Ten years after the devastating Christchurch earthquake, structural engineer Dr Dmytro Dizhur has launched a book about what happens to old brick buildings when the ground starts shaking.
Dizhur has been a familiar figure in Whanganui. He came here often during his research into techniques for securing old brick buildings against earthquakes. In 2013, he even bought one - the Johnstone & Co building next to Whanganui City Bridge.
He now has a design for strengthening it and intends to get started within the next six months.
In 2010 and 2011, he and a team of researchers based themselves in Christchurch and documented in depth the fate of 650 old brick buildings. Some had been earthquake strengthened already, which made the work especially interesting.
It was the biggest such database in the world.
His new book tells what happened to 52 of the buildings. It was released on February 22, exactly 10 years after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
Titled Structural Performance, it provides a visual record and explains the methods used in strengthening, with minimal text.
The book is attractive enough to sit on a coffee table and, while he hoped it would attract a wide audience, he wanted it to act as a resource for local authorities and a textbook for engineering students.
His purpose was to tell people what works in earthquake strengthening old brick buildings - to save lives and businesses and keep the buildings standing.
He also wanted to make sure that research continues. All the money from book sales will go into scholarships for young engineers to further the research.
He said there was now a "toolbox" of ways to strengthen the heritage buildings. They included ways to attach wooden floors to brick walls, and ways to brace parapets against falling, as just two examples.
Which tools were used would depend on the building; for example, whether its heritage look needed to be maintained, if it had any vulnerabilities, and if it had tenants that must stay in place during the work.
"Each one is unique, and has to be addressed in a unique way," Dizhur said.
Having the tools would make strengthening buildings less scary for owners, and in many cases they would find it cheaper to improve them than to demolish them, he said.