Sweeping Seismic Building Review Surpasses US Attempts

After the deadly Christchurch 6.3 magnitude earthquake, city officials responded with the most sweeping seismic review of concrete buildings ever attempted, far surpassing anything achieved in California.

Post-earthquake, residents were stunned to learn that two-thirds of the 185 people killed in the city in 2011 were in two modern, seemingly solid concrete office buildings that fell down with the shaking. One of the buildings, built in the 1980s, housed a local television station; the other (pictured), built in the 1960s, was filled with financial firms.

The destruction galvanised public interest in making buildings safer.

“The public consciousness has been raised dramatically,” building and construction minister Maurice Williamson said.

Local authorities compiled lists of other potentially vulnerable concrete buildings. The central government told property owners to hire structural engineers to have their buildings evaluated.

Authorities tentatively identified 342 buildings that required further review to determine if they needed to be retrofitted or demolished.

Officials are drafting sweeping legislation that would require multiunit, multistory apartments and all commercial buildings to be seismically evaluated within five years. If serious problems are found, owners would have 15 years to retrofit.


Tags: California  Christchurch earthquake  Los Angeles Times  Maurice Williamson  

In the Zone with Educator Terrance Wallace

In the Zone with Educator Terrance Wallace

Chicago-born Terrance Wallace founded the internationally lauded InZone Project that has been educating impoverished indigenous students in New Zealand for 10 years. InZone is now being replicated in his hometown. Maudlyne…