Quake-damaged homes and commercial buildings in Marlborough are almost all structurally sound, a Blenheim engineering company has found.
Structural engineer and Smart Alliances director Richard Evans said four staff spent the first week after the August 16 quake assessing whether buildings were safe to enter.
Immediately after the quake, Smart Alliances did structural checks for business premises such as banks before the public were allowed back in.
They also assessed some homes Marlborough District Council or police suspected might contain some risk.
These were in Seddon, Ward and also rural areas, Mr Evans said.
Since then, most of the company's quake work was assessing damage to commercial premises including farm buildings other than homes, for insurance companies.
These were not covered by the Earthquake Commission (EQC), Mr Evans said. Also, some building owners had opted to have an engineer's report on structural damage ahead of checks by the EQC or wanted certification that their building had no problems.
The only structurally damaged home he checked was a brick house with a collapsed wall, seen for an insurance company because damage went over the EQC's $100,000 cap.
Some buildings looked bad with torn interior walls and ceiling panels, damaged gib-board, cracked concrete and spilt water cylinders, for example. However, the majority of load bearing walls and concrete foundations stood up well, Mr Evans said.
He had asked the owner of one building to brace a wall but after checking plans, found it was strengthened with steel.
"From what I saw in Blenheim, shaking has not been violent enough to cause pre-weakening."
This was not always the case in Seddon and Ward.
Any big ground cracks he saw were in hillsides or banks and not under buildings, Mr Evans said.
Marlborough District Council has deemed eight houses uninhabitable and placed restrictions on 11 meaning parts are all right to use.
- The Marlborough Express