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


10 October 2012

Quakes Royal Commission Delivers Second Part of Final Report

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission has today delivered the second part of its final report, Volume 4 Earthquake-prone Buildings, to the Governor-General.

The report contains the findings of the Commission’s investigation into the failure of 21 buildings (and a free-standing masonry wall) that caused 42 of the 185 deaths in the 22 February 2011 earthquake. It does not determine legal rights and liabilities.

Volume 4 also recommends practice, policy and legislative changes to help minimise the risks to public safety from earthquake-prone buildings in earthquakes. It has relevance for cities and towns in New Zealand that have earthquake-prone buildings, particularly unreinforced masonry buildings.

The Governor-General will provide the report to the Government. It is the Government’s decision as to how and when the report is released. The recommendations are not binding on the Government.

The Commission delivered part one of its final report in June 2012. Part one consisted of volumes 1, 2 and 3 and contained the results of the investigation into the PGC building in which 18 people died as well as 70 technical recommendations.

The Commission will report on the remainder of its terms of reference, including the failure of the CTV building, in the third and final part of its final report to be delivered to the Governor-General in November 2012.



The terms of reference required the Commission to deliver the first part of its final report, dealing with matters that would assist the Christchurch rebuild, by 29 June 2012. The terms of reference also provide for the Commission to report at any time between 29 June and 12 November on any other matter in the terms of reference, if it is able to do so.

Volume 4 is in response to the terms of reference which require the Commission to:

  • review the legal and best practice requirements in respect of earthquake-prone buildings; and
  • consider the performance in the earthquakes of a “reasonably representative” sample of buildings.

The investigation into earthquake-prone buildings included commissioning experts to prepare reports, obtaining existing reports and holding hearings about earthquake-prone policies (November 2011) and one-day hearings about 20 individual buildings and a free-standing masonry wall which killed people in the February 2011 earthquake (December 2011—March 2012).

The Commission will not be making any further comment about the content of the final report.

Volumes 1—3 are available on the Commission’s website


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