Buildings not ready for killer- size quake
BUILDINGS in Christchurch were not built to cope with the fero city of the 6.3-magnitude killer earthquake that ripped through the South Island city, the council says.
All 1750 buildings in the CBD met with international building standards, most recently reviewed in 1984, Canterbury Council Buildings Manager Steve McCarthy said.
However, the code – which is a minimum standard – didn’t take in to consideration a quake so close and so shallow as last Tuesday’s.
‘‘ The earthquake last Tuesday was 50 per cent more than one could have expected and the ground moved, and it moved the buildings and that acceleration affected the buildings,’’ Mr McCarthy said.
‘‘ The unique thing about the earthquake as well was that it vertically lifted the ground and buildings and then dumped them back on the ground at two times the force of gravity.
‘‘ Consequently the buildi ngs have failed and i t couldn’t have been expected and it certainly wasn’t designed for it.’’
International crews have focused rescue efforts on two buildings in particular –Canterbury Television ( CTV) and Pyne Gould Corporation ( PGC) – the sites of most of the 148 deceased recovered so far.
Council officials deemed both of the buildings safe after an external examination was conducted following September’s 7.1 magnitude quake.
It’s not a requirement to follow up on these external assessments, and the responsibility falls on the buildings’ owners to ensure the safety of the site, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said yesterday.
‘‘ We have full confidence in their evaluations,’’ Mr McCarthy said.
‘‘ We were never advised of any issue of either of those buildings.’’
Over the last week, council have externally examined all the buildings within the four, most hard-hit blocks of the CBD and slapped 640 of t hem with red sticker s , deeming them too dangerous to enter. The council has not spoken to the owners of the buildings, but plans to, Mr Parker said, however he said he wasn’t in a position to name them.
Crews weren’t able to recover any more bodies yesterday, with the death toll remaining at 148. With at least 50 people still missing, police expect this number to rise. Acting National Controller Steve Brazier said that 30 per cent of the buildings in the CBD will require heavy machinery t o sift through the rubble and locate bodies.
‘‘ It would be fair to say though that this has been now some considerable time since we had any sign of life on any of the sites we have been conducting operations within the four block area,’’ said leader of the Urban Search and Rescue team, Jim Stuart-Black.
‘‘ It is highly unlikely that we will encounter live victims within collapse structures. Realistically, it would be a miracle if we were to encounter somebody at this stage on any of the sites.’’