21 Sep 2010

Building design problems elsewhere too?

9:13 am on 21 September 2010

A structural engineer says many big public buildings could be in danger of collapse due to poor design.

John Scarry, whose report in 2002 on earthquake risk in modern buildings led to a Government review, says the failure of Stadium Southland due to heavy snow, could be part of a wider problem.

The roof of the stadium, which was just 10 years old, collapsed on Saturday morning. The building is being demolished.

Mr Scarry says insurance companies demand complete secrecy over any settlements, so engineers don't learn from others' mistakes.

He says proposed reforms to the Building Act will do nothing to stop building failures because they are mainly concerned with cutting red tape.

The Institution of Professional Engineers says there are checks and balances to ensure errors are picked up early, but codes may need to be reviewed.