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PWC Building coming down

Thursday 24 May 2012 6:16 p.m.

By Hamish Clark

Christchurch's tallest office tower, the PWC Building, swayed up to 6m in the February earthquake according to engineers.

Now the 22-storey building is being torn down, leaving just a few high rises left standing in the city.

The 77-meter high-rise has been empty since last February.

“There is the potential that it could have moved it 3m to each side, which would have added up to a six-metre movement, which is pretty significant if you are standing on top of the building,” says Cera contracts manager James Parker.

The sixth floor took the brunt of the violent shake.

“It was bad,” says Cera demolition manager Carl Devereux. “You could put your fist through the lower section.”

The high rise is uneconomic to repair and is being demolished at a cost of up to $5 million.

“It is a total of 24,000 square metres floor space that is being demolished in this building,” says Mr Devereux. “That is a huge volume of concrete.”

More than 1400 buildings have been slated for demolition.

Despite tall buildings coming down, there are a couple that are going to be staying, like the Rendevouz Hotel where they are currently doing some painting, and the Forsyth Barr Building that too is going to be staying up.

Another facing demolition is the Grant Thornton Building in the square.

“I've been into all the high-rise buildings and that one is scary,” says Cera Engineer John O’Hagan.

Handbags, jackets and cell phones still remain inside. The building so dangerous it could collapse.

“With a small aftershock we really do run the risk of the floor collapsing, and pan-caking causing a progressive failure of the building,” says Mr O’Hagan.

Demolition starts next month.

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