Searchers look for survivors in the CTV building in
February last year. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
The engineer whose firm designed the CTV building could
face an investigation by the industry body and be banned from
working again if complaints about him are upheld.
A copy of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission report
into the six-storey Christchurch office block's collapse in
the February 22, 2011, earthquake - released yesterday - has
been given to the Institution of Professional Engineers New
A series of engineering, construction and council-related
errors over 20 years led to the collapse of the building, the
royal commission found.
Prime Minister John Key yesterday said the commission's
report made for ''grim and sobering reading''.
It concluded the engineering design of the building was
deficient in a number of ways.
It should not have been issued with a building permit because
it was not built to the standards of the time. Defects
occurred during the construction of the office block, which
was poorly supervised by the construction manager.
The royal commission also found that after the first major
quake - in September 2010 - the CTV building was
''green-stickered'' by a rapid assessment team and later by
three council building officials, none of whom was an
The report came after the intensive eight-week hearing which
heard testimony from more than 80 witnesses, including
collapse survivors, witnesses, building designers,
architects, engineers, builders and inspectors.
Some angry CTV families have lodged a complaint with IPENZ to
have Dr Alan Reay investigated.
Dr Reay's firm, Alan Reay Consultants Ltd, designed the
concrete Madras St building that came down in the magnitude
6.3 quake, killing 115 people.
The royal commission report criticised Dr Reay for giving
inexperienced engineer David Harding the task of coming up
with its design in 1986.
Dr Reay was also criticised for not reviewing design plans,
and for playing a part in Christchurch City Council
wrongfully signing off a building permit.
The report said Dr Reay did not provide adequate supervision
to Mr. Harding.
Mr Harding was ''working beyond his competence'' because he
had not designed a complex multistorey structure before, and
was inexperienced in the use of a computer modelling program
relied on for the design.
As a result, many of the building's features were
Despite the council's buildings engineer, Graeme Tapper,
holding concerns about the structural designs, he signed it
off in September 1986.
The commission found Mr Tapper and his colleagues had been
convinced by Dr Reay their concerns were unfounded.
After the CTV building collapsed, construction defects were
While the foreman of the construction was found to be
competent, his construction manager Gerald Shirtcliff did not
carry out proper or regular inspections at the site.
At one point the construction was not supervised for five
Structural weaknesses in the building were identified during
its sale in 1990, but the remedies may have weakened the
building's ability to withstand seismic activity.
The commission also found that after the September 2010
quake, council assessments declared the building safe without
expert advice from an engineer.
Commissioners noted that even if an engineer had been
present, there was no guarantee the building would have
received a yellow sticker, instead of a green sticker.
Brian Kennedy, spokesman for support group Quake Families,
confirmed some families wanted IPENZ to probe Dr Reay's
fitness to practise.
''There's a belief that he should be held accountable for
what has happened,'' Mr Kennedy, whose wife Faye died in the
''IPENZ has delayed answering the complaint until this report
has been released.
''[Some families] believe that everything that was put down
on paper has been vindicated by the commission, so ... come
on boys, do your thing."
There was no answer at Dr Reay's apartment in Christchurch
yesterday. Media calling at his office in Madras St - the
same street where the CTV building once stood - were directed
to his media statement.
The statement said Dr Reay had not been provided with a copy
of the royal commission's report.
''When I receive a copy, I will study it carefully with the
assistance of the experts who assisted ARCL and gave
extensive evidence to the commission.
''It is premature to make any other comment,'' he said.
IPENZ chief executive Dr Andrew Cleland welcomed the final
report, describing it as ''comprehensive and detailed''.
''The engineering community is already working hard to apply
the lessons that have been learnt from the collapse of the
CTV building, and from the Canterbury earthquakes more
generally. The report of the royal commission is an important
part of this evolution,'' Dr Cleland said.
''A number of initiatives are under way, and armed with the
recommendations of the royal commission we will be building a
number of new work programmes to make further strides in
improving engineering practice."
IPENZ yesterday declined to comment on any complaints.
The Government will not give an official response to the
latest part of the royal commission's investigation until
Mr Key said he wanted to release the report to give families
of the dead access to the information as soon as possible.