Shortage of engineers hinders claims processes in Auckland

"People are still clearing up after the Nelson damage that was happening last year"

Shortage of engineers hinders claims processes in Auckland

Catastrophe & Flood

By Kenneth Araullo

A shortage of geotechnical engineers has put a damper on the efforts to complete damage assessments for insurance claims relating to Cyclone Gabrielle, an expert from the Auckland Council said. This shortage also means that some residents in Nelson are still waiting for their own assessments following the floods that hit the city almost nine months ago.

According to Ross Roberts, head of engineering and resilience at the Auckland Council, there is a nationwide shortage of geotech engineers, and one of the challenges is making sure that those who are available are used as efficiently as possible.

"There's not enough geotechnical engineers in New Zealand to deal with all of the problems that New Zealand as a whole is facing right now. People are still clearing up after the Nelson damage that was happening last year, so there's going to be a real shortage and there will be for some time,” Roberts said in a report from the RNZ.

According to the report, 139 properties in the coastal community of Muriwai are uninhabitable, with many residents fearing that their insurance cover will run out before the council completes their geotechnical assessments. While Muriwai has the most damaged homes in the region, Roberts said that his team was working on sites across the entire city, which contributes to the delays. That said, he expressed confidence that the assessments will be finished by August.

"It's a huge job. Although the Muriwai community has been hit terribly hard, and we put out a huge amount of focus on that, there are lots of other communities around Auckland that have been hit really badly as well. We have to make sure they are dealt with in the same way, so there's a lot of work across the whole region,” he said.

By early March, the Toka Tū Ake EQC had recorded 4,000 claims relating to land damage in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle. An official said that processing these claims would be a lengthy process, overall depending on the claim’s complexity.

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