CTV designer accepts responsibility but blames engineer

10:52 pm on 15 August 2012

The man whose company designed the Canterbury Television building which collapsed in the Christchurch earthquake has accepted full responsibility for its failings, but still points the finger at his engineer.

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission is investigating why the CTV building collapsed in the 6.3-magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011, killing 115 people.

Alan Reay, of design firm Alan Reay Consultants, was giving evidence to the commission again on Wednesday.

The last time Dr Reay gave evidence he admitted that the building did not meet his professional or personal standards - a conclusion he reached after considering evidence from the hearing.

On Wednesday he expanded on that, saying that while he thought at the time that the shear walls and gravity structure of the building were acceptable, he now accepts that the design put too much pressure on the concrete beam column joints.

Those joints failed in the February quake, causing the building to pancake down.

But in accepting responsibility, Dr Reay also said he had made a mistake in trusting his engineer David Harding.

"This situation arose because of the trust I placed in what I understood to be a competent and appropriately experienced registered engineer.

"However, as I have said on previous occasions, if there are inadequacies in the design, as principal of the firm I accept responsibility for those inadequacies."

Earlier evidence has shown that David Harding was employed with little experience in designing multi-storey buildings.

Mr Harding on Wednesday offered his heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of those who died and said he has spent many sleepless nights wondering what he could have done differently.

He said he still believes the building was well designed to the codes of the day, but the vertical acceleration of the February quake was too much for its concrete support columns.

The eight-week inquiry concludes this week.