Engineers brought in after quake

HAMISH MCNICOL
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2013

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New Zealand's scarce structural engineering resources are being stretched further this week as engineers are flown in to Wellington to help assess buildings, a job which can take a few hours at a time, for damage following Sunday's earthquake.

Inspections immediately following the 6.5-magnitude earthquake showed 35 buildings out of almost 2500 in the central business district had external damage, but structural assessments of many were ongoing.

Opus chief executive David Prentice said the company's structural engineers had been inundated with work since Sunday night and it had brought in staff from Nelson and Auckland to help manage the load.

The infrastructure consultancy company employed about 250 people in Wellington, of whom about 30 were structural engineers.

"We weren't able to get through all the work that we had on our books yesterday [Monday] and are continuing to do that over the next two or three days."

There was a general shortage of structural engineers in New Zealand, he said.

"I think if you talk to any engineering firm throughout the country they would tell you that they can't get enough structural engineers, and that has been the mantra for so long."

Building inspections required accuracy and therefore took a while to complete, he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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