Firth’s RibRaft ® TC3 foundation system gives hope to home-owners - Firth | ArchiPro

Firth’s RibRaft ® TC3 foundation system gives hope to home-owners

Products used: RibRaft TC3®


The RibRaft ® TC3 technology allows for construction to sit ON the ground not IN it. CERA identified 28,000 properties as TC3 land in Canterbury with approximately 12,500 damaged during the earthquakes. Since then many houses have been repaired whilst others have been removed with the creation of Red Zones around the most damaged land in the city.

For the balance of the properties there are a number of repair and replacement options available to home-owners and insurers. Firth’s extremely successful RibRaft®TC3 foundation has been used for over 550 rebuilds with many more underway. The popularity of the system is not only due to its seismic performance but its economy, versatility and consistency of cost.

Without Firth – I wouldn’t have my home!

Most New Zealander’s will never forget the scenes of devastation and destruction inflicted by the Christchurch earthquakes. With so many buildings and homes damaged the impact was huge for a large portion of the population - no more so than Gavin Lowe, a then 77 year old widower living 10 minutes south of the city. With his seven-year old home damaged beyond repair in a matter of moments, Gavin thought a replacement home would surely not be a problem until the instability of his land was diagnosed. After three visits by the insurance company nobody was willing to help him design a replacement home and he was starting to lose hope - until he saw a brochure on Firth’s RibRaft® TC3 foundation slab system.

“If I hadn’t started making enquiries myself I probably would still be living in my damaged home as I didn't want to leave the area,” explains Gavin. “No one wanted to touch this land as they had drilled down 19m before they struck solid ground. After I saw Firth’s RibRaft® TC3 foundation slab system I rang Shaun from Firth and he came to inspect the site. Firth was the only company to come up with a system that would work. It was approved by the insurers and I was able to start rebuilding my home.”

Gavin project managed the build with long time friend and builder Philip Davidson and, after three years and at the age of 80, he moved into his rebuilt home. “If I hadn’t taken the initiative I might have died before I had my home rebuilt,” says Gavin. “Firth were really great from start to finish. Their contractors and people were very helpful and considerate to my neighbours. I have been really impressed. I would use them again - but let’s hope I don’t need to! I am very grateful because, without Firth, I wouldn’t have my home.”

What exactly is TC3?

Technical Categories (TC1, 2 and 3) are a classification developed by the Department of Building & Housing (DBH) to describe how the land is expected to perform in future earthquakes. They are part of the guidance provided by DBH regarding engineering options for new or repaired residential foundations in Canterbury.

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