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Thursday, 12 May 2011

Rebuilding Christchurch - earthquake engineers call for rethink

The 2011 Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering was held in Auckland last month. The conference theme was Building an Earthquake Resilient Society. As can be imagined, the Conference had an ever present reminder of how important the direction of their work was.

The New Zealand science news web news site has reported a number of observations from conference participants. Their summation of the views of the scientists:
Engineers are calling for a rethink in building design and standards in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes. Designing to save buildings as well as lives would improve the resilience of crucial infrastructure following high magnitude quakes.
You can read observations and comments from some conference participants here. It will be interesting to compare what they think is necessary with what CERA and CCC offer up.

A few interesting quotes from conference participants:

* Prof Michael Pender, geotechnical engineer at Auckland University
[From a structural perspective] the MAJOR casualty after the September 04 earthquake was house foundations. The susceptibility of these to lateral spreading was emphasised again after February 22. We need revised standards for construction, and methods of site investigation that flag the risk of liquefaction.
* Dr Rolando Orense, Senior Lecturer in engineering at Auckland University
The buildings and residential houses affected by liquefaction can be retrofitted to make them stronger and to resist damage from future liquefaction.
* Dr Andy Buchanan, Prof of Civil and Natural Resource Engineering at Canterbury University
Lots of buildings in the Christchurch earthquake behaved exactly as expected, but they still ended up buggered.

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