Surveying residential damage: Fraser Thomas

Fraser Thomas’ areas of engineering expertise are many and varied. One particularly close to some homeowners following the Canterbury earthquakes is the company’s work surveying damage to residential buildings.



“An unfortunate consequence of the earthquakes is that there have been a number of disagreements between homeowners and insurance companies about the causes and severity of damage to homes,” says David Mawhinney, Senior Surveyor with Fraser Thomas.

“In order to reach resolution on those disagreements, it is often necessary to have independent experts provide evidence about the elements of a building that may have sustained damage. As surveyors, we are trained to take measurements of appropriate accuracy and present the data collected in a user-friendly format for others to understand and interpret.”

Building elements often measured include:
• Land movement
• Verticality of walls, window sills, door frames and piles
• Levels of floors, ceilings and foundation bearers

“We are contracted by either of the parties in a dispute. There are always different methods of measuring building elements ranging from GNSS to lasers to tape measures amongst others. The most accurate, reliable and efficient methods must be chosen and can sometimes be quite time consuming. The outcome of the survey is of great value to the homeowner so it is important to get it right.”

For the Fraser Thomas team these surveys are extremely interesting. “They are unique – a kind of detective work – and it is professionally satisfying if we can contribute to fair and reasonable resolution of disputes.”



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