Police may investigate responsibility for CTV collapse

5:44 am on 10 February 2012

The Department of Building and Housing says police and engineering bodies may investigate whether anyone will be held responsible for the collapse of the CTV building.

The department released a technical report on Thursday which found the building did not meet the standards required when it was built in 1986.

Chief Executive Katrina Bach says the report's aim was not to apportion blame or liability.

But she says the findings are of concern and have been fowarded to other relevant agencies.

Police consider liability

Police may look at criminal liability in the collapse of the CTV building in the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

The building, in which 115 people died, was the home of Canterbury Television, a nurse training school, a medical centre, Relationship Services and King's language school.

Police Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess says a lot of information has been handed to police, who will first seek legal advice and carry out their own assessment.

Mr Burgess says that advice and information will then determine the next steps.

However, he says the police involvement may not necessarily lead to criminal charges.

Cause of collapse

A government report into why the CTV building collapsed has found the building did not meet the standards at the time it was built.

The technical investigation by the Department of Building and Housing says a lack of ductility in the building's columns - their ability to bear extra load when subjected to movement - made them brittle.

It says the asymmetrical layout of the shear (supporting) walls then made the building twist during the earthquake and this put further strain on the columns.

The report says neither the walls nor the columns met the relevant building standards and these factors, coupled with intense ground shaking were critical factors in the building's collapse.

However, the director of the company which designed the building, Alan Reay, said he does not agree with the report's findings.

Dr Reay said the Department of Building and Housing had not carried out the investigations it should have and some of the report's assumptions were highly questionable and in some areas flawed.

He said the standards of the day were not intended to withstand the size and type of earthquake experienced in the February 2011 quake.