How to survive being surrounded by derelict Buildings and Fencing in the Christchurch CBD especially written for Wellington Retailers, How to cope with Derelict and Abandoned buildings and what to expect!
This is a survival guide for SME ‘s (Small and medium-sized enterprises) written by a building owner in the Christchurch CBD, for Wellington, Kaikoura and Blenheim retailers, based on our experience.
This follows on from a blog written in January 2015. Building Owners Guide to Red Stickering. Which is still very relevant. https://cardmakerschc.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/in-memory-of-four-years-of-our-lives-lost-to-insurance-and-building-issues-in-christchurch/
After 6 years we thought we would cast some light on the inefficiency of the “Powers that be” in dealing with building abandonment issues.
First the back ground. You are a business trying to survive and trade in a building that is surrounded by derelict buildings and fencing, in a now dead-end street. You are the only building open in that section of street.
Basic ground rules:
1. Do not expect any help or assistance from anyone. Your local Council’s will not know that you exist and Government officials ( CERA/CCDU/Regenerate/Otakaro or what ever alphabet soup they are currently using) will be invisible. (There will be the odd exception to this but they are few and far between, do not count on it.)
2. The fencing surrounding you will be put in place with great precision and fanfare. That is the last time the “powers that be” will inspect it. ( After 6 years it will be a mess and leak like a sieve. It becomes a looters magnet).
3. There will no security arrangements put in place. Either for you or the derelict buildings. Alarm your building now. The abandoned buildings are a “looters magnet”.
4. There will be no infrastructure repairs done in your area, in our case for 6 years.
5. No contractor will want to work on your building. Especially if it is a Heritage Building.
6. There will be no foot traffic, for 6 years…. and still counting.
7. You will have No communication from anyone in power. You will have no idea what is happening, remember at all times: Say it after me: “The powers that be” do not communicate”.
8. You will never find out who is in charge! Think of it as a game. Otherwise you will go insane. They will all duck for cover when you ring and they will dump your call for help as soon as they can.
9. Repeated attempts to get the other building owners to act, including the government (they purchased buildings in High Street and did nothing for 3 years ), will be ineffective and futile. Save your energy for a battle that you can win.
10. There is no legislation in place for this situation. Otherwise I would not be writing this for you would I?
The government can fine a farmer for not wearing his helmet on a motor bike, as a Health and Safety issue, but they can not stop a building owner from abandoning a dangerous building for 6 years.
11. There will be no mail delivery, rubbish collection or street sweeping, for 6 years.. and counting.
12. It is only possible to stay in your building if you have a niche customer base. If your business relies on foot traffic close now. It is retail suicide to stay open if you are dependent on foot traffic! The public do not want to risk coming to your business if they feel unsafe in the area. The Best advice I can give you is get web based as quickly as you can. Working from home can work in certain instances, but it really is not worth the effort. Close down and get another job. (This is what we should have done).
13. Do not be surprised if they close the street completely because they do not know that you are still there. ie for road works because they want convenient car park.etc.
They do not know who you are and remember at all times that they do not Care, you are collateral damage and you are not important. What did you say your name was? Where are you from?
14. They will lock you out of your building after every magnitude 5 quake. They will require a Level 2 Engineers assessment before you can re-enter. Insist that you see this assessment if you are a tenant in a building. Also insist on seeing the DEE (Detailed Engineering Assessment).
15. If you have to raid your own stock from a building that is abruptly closed, do so SAFELY. Wear fluro, preferably with “Engineer” on the back, carry a clip board, do it in broad day light. Have spotters looking out for trouble ie any one else in fluro…. Take your accounts, wage books, grab your computer, chuck your stock in a wheelie bin. BE SAFE not reckless! (Stock will be pillaged, looted overnight if you leave the building unattended).
Sad but true!
“Professor Ilan Noy, chair in economic disasters at Victoria University, tells Wallace why he thinks it’s a bad idea and discusses the likely economic impact of this week’s quakes”.
It is well worth listening to this!
Be prepared for the long haul and do not sweat over the small stuff.
I know that you will think that I am exaggerating, I am not and you will find that out.