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14 Mar 2011

Inquiry into damage to Christchurch's CBD following February earthquake

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has announced a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the construction of many buildings in Christchurch’s central business district following the devastating earthquake last month. 166 people have now been confirmed dead, with 123 names released of the deceased.

The Inquiry will look into whether structures in the CBD including, but not limited to, the CTV and Pyne Gould Buildings adhered to the correct building codes and standards at the time of construction. Other buildings to be considered by the commission include the Grand Chancellor Hotel and Forsyth Barr building, both of which were ravaged by the 6.3Rs quake in February.

Mr. Key explained: “So many lives have been lost as a result of the February 22 earthquake that we must find answers, particularly about why such a significant loss of life occurred in two buildings. We are determined to get those answers, and I believe that this Royal Commission, along with the technical investigation by the Department of Building and Housing, will do that.”

The Commission has been ordered to formulate an interim report in six months with a full account due in a year’s time. A memorial service for the lives lost in the earthquake will be held on Friday 18th March, with a one-off public holiday declared for the Province of Canterbury in order to enable local people to attend.

To read an earlier news story on the quake click here, or to hear ARUP’s seismic expert Ziggy Lubkowski’s immediate views on the structural damage click here.


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