2 Feb 2019

Quake-resilient building design comes up trumps in test

12:37 pm on 2 February 2019

New Zealand's latest earthquake-resilient building designs have been put through the ultimate test in China - and passed.

Researchers from the University of Auckland and Canterbury, in collaboration with QuakeCoRE and Tongji University in China have built a two storey concrete building and put it on one of the largest shake tables in the world.

All of the building's details were based on existing buildings constructed in Wellington and Christchurch.

The project leader, University of Auckland's Dr Rick Henry, said the building was subjected to 40 earthquakes.

"That includes everything from quite small intensity earthquakes, something that might occur once every 25 years all the way up to the largest possible earthquake in Wellington, perhaps due to a Wellington fault rupture or from the Hikurangi fault," he said.

Dr Henry said it withheld earthquakes greater than it was designed for, giving confidence new buildings built in New Zealand could stand up to earthquakes of a greater intensity than the ones that occurred in Christchurch and Kaikōura.

He said although they were limited on the size of the building they could test, the lessons they learnt from the test could easily be extrapolated up to larger buildings.

"It's really a big step towards understanding the true performance of that entire structure," he said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs