Nick MacKechnie
#8 wire kinda guy.....

The New Adventure – Update 02 #EQC #CHCH

Thursday, 30 June 2011 05:16 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

It’s been just over 6 weeks since work commenced on my house, it’s been off the ground for almost four weeks so I thought I’d continue to report on the progress and learnings. First job after lifting the house was to remove the old ring foundation and clear the way for the new foundation. I opted for the speed block ring foundation as it’s stronger and once it’s plastered will look original and in keeping with the age of the house.


On Monday the 13th of June, Christchurch experienced two more large earthquakes which again devastated the eastern suburbs of Christchurch. It took me 1.5 hours to drive the normal 10 minute journey to go and check on the house. As you can see the house/ground clearly moved, the supports were now looking suspect (to my untrained eyes), so I called the construction company who quickly had this addressed. I’m not sure how much confidence it gave me seeing how it was braced, but with the subsequent aftershocks the house continued to stay up Smile


Whilst the house was up on blocks, there was no better time to address under floor insulation (previously there was foil there) and sort out my CAT6/Satellite/UHF and speaker cabling for the surround sound in the lounge and for the front and rear decks. Falcon Construction installed 50mm polystyrene blocks under the floor.


The speed block ring foundation was completed and concrete poured – The first thing you worry about is whether they put the thing in exactly in the right spot, and wonder if its moved much during the subsequent aftershocks. I was talking to the foundation guys and they said “if the house has moved, we put the house on rollers and move it, it’s a pain, but we’ve done it before, just takes time.”


Murray and I spent a few days pulling cables under the floor, in the ceiling and mounting flush boxes around the house. It seemed like the time to do it while it was off the ground, however spending hours under the house was a little un-nerving at times.

Below – This is the patch panel where all Cat6/Satellite/UHF/DSL/Phone cabling will be terminated and the lounge where the TV and appliances will go.


Below – Cabling into the lounge as well as the tidy cabling under the house.


With the ring foundation finished, the next phase was to re-install the jacks in order to lower the house - this is done by hydraulic jacks as per below.


Below – Termination of the hydraulic cabling to the jacks and laser levelling/checking the height of the piles. Most of the concrete piles have been subsequently removed and replaced with large wooden ones.


Below – Concrete piles removed and replaced with wooden.


The house was slowly lowered today onto the new ring foundation and piles, there were many creaks and groans as it lowered but we got there safely. So now the inside work begins - It seems surreal and now exciting to have the house back on the ground. I’m sure like many in Christchurch who are going through this, or will, it’s a great opportunity to replace a lot of things internally/externally and update parts of the house that need work – I have a whole list, (and if you’re like to donate a bunch of cash, happy to accept your donationsSmile) so game on!




House is now level.. look at that Winking smile


More photos available here.

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Fight or flight – Christchurch #eqnz

Friday, 17 June 2011 07:02 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

I suspect that many of us in the Canterbury region have been navel gazing and contemplating life since the aftershocks/quakes on Monday. It left me with a sense of anger and frustration more so than the previous events in September and February. Although things have been far from normal since February, an element of normality was there with those that could returning to work, roads being patched, water becoming safe to drink, many having working sewerage etc.

Our children are our future, and when these types of things occur, it encourages you to checkpoint and consider if I’m doing the right thing by them in terms of the present and future.

Here’s a few thoughts I have:

Children are resilient and their needs are simple – a roof over their head, food, drink, people around them that love, support and care for them. So long as these basic needs can be met, the kids will continue to be happy and deal with things as they come along. The opportunity for us as parents is to be as honest as we can about the changes, and install confidence in them that things will get better.

These kids I believe as they grow up will be something very special. They have had to deal with change, fear, uncertainty, disruption and adapt (some better than others of course).  I believe what this creates is a individual who becomes less fearful of the unknown who is better armed to deal with the present and through the journey we have ahead of us, sees possibility and opportunity - I look forward to them entering the workforce. The only barriers we have are the ones we put up, equally I think they will challenge decisions of old, validate or encourage and drive change.

I was listening to More FM this morning, the crew were driving around the eastern suburbs offering small gifts of cash to those so badly affected. The last gentleman visited was badly damaged in the September quake (and still hasn’t heard or seen anyone from EQC) as they drove up the driveway, all you could hear was pouring water. The water up the drive was over the wheels on the 4WD vehicle. Since Monday 60000 litres of water had been drained from this street with the aftershocks subsequently bringing it all back. It’s soul destroying hearing these types of stories, and I’m positive there are many more like this that have not yet been reported.

I know a few people that have left town since Monday. There is NO shame in this, if it’s the right thing to do for you and your family, take the break, collect your thoughts and do what’s best for your family. A home is something you go home to after work and want to enjoy on the weekends. The psychological damage of going home to a house that reminds you of the damage across the city has a huge impact on the headspace people are in, as well as your ability to relax. I also understand the sense of feeling trapped – People with damaged houses still have commitments in terms of mortgages which can make it harder to make decisions about staying or leaving Christchurch.

The road a head won’t be a short nor easy one, I’m optimistic and excited about the future for Christchurch and see a wealth of possibilities in terms of a new city with  world class infrastructure that offers opportunities for the young and old. It’s about making smart decisions now with the future in mind for not only Christchurch, but look at how we can leverage this for the greater good of New Zealand.


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The New Adventure – Update 01

Wednesday, 8 June 2011 04:03 by Nick MacKechnie

So it’s been a few weeks now since work commenced on repairing my home. I’ve been extremely impressed with the speed at which progress is being made – In two weeks my possessions have been packed up, carpet, fireplace and gib removed in the lounge, hallway and three bedrooms, insulation installed in the walls (can’t wait), front deck removed, and the house lifted ~1.5 metres off the ground. WP_000557WP_000555


Currently the team are removing the ring foundation, piles and concrete steps, replacing and then lowering the house down again. It’s quite surreal seeing your place lifted off the ground and realising the ‘home’ that once was will be quite different once it’s a home again. I’m using this opportunity to make some alterations to the house which I’m quite excited about, as well as re-cabling for cat6, fibre, satellite, UHF, home entertainment as well as for the front and soon to be new back deck.

While I find myself ‘homeless’ for a while, my mind tends to wander and consider a few things. Every time I travel out of the city and connect with peers and customers, people are always keen to check in to see how things are going. I really appreciate the questions and thoughts of the kind folk asking.

I would imagine that it’s quite difficult to get a sense of perspective as to how things are really going on the ground versus the snippets in the press. We all deal with things differently and are at different points in understanding the impact of these disasters on our friends, family, employers/employees and our own personal home situation.

The thing I’m cognisant of is focusing on moving forward – we can’t change the past, it is what it is, so let’s learn from these disasters as well as the good, bad and ugly in order to make well informed decisions for our future as well as the generations to come. I see this is an awesome opportunity to build a world class city with infrastructure that will enable us create new opportunities for not only Canterbury but New Zealand.

I was fortunate enough to attend TedxCHCH a few weeks ago and really enjoyed the presentation by Art Agnos, the former Mayor of San Francisco during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake – If you have a few moments, have a look.

People who know me, know that once I have a destination in mind, it takes a bit to deter or slow me down. My thoughts go out to those who are less persistent, don’t have the know-how, the elderly who may be simply waiting for *something* or don’t want to ask for help. If are looking for help, please checkout the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority website -

I’m really fortunate to be in the position that I’m in with repairs underway - there are many that have less clarity around what’s happening, or have seen little or no progress.  If I can be of help to anyone, feel free to reach out.


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