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Faulty building design lead to Christchurch earthquake collapse

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Faulty building design lead to Christchurch earthquake collapse
CCTV collapsed building. Image courtesy of Sky News

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission has completed its inquiry into the collapse of the CTV building which claimed 115 lives in the 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch.

The building which was originally designed by Alun Wilkie Associates as the architect and Alan M Reay Consulting Engineer (ARCE) and was found to have had a worse outcome than other buildings in the area affected by the earthquake.

The building was built fairly recently in 1986 however the failure to uphold Standards meant that the floor slabs pancaked. The engineering design of the building was found to have a number of deficiencies and it was concluded that the building should never have been granted a building permit.

The Commission found that the engineer at the time of the build, David Harding, lacked experience in the software used to develop the design and he had not designed a multi-storey building with a 'significantly eccentric configuration' before. They also found that he did not seek assistance with the design and it was not checked by his employer Dr Alan Reay.

In the 2011 earthquake it is ascertained by the Commission from witnesses that the building twisted as it shook.

"…a brief period when the initial twisting appeared to stop, a tilt towards the east, a vertical jolt and the building pancaking, all of which took place very soon after the shaking started. We have concluded that the collapse was completed within 10–20 seconds of onset of the earthquake."

The Commission summarised:

"Our Inquiry into the failure of the CTV building has, together with other parts of our Inquiry, highlighted a number of areas of potential improvement in relation to the design, construction and maintenance of buildings in a country that is susceptible to earthquakes. The recommendations we have made in our Report are directed to ensuring that, where possible, tragedies like this one are prevented in the future."

 


 

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