CTV building's owners welcome collapse inquiry

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 05:00 02/03/2011
ALL HOPE GONE: Rescuers called off the search of  the ruined CTV building yesterday after all hope of anyone being found alive was lost. Many more people are thought to lie buried in the rubble.
PHIL REID/ The Dominion Post
INQUIRY WELCOMED: The owners of the Canterbury Television building say it was given a clean bill of health by structural engineers after the September earthquake.

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The owners of the Canterbury Television building say it was given a clean bill of health by structural engineers after the September earthquake.

Prime Minister John Key has said there will be an inquiry into the buildings that collapsed and claimed lives last week.

Spokesman Ken Jones said the CTV building's owners welcomed that inquiry. "They offer their most sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and to those injured."

Mr Jones, a lawyer, was a spokesman for the building's owner, which his statement suggested was a company called Madras Equities.

He said the 20-year-old six-storey building was owned by two South Island families. "Because of the impending Government inquiry, the owners are unable to make any detailed statement."

A Companies Office search showed Russell Warren Ibbotson and Lionel Walter Hunter as the shareholders in Madras Equities. A Lionel Walter Hunter was also the owner of Hunter Furniture.

Calls to Mr Jones, Mr Ibbotson and Mr Hunter were not returned last night.

The CTV building was valued at $5.7m in August 2007, according to the rates section on Christchurch City Council's website.

The building was green stickered by the council after the September quake, which meant an inspection had been done and the building deemed safe for occupation, Mr Jones said.

The property manager had also commissioned a report from a structural engineer, which suggested work be done to repair superficial damage but found no problems with the building's structural integrity.

"The 22 February 2011 earthquake appears to have generated unusual forces that relatively modern buildings built to recent seismic standards were not able to withstand."

An inquiry was welcome to prevent the same thing happening again, Mr Jones said.

Mr Key said recently constructed buildings had held up well, but those built in the 1960s and 1970s had collapsed. "We will want to get some immediate information on those buildings."

That work was underway but there would also be an inquiry to provide answers on why people died and what lessons could be learnt, he said.

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- The Dominion Post

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