Damaged hotel won't be demolished for months

10:45 pm on 8 March 2011

An earthquake commission engineer helping to stabilise a high-rise hotel damaged in the Christchurch earthquake says it could be up to six months before it can be demolished.

Commission engineer David Hopkins says the Grand Chancellor Hotel's south-east concrete wall dropped 70 centimetres as a result of the force of the February quake and concrete has been poured around it to support the broken wall.

However, Mr Hopkins says it will be some time before the building is torn down. He said using explosives to bring it down quickly was not an option.

A sticker system used to assess buildings came under scrutiny when it emerged the CTV and Pyne Gould buildings had been given the all-clear following the 4 September quake.

Mr Hopkins says the system is designed to make sure buildings are evaluated quickly, but it is not thorough, and getting a green sticker does not mean a building has been certified as safe.

A number of factors including design, construction and soil type will be important parts of the inquiry into the collapse of the CTV and Pyne Gould buildings, in which many people died.

Forsyth Barr building almost cleared

Urban Search and Rescue teams are finishing clearing the site of the Forsyth Barr building in the city centre.

The Fire Service hopes the complex operation of clearing the stairwell will be completed in the next two days.

Meanwhile, the Palms Shopping Mall will remain closed for up to six weeks as they fix shop fittings and complete remedial work

They say there is currently no access to any of the ATM machines, car parks and cinemas.