25 Mar, 2021 05:00 am

Christchurch Earthquake: Five Lessons In Construction After A Decade Of Analysis

Christchurch Earthquake: Five Lessons In Construction After A Decade Of Analysis
Over the last 10 years since the most destructive of Canterbury’s earthquakes, former Senior Structural Engineer with HERA (Heavy Engineering Research Association) Charles Clifton has analysed why certain structures (such as the CTV building) failed ...

Through my collaboration with HERA (New Zealand’s Heavy Engineering Research Association), the University of Canterbury Associate Professor Gregory MacRae and Auckland University of Technology Senior Lecturer Shahab Ramhormozian, New Zealanders can be assured that the best structural and civil engineering minds are resolving the challenges around building performance; human safety; and the cost of construction and remedial strengthening in light of what we learned from Christchurch.Structural steel buildings in the region performed very well during the earthquake, overall, showing that there were no deficiencies in New Zealand’s seismic design practice for steel building structures at that time.The focus should be on designing to the conditions and risks, and New Zealand is doing that well; for instance, precast floors are not being used in high-seismic regions.HERA has done a lot of work over the past few years to make certain that all steel coming into New Zealand, whether fabricated (to go straight into buildings) or pieces of steel for local fabrication, complies with the same level of quality that we require of local producers.

In New Zealand multi-storey construction, it’s up to the design team to put an inspection plan in place and designate the inspectors, and the building consent authorities are typically completely hands-off.Associate Professor Clifton’s PhD was awarded in 2005; its principal outcome was two new forms of semi-rigid beam to column connections for moment-resisting steel frames which are now used in a number of high profile New Zealand buildings.

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