Williamson defends blocking list of 379 CTV-style buildings

By Pattrick Smellie

Dec 10 (BusinessDesk) - Some 379 buildings have been identified around New Zealand as being built in a similar engineering "genre" to the CTV Building, whose collapse in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake claimed 115 of the 183 lives lost.

At a press conference for the release of Volumes Five to Seven of the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Canterbury quakes, Housing Minister Maurice Williamson said the identities of the so-called "non-ductile" buildings would not be released.

However, a new building code covering their construction, which was due out before Christmas, was now scheduled for release in the early New Year.

The commission of inquiry conducted specific inquiries into the catastrophic failure of the CTV building, which saw floorplates pancake on top of one another, "leaving most inside the building with no chance of survival."

Among recommendations released yesterday were several relating to the need for buildings to "have the capacity to resist seismic and gravity load actions in an acceptable ductile manner."

"The ability of a building to deform in a ductile mode and sustain its lateral strength is more important than its lateral strength."

Williamson said it appeared the deficiencies in the CTV building, which involved engineering consultancy performed by a man later found to have obtained his qualifications fraudulently, was "looking like a stand-out, separate" event.

However, when the "genre" of building style was examined, some 379 buildings had been identified as being built between 1985 and 1992, out of a total of 15,000 to 25,000 buildings thought to be risk-prone in New Zealand.

It would be unfair and "very, very irresponsible" to building owners to release the list," said Williamson. "If we know of a building not up to standard, we would red sticker it. We don't know of a building like that."

(BusinessDesk)

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