Christchurch couple discovers fault in house's earthquake repairs, may reflect wider issue

A Christchurch couple has uncovered a fault in their houses earthquake repairs that could affect hundreds of other homeowners and cost millions to repair.

Jane Cowper and Sander Murray purchased the house three years ago, wanting a fresh start. They've been renovating the house, but when they went to do a last extension off the back they discovered cracked foundations.

"It exposed the ring foundation that was covered by a deck and there was an enormous crack through it," said Cowper.

There were many more cracks. An engineer issued a stop work notice.

"It's quite hard to tie in a new ring foundation that's been designed by an engineer into an old rubble ring, it just wouldn't hold," said Richard Dalkie from RPD Construction.

EQC had signed off the repairs in 2012 and the couple got a builder's report before buying the house.

"It was a glowing report, said Cowper.

Underfoot Services put cameras under houses and say this property is indicative of a much wider issue.

Many older foundations are made from rubble and old bricks and without looking under the house, it's almost impossible to detect any damage.

"This unfortunately is quite common in Canterbury and it should have been picked up when they assessors came through to look at it," said Jake Preston from Underfoot Services.

EQC, will cover all costs, which could include lifting the house and putting in a new ring foundation.

"Over the past 12 months, we've received reopened claims for just over 600 claims for defective foundation repairs," said Renee Walker from EQC.

EQC have only in the last year started looking under houses.

"Any assessments we do now, we are doing an underfloor inspection so that we are picking up any foundation damage."

But that's no help for this family who now facing moving out and many months of further work.