Thursday, 9 September 2010

First assessment

Today we had a 3-person team visit us to do a preliminary assessment of our situation. A woman from the CCC was accompanied by two building inspectors from Nelson; the woman did a personal interview with Heather and me (she circled the happy face, we noticed, so she must think we're mentally stable) while the inspectors checked out the building.

The outcome is that we have a green sheet taped to our front door; we can stay here, but with restrictions. We're not supposed to use the brick additions; that's easy, the sunroom is so shonky we've been staying out anyway, and the addition on the east side, part breakfast nook and part living room, is easily avoided. We'll have to move the dining table, or eat off the kitchen island.

The next stage is a proper engineering assessment. That could take a while. In the meantime we're boxing on with artesian water, which we're still boiling for safety, and a porta-potty, which we're not emtying into holes in the garden often enough. I am required at the University at 9am for a safety and situation briefing, then an office sort-out. I gather our offices are OK, just lots of stuff fallen off shelves; 30 mins should have Jess and me back to normality. I guess we'll be there most of the day, but my manager has already said he's OK with me taking time whenever I need it to sort out domestic stuff.

As far as the house goes, I think there are two main options. First, and cleanest in my view, is to demolish and rebuild a modern house on the site. Second is to keep the core house and level it (how do you ram 1.8m piles under a 95 year old house that's only 300mm off the ground?), then rebuild the extensions to modern code. I suspect that would look cheaper, but cost more in the long run, and it would still leave a not particularly significant house with patched-up foundations, and unknown other issues.

In any event, we don't have to move in a hurry, and maybe not at all. But we have a Plan B, thanks to a friend of Heather's who teaches Japanese at Shirley Boys High. She lives in a 3 bedroom house near Bottle Lake and has offered to have us as flatmates for some time. And next year she goes on extended leave for the whole year, so she'd have been looking for people to rent her house anyway. If we have to rebuild, it could easily take a year, so this looks like a great deal all round. Once we know the next step, we'll know if we have to move.

In the meantime, we are awaiting mains water supply and sewerage. That will make all the difference, and will also help us make decisions about accommodation.

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