Buildings 'not designed for quake's deadly force'

4:10 pm on 2 March 2011

Christchurch City Council says two buildings that collapsed claiming dozens of lives were built to withstand the magnitude of the last year's earthquake, but not the deadly force of last week's huge aftershock.

Both the Canterbury Television and Pyne Gould buildings received green stickers from the council after the the 7.1-magnitude earthquake in September.

The council's environmental policy and approvals manager, Steve McCarthy, says other regulations then required further inspections.

He says the September earthquake was only about a third of the force design standards require buildings to cope with, but last week's quake exceeded the design parameters by 50%.

Last Tuesday's quake had a vertical lift of more than twice the force of gravity. Mr McCarthy said some buildings just haven't been able to withstand that, and when it comes to apportioning blame, mother nature has a role to play.

Inquiry to examine consents and inspections

A Department of Building and Housing report into the collapse of the buildings will not lay blame, the deputy chief executive Dave Kelly says.

Mr Kelly says the investigation will examine the original building consents, plans, inspections, photos and building footage to try to understand why the buildings collapsed, but is not about attributing blame.

He says it will take at least a month to do the investigation once its experts have access to the building sites.