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


17 August 2011

Earthquakes Royal Commission Engages Further Experts  

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission in Christchurch has engaged further technical experts to assist its inquiry into building failure caused by the Canterbury earthquakes.

In July the Commission advised it had commissioned a raft of reports from New Zealand and international technical experts. In the last month the Commission has engaged the services of additional experts.

Associate Professor Jason Ingham from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Auckland is preparing a report with the assistance of Professor Michael Griffith of the University of Adelaide. The report will cover:

  • Strengthening and performance of old buildings for and under earthquake conditions
  • Assessment of unreinforced masonry buildings.

Fred Turner, structural engineer for the California Seismic Safety Commission, will also be involved with the report by professors Ingham and Griffith.

Peter Smith of Spencer Holmes in Wellington is providing professional engineering services and advice to the Commission through an analysis of buildings and providing conclusions for the Commission’s consideration. 

Smith is also preparing a report identifying the major changes that have occurred in masonry standards over the period 1935 to 2010. These changes include the different methods that have been used to assess the stiffness of masonry members, methods of designing for structural actions, the minimum and maximum reinforcement limitations, and any other issues that are important.

The intention behind the report is to enable structural engineers and or building owners to identify potential problems in buildings built to design standards that are now out of date. This work is restricted to masonry design and material and workmanship standards and does not extend to non-specific design standards.

The reports will be published on the Commission’s website once they are finalised.


About the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission in Christchurch was established in response to the building failure and loss of life caused by the Canterbury earthquake on February 2011.

A Royal Commission is the most serious response available to the New Zealand Government.  Under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908 it has extensive powers to investigate including the power to require the provision of information and to summons witnesses.

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission is chaired by sitting High Court judge Justice Mark Cooper. The other two Commissioners are University of Auckland Associate Professor Richard Fenwick and Sir Ron Carter.

The Commission will provide an interim report by 11 October 2011 and a final report no later than 11 April 2012.

Media Contact

Robin Major
Senior Communications Advisor
Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission
Phone +64 3 7413004 or +64 21 621 656