Old earthquake damaged Wellington home repair

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Renovated home in Wellington

Asbestos removal meant that these Wellington homeowners needed to briefly relocated while their ceiling was repaired.

Before After
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Repairing an earthquake damaged ceiling in a 38 year old Wellington home may sound pretty straight-forward, but when it’s a vaulted ceiling that extends to a height of around 5m, and there’s asbestos to be removed, the whole project becomes rather more complex.

Why they chose a Refresh Renovations franchise

For the homeowners, finding someone who could put together the trades needed to execute the work had become a real issue. “We were looking for someone who would be able to provide the project management aspects of the job as well as carry out the necessary work.” After a number of let-downs,   their online research led them to Refresh Renovations. Refresh specialist Mark Morrison explains that, although the damage was superficial cracking, the ceiling is a show piece and it was inappropriate to leave it in the state it was.

Asbestos removal

Asbestos removal is a specialist undertaking and one that must meet WorkSafe NZ’s expectations under the Approved Code of Practice. Mark says the team they use is highly trained and has rigorous procedures in place to ensure all hazards are contained or eliminated.  “WorkSafe made multiple checks on the site to ensure the work was carried out appropriately.”

Home repairs

Because the house had to be fully sealed and decontaminated, a process which took around two weeks, the family relocated. “One of the challenges faced by the project team was the height and scale of the area which meant significant scaffolding had to be set up inside the house,” says Mark. “When the family moved back in they had to tip-toe around this for the remaining weeks of the project.” Another challenge revealed itself when the asbestos was removed and it was discovered a section of the ceiling was water damaged and sagging and would need replacing.

The scope of the project extended beyond the ceiling, with Mark’s client taking the opportunity rip out a free-standing chimney, reline the walls and replace the flooring in the living area, and upgrade the electrical system to better cope with today’s technology. “The existing flooring was old and tired,” says Mark.  “We replaced it with new vinyl planks that provide a robust and effective option for the large space we were covering. And because the clients like their tech, they had a long wish-list that included special sockets and new lighting options.”
The pre-build budget indication was $110,000 but the finished project came in nearer $120,000. “The additional electrical work added around $4000 and replacing the water damaged section of the ceiling we uncovered, another $5,000; one of those horrible necessary things that pops up!”

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It was very much a shared project with the homeowners working weekends to complete the decorating. “Mark and his team understood we had definite ideas of what we wanted for the outcome. We finally chose a flat white finish to replace the dirty off-white of the old textured ceiling space and covered the dated brown beams with a fresh coat of white paint that’s modernised the whole area.”  It also became something of an on-going project with issues around cracking in some of the new ceiling panels. “Mark’s been very good about communicating while we try to figure out a solution.”
A number of commitments, including the hosting of guests, plus the availability of temporary accommodation, meant timing was crucial. “It came down to the wire, but Refresh pulled out all the stops to ensure minimal disruption for our guests.”

Final thoughts

Mark says it was great to be able to solve a problem for the homeowners. “While there was no call for our design know-how, and the owners had indicated they wished to do some of the decorating themselves, we were able to use our project management expertise and ‘one-stop-shop’ approach to deliver a great experience and outcomes for the client.”

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

This project was completed in
April 2019
Project description
Repairs to earthquake damaged vaulted ceiling plus flooring replacement and electrical work
New Zealand
Project duration
2 months
Cost estimate
Actual cost
$120,000 (including the addition of flooring and electrical work)
Height of the ceiling which necessitated indoor scaffolding, the presence of asbestos in the lining and water damaged panels.
Interesting aspects
38 year old Wellington house
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Mark Morrison is Renovation Consultant of Morrison Enterprises Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Wellington

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