Inspector unable to access CTV structural plans
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 6:07p.m.
The only engineer to inspect the CTV building after the first Christchurch earthquake in September 2010 has told the Royal Commission that the only structural damage he observed in the building was minor.
Mr Coatsworth has 40 years experience as a structural engineer and was the only one who got to inspect the CTV building after the first earthquake in September 2010.
He recommended some repairs but the building collapsed in the killer quake on February 22 last year with the death of 115 people.
He told the commission that ever since then, he has questioned what he might have done differently during his inspection.
“I examined and re-examined the photos in my mind and read and re-read my notes,” he said.
Mr Coatsworth said during his inspection a couple of tenants approached him saying the building appeared to bounce and move during aftershocks.
“I was aware of these things, but I didn’t believe it was anything out of the ordinary,” he said.
He said he concluded that the building was still structurally sound even though the city could be rocked by further aftershocks.
“What I did not expect and what I don’t think the seismologists expected was an aftershock with the ground accelerations that accompanied the February 22nd one.”
Mr Coatsworth told the hearing he was unable to access the building's structural drawing because council records were in disarray in the wake of the quake.
The lawyer representing the building's designer asked him how that affected his conclusions.
“Are you confident your understanding of the structural elements was as good as it could be had you had the structural plans available to you?” asked lawyer Willie Palmer.
Mr Coatsworth said he gained an understanding of the structural elements of the building via his visual assessment but conceded that the drawings could have helped identify critical structural weaknesses.
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