DCC building inspectors find Christchurch quake work exhausting

The Dunedin City Council's top building inspector spent an "absolutely frantic" few days in Christchurch helping make decisions "on the fly" as the city slowly hauled itself back to its feet.

Chief building control officer Neil McLeod led the DCC team which headed north last Monday, returning on Friday.

He was stationed at the Emergency Operations Centre as a rescue manager, helping co-ordinate the operation.

His team, building control officers Ricky Berland and Ray Bremer and building safety officer Chris Randell, worked with the suburban task force that inspected and assessed houses.

Mr McLeod said after a disaster, officials had to be fleet-footed to deal with problems never anticipated when training for civil emergencies.

"The sheer scale means many of the solutions are created on the fly." The emergency centre was ... "all go from about 7am to 11pm each day".

The men were exhausted, and even though they finished their duties on Thursday night, they did not drive home because of tiredness.

The rolling aftershocks took their toll, Mr McLeod said.

They seemed to strike just as he dropped off to sleep at nights, and a period of anxious wakefulness usually followed.

The city was "jaded" by several days of aftershocks, he said.

Cities were not equipped to deal with such large-scale events, so it made sense for neighbouring authorities to pitch in.

A second DCC team of four travelled to Christchurch on Thursday, and he expected the council would have a team there for the foreseeable future.

Mr McLeod said it was possible the Christchurch work would put pressure on the DCC to meet building consent deadlines, but this was unlikely unless there was increased demand for consents in the coming weeks.


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