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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Earthquake Royal Commission - four technical reports on the PGC, Forsyth Barr, and Hotel Grand Chancellor buildings

From the Royal Commission's website:
Today the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission has received from the Department of Building and Housing three consultants’ reports containing the results of the Department’s technical investigation into the PGC, Forsyth Barr and Hotel Grand Chancellor buildings.
The Commission has also received a report about all three buildings from the Department's independent expert panel. All four reports can be accessed via the technical reports section of the Commission’s website (here).
The four reports are:
  • Investigation into the Collapse of the Forsyth Barr Building Stairs on 22nd February 2011 by Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner
  • Report on the Structural Performance of the Hotel Grand Chancellor in the Earthquake of 22 February 2011 by Dunning Thornton Consultants
  • Investigation into the Collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation Building on 22nd February 2011 by Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner
  • Structural Performance of Christchurch CBD Buildings in the 22 February 2011 Aftershock Stage 1 Expert Panel Report Covering Pyne Gould Corporation Building, Hotel Grand Chancellor Building, Forsyth Barr Building, 30 September 2011
The quickest route to the reports is to go direct to the Department of Building and Housing's website here.

The main findings of the reports are:
    • Strong ground shaking and exceptionally high vertical accelerations were among the principal reasons that Christchurch's PGC, Forsyth Barr and Hotel Grand Chancellor buildings failed in the aftershock of 22 February 2011.
    • At the time the PGC, Forsyth Barr and Hotel Grand Chancellor buildings were built, design requirements were not as rigorous as they are now.
    • In the case of the PGC building, where there was tragic loss of life, the shaking was much more intense than the building was designed for in 1963 and the building lacked resilience and the ability to move and respond without losing strength.
The Earthquake Royal Commission has said, in relation to these reports:
While the Commission expects the results of the DBH technical investigation will be of significant assistance, we will seek own advice and form our own views. Eminent structural engineer Mr William T. Holmes from San Francisco will review the DBH reports for the Commission.
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