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Rebuilding Christchurch - Quake lessons learned

January 2011

Canterbury Today December 2010 - January 2011 business publication article (Academy Publishing)

1st page

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2nd page

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"This was a 7.1 magnitude event," New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE) executive officer Win Clark says. "People were expected to die in such an event so close to an urban centre. They do in similar events overseas - as evidenced by the lives lost in recent Chile and Haiti earthquakes."

Win Clark says as well as there being, remarkably, no loss of human life given the intensity of the ground shaking, the level of damage seen in modern buildings and bridges in Christchurch was much less than that experienced in similar earthquakes in many other countries.

"Even though the ground shaking was not as great as allowed for in design, this is a tribute to New Zealand's building practice including statutes, codes, designs, site preparation, construction and maintenance."

Dr David Hopkins, chairman of Earthquake Engineering New Zealand, says the performance of modern reinforced concrete buildings is testament to the research and teaching during many years by Professor Bob Park and Professor Tom Paulay at the University of Canterbury. "Many of their students have gone out to be consulting engineers using good principles as the result of this research. This can be seen in the quality of New Zealand's modern buildings."

Hopkins says the September 4 earthquake has illustrated our knowledge about earthquake engineering to the country and the world. "It is gratifying to know that we have the depth and breath of engineering skills to help reduce earthquake impacts on our major buildings."


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