Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission Te Komihana Rūwhenua o Waitaha Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission – Te Komihana Rūwhenua o Waitaha

Those who lost relatives and friends in the 22 February earthquake can be assured that there will be a very thorough inquiry into the failure of buildings that resulted in loss of life.
Chair, Justice Mark Cooper

About the Terms of Reference

The Commission’s terms of reference were wide ranging and required the Commission to look at two major areas:

1. Buildings in the Christchurch central business district (CBD), an area bounded by the four avenues (Fitzgerald, Deans, Moorhouse and Bealey) and Harper Avenue. We looked specifically at what factors led some buildings to fail severely; why some buildings’ failure caused extensive injury and death, and why buildings differed as to the extent to which they failed and caused injury or death. That  meant looking at, among other things, the characteristics of buildings which may have led to failure (for example, age, location, whether buildings conformed to earthquake risk best practice).

The buildings had to include the CTV building, the Pyne Gould Corporation (PGC) building, the Forsyth Barr building and The Hotel Grand Chancellor building.

We also widened our inquiry to include any other building which caused loss of life including commercial premises on Riccarton Road in Riccarton, Coleridge Street in Sydenham, Worcester Street in Linwood and a residential property in St Albans.

2. The adequacy of current legal and best-practice requirements for the design, construction and maintenance of buildings in central business districts in New Zealand.

The Commission did not investigate:

  • Any questions of liability
  • The earthquake search and rescue effort
  • Design, planning or options for rebuilding Christchurch city central business district

Read the Terms of Reference