A Christchurch engineer has been removed from the register of Chartered Professional Engineers after he was found to be "incompetent" in the design of an office building in central Christchurch.
Engineering New Zealand's Disciplinary Committee found that Joo Hyun Cho, of Seismotech Consulting Ltd, failed to comply with the Building Code when he designed the eight-storey building at 230 High St in 2015.
Concerns about the building were first raised by a graduate engineer in 2017 while it was under construction.
The concerns included the design of the building, bracing modified to enable access to the stairwell, and the structure's ability to withstand seismic loads.
The Christchurch City Council reviewed the building in 2018 and found it did not appear to comply with the building code.
In December 2019 the building developer asked the Christchurch City Council to cordon off his defective multi-storey block in the main shopping zone.
The company said at the time it was moving as fast as possible to get to the bottom of what had gone wrong at 230 High St.
The engineering company Beca - in a report for the government - confirmed the eight-storey, $8 million-plus block had 10 major seismic design flaws that would probably render it "unstable" in an earthquake that, if it were designed right, the building would withstand.
The Beca report had recommended further investigation into whether the building might twist and damage neighbouring buildings in a quake.
Engineering New Zealand's investigation found peer reviewers raised issues with Cho during the design phase but these were not addressed and that the building changed significantly during construction.
In its decision, the Disciplinary Committee found Cho "breached his obligations" by dismissing peer reviewers' concerns about modified lateral bracing.
Cho maintained the building design was acceptable and compliant with the Building Code.
The Disciplinary Committee disagreed and expressed "deep concerns" about his apparent unwillingness to alter his behaviour.
Cho was ordered to be removed from the register of Chartered Professional Engineers, pay over $12,500 in costs, and is ineligible to re-apply for registration for two years.
Engineering New Zealand is the professional body for engineers with represents and regulates its 20,000 members.
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