“It's very important that houses are moisture tested before walls can be relined. Finishing work must not begin until the building is fully dry.


“Wairoa houses that received either a yellow or red placard need to have the internal wall cavity of the house moisture tested by Council’s Building Control Officer before walls can be relined. The level of moisture in your walls will need to be below 24% before Council can complete a second assessment of your dwelling.”


People are also asked to seek the advice of their insurance company or a licenced builder before they start removing wall linings or floors.


A reminder also, no Wairoa District Council staff will request payment for completing checks on your building, and all Wairoa District Council staff or authorised representatives will be carrying official identification. If someone is asking for payment to conduct an inspection or if people are unwilling to show their identification, please ask them to leave and call the police on 105. 


The Wairoa District Council building team needs to assess all homes and commercial buildings that sustained damage from the extreme weather event. If your home or commercial buildings on your property were impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle and your house hasn’t yet been assessed by the Wairoa District Council building team, please contact Council on 06 838 7309. 


13 March 2023

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