Quake report: More research into active faults needed

By Kate Shuttleworth

The CTV building after an earthquake in February, 2011. Photo / Geoff Sloan
The CTV building after an earthquake in February, 2011. Photo / Geoff Sloan

The Government has released the first part of a final report from the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.

The report includes a series of recommendations on how building standards can be improved to prevent new buildings being built that are earthquake-prone.

The report does not include the commission's findings on the CTV Building.

It makes 70 recommendations focusing on a range of technical engineering issues including seismicity, changes to concrete structures, structural steel and earthquake actions standards, providing guidance or training to structural engineers, and low-damage building technologies.

The report recommends more research is carried out into the location of active faults near Christchurch and other population centres in New Zealand.

Spokesman for the victims group Quake Families, Brian Kennedy, welcomed the findings and said he hoped to see some accountability in the reports.

"The recommendations will be good - it's whether they're taken note of,'' said Mr Kennedy, whose wife Faye died in the CTV Building collapse.

Making buildings able to better withstand earthquakes would now be a focus for designers, he hoped.

"Anyone who designs a building now is going to have that in the back of their mind".

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson and Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson also welcomed the report.

Mr Williamson said the recommendations in the report will influence future design and construction practice in Canterbury and throughout New Zealand.

Mr Williamson said the Government will accept all 70 of the findings.

"There is already a comprehensive programme of work underway to address recommendations coming from earlier technical investigations and the expert panel who reviewed the collapse of Christchurch buildings during the 22 February 2011 earthquake.

"The Royal Commission's recommendations generally align with the recommendations made by the Expert Panel.

"Some have already been implemented while others are being worked on or are planned for in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Building and Housing Group's three-year work programme," said Mr Williamson.

The ministry is looking at amendments to the Building Code that will improve the performance of commercial buildings in severe earthquakes.

Mr Williamson said the 70 recommendations released today will be used in the redevelopment of the Christchurch CBD.

The final report will be completed by November this year.

Mr Finlayson said the Government expects to issue a full and comprehensive response to the Royal Commission's complete findings early next year.

Details of the 70 recommendations can be found here.

- APNZ

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