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Saturday, 5 November 2011

ChristChurch Cathedral update

There are two new updates concerning the Cathedral.

The Church has released information about the state of the building, the planned deconsecration, and the subsequent partial demolition. This news release is available from the Cathedral website here.

CERA yesterday released what it calls The Christchurch Cathedral File on its website here. From the CERA web page it is possible to download the whole file (major download at 66MB) or parts of it. Unfortunately the CERA server, as of last night, does not support download resuming. This can be frustrating with large files. For those with slow internet connections the risk of having to try repeatedly top download a file can be reduced by using the option to down a section at a time.

The full File is made up of 460 pages going from the most recent (2 Nov 2011), back to shortly after the February earthquake. It is sort of in date date order, but only just, with recent material as likely to be found at the back as the front. The File has a large number of documents and no page numbers. The page numbers referred to below are from the PDF page numbers of the full document, and will not be the same in other versions.

It contains a mixture of:
  • e-mails
  • written communications
  • reports with many diagrams, a larger number of photographs, and extensive lists of observed damage
  • much repetition of earlier information, especially in e-mails, which bulk out the document.
In a skim-read of the documents not much caught my eye, however I was interested in these bits someone in CERA had written on the 28th of October in response to engineering reports forwarded to CERA (page 79):
It is the opinion of CERA engineers that the proposed make safe options, in their current form, do not reduce the risk of injury or death to tradesmen working in or around the building to an acceptable level. The preferred option will need to be further developed to ensure that safety issues are fully addressed.
CERA Engineers have considered full demolition versus partial demolition and in our opinion, the extent of stable structure left after demolition of those parts of the building that could collapse or otherwise cause injury or death to any person in or around the building would be minimal.
As previously reported we believe that the building in its present condition would pose a high risk to tradesmen erecting and carrying out the proposed temporary strengthening works within, or around, the building. We therefore conclude that it would not be practicable to strengthen the building temporarily or otherwise in a safe manner without the risk of collapse of part or all of the building.
On the basis of this information and our considered opinion, we recommend that you determine that the Christchurch Anglican Cathedral be deemed a dangerous building for the purpose of issuing a letter to the building owner under Section 38 of the C.E.R, Act, and that the building be demolished. The demolition must include all parts of the building that could collapse or otherwise cause injury or death to any person in or around the building.
One of the reports referred to in the first paragraph above is contained in the File from page 430 onwards. 

Also contained in the document is the October 28 media release by the Church, along with supporting information (starting at page 338).

On page 354 is a document, apparently from RCP (Resource Co-ordination Partnership Ltd) and dated 28 October 2011 at 7.12 am, which reads:
Frankly we are surprised and most disappointed that despite all formal agreements and collaborative efforts and formal reiterations around confidentiality and working together, as recently as our meeting held on Wednesday, CCC's consulting engineers have purposefully made the page 3 of today's Press. (here)
We will respond more formally about this matter to CCC next week, and may now need to consider addressing the above as part of today's formal announcement.

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