Witness rebuked for not giving view on CTV

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 12:18 24/07/2012
John Mander
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
JOHN MANDER: The United States engineering professor's evidence continues at today's inquiry into the CTV building collapse.

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A royal commission hearing witness has been rebuked for refusing to give a view on whether the Canterbury Television building was code compliant.

Professor John Mander, a Cantabrian now working in the Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, today earned the ire of commission chairman Justice Mark Cooper for initially refusing to answer a question from counsel Stephen Mills.

Mills asked Mander if in his opinion the CTV building was "in all respects" code compliant at the time it was permitted.

"If my understanding is correct, if the city council gave a permit to it then it complied," Mander said.

"Every engineer knows that despite what may be permitted, there is inevitably going to be errors and omissions in every job. Some of them are small, some of them are large and some may come to light later on."

Pressed for his view on the code compliance, Mander said he would not give a personal view because "if the council considered it be OK, that's OK".

Cooper interjected, saying: "Now just a minute, you can't say 'I'll say I won't give a view'. Do you have one or not?"

"I don't have a view on that," Mander replied.

Asked again whether aspects of the design were code compliant, Mander said it was possible some were not and the design "certainly wasn't best practice".

There had been a "liberal" interpretation of the code by the designers, he said.

"My own personal view is I wouldn't have designed it quite like it is. I wouldn't teach students to [design] it like that either, but that seemed to be a fairly common practice so evidently the council must have thought it was OK."

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