Quake inquiry focuses on new building technologies

12:04 pm on 12 March 2012

An earthquake engineer says non-structural parts of buildings being rebuilt in Christchurch need to be redesigned to better withstand future quakes.

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission on Monday is looking at new building technologies that could change the way the city rebuilds following damaging quakes that began in September 2010.

Over the next three days, commissioners will debate with academics and engineers the current and emerging building design philosophies and their economic impacts.

Rajesh Dhakal from the University of Canterbury told the Royal Commission that non-structural elements were not considered much of a risk before the quakes, but have since proven they can be dangerous and damaging.

Dr Dhakal, one of several academics and engineers making presentations, says building parts under discussion include parapets, wall partitions, chimneys and ceilings.

Making them earthquake resistant will improve building safety and reduce future damage and financial loss, he says.

An expert panel will discuss Dr Dhakal's report on Monday afternoon.

The results of the hearing could affect building designs nationally.