Legal remedy sought for CTV failure

19:38, Dec 10 2012
Christchurch Quake
A digger is brought into the CTV site.
Christchurch Earthquake
Japanese rescue workers arrive at the rubble of CTV building.
An expert screens the rubble at the destroyed CTV site in Madras St.
An expert screens the rubble at the destroyed CTV site in Madras St.
WORKING THROUGH THE PAIN: Sarah Cook ran to her 11-year-old son's school in bare feet then spent the night pulling bodies from the CTV building. The next morning she had to have glass removed from her feet by a doctor.
WORKING THROUGH THE PAIN: Sarah Cook ran to her 11-year-old son's school in bare feet then spent the night pulling bodies from the CTV building. The next morning she had to have glass removed from her feet by a doctor.
Policeman
A policeman walks to the CTV site in Christchurch.
Christchurch earthquake: CTV building
New Zealand police and Urban Search and Rescue team members working on the CTV site.
Christchurch earthquake: CTV building
New Zealand police and Urban Search and Rescue team members working on the CTV site.
Christchurch earthquake: cordon duty
New Zealand police officers stand on duty securing the corner of Madras and Cashel streets, near the CTV building site.
USAR team at work
Urban Search and Rescue Teams at work on the Christchurch CTV site. The Fire Service today announced it has finished its operation at the destroyed building.
That day
Firefighters and rescuers scramble over the collapsed CTV building.

New Zealand won't be able to move on from the Canterbury Television (CTV) building tragedy till individuals are held to account for its collapse, says Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson.

The final report by the Canterbury Earthquakes royal commission, issued yesterday, concluded that the building, which collapsed during last February's earthquake killing 115 people, had serious deficiencies in its design and construction.

"My view on this is that you can't have 115 people lose their lives in a tragedy like this and somebody not be held to account.

"It's not for me as the Minister of Building and Construction to do that liability and accountability thing but we've put all this information the hands of the police, they will make a determination," Williamson told TV3's Firstline.

He had also asked his officials to explore other avenues for holding individuals to account.

"I think we will never be able to move on from this until some accountability is sheeted home to individuals."

Prime Minister John Key yesterday described a royal commission report into the CTV building's collapse "grim and sobering reading".

The final report found the CTV building did not meet construction standards, was designed by an engineer out of his depth and overseen by a boss who should have known better. It should not have been given resource consent in 1986, as it did not meet the building code.

The three council staff who inspected the building after the September earthquake - none of whom were engineers - gave the building a green sticker which allowed re-entry.

The findings came after an eight-week hearing in which more than 80 witnesses testified.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said he had not fully digested the report, and nor had his legal team. However, he noted the CTV building was signed off "almost three decades ago" under a different council, covering a different geographic area and smaller city.

The report put the building inspection regime under the blow torch.

Williamson said a number of changes had already been made to the building code to strengthen seismic standards, and proposals had been announced last week to evaluate the entire commercial building stock in New Zealand to make sure it met important building standards.

Government officials were proposing a five-year period for evaluations and 10 years for remedial work, though the Royal Commission had urged a more rapid assessment and remediation process.

The extra $1 billon cost was manageable given what was at stake, Williamson said.

"We don't think it is that expensive; the current earthquake prone policy....was going to add about $1 billion to building stock costs.....we're spending about $60 billion on building commercial buildings over that time."

But he was confident the policing and compliance regime had already been significantly strengthened since the CTV construction.

"We think we've changed that regime dramatically already. It used to be that councils had a pretty loose regime for doing building consents. We've recently gone through a proper accreditation for what we call building certification authorities.

Stephen Mills QC
OPENING STATEMENT: Stephen Mills QC.
Nilgun Kulpe
SURVIVOR: Nilgun Kulpe gives evidence at the the Canterbury earthquakes royal commission today.
Kendyll Mitchell
KENDYLL MITCHELL: 'I remember feeling like I was being sucked downwards because the floor was going down, fast. It was like the building stayed in place and we were sucked down in a vacuum.'
ctv 1
SURVIVOR: Margaret Aydon was with a student when the quake hit.
CTV 2
HORRIFIC: Former CTV employee Tom Hawker gives evidence.
ctv 6
WAR ZONE: Leonard Fortune grabbed his workmate by the toolbelt and threw him to safety.
ctv 7
CHARRED: Alan Edge found charred furniture as rubble was cleared from the CTV building's wreckage.
ctv2
LOCKED: Graeme Calvert has continued evidence from building inspectors who assessed the CTV building.
Sir Ron Carter left, Justice Mark Cooper and Richard Fenwick.
COMMISSIONERS: Sir Ron Carter left, Justice Mark Cooper and Richard Fenwick.
Alan Reay
DESIGN: Dr Alan Reay's firm designed the CTV building.
David Harding
ENGINEER: David Harding led the CTV design project for Alan Reay's company.
Gerald Shirtcliff aka Will Fisher.
CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Gerald Shirtcliff, aka Will Fisher, led the construction of the CTV building.
John Drew
PROPERTY MANAGER: John Drew gives evidence to the Royal Commission.

"A number of councils didn't even make the cut originally had to change their whole methodology [to a] more professional approach and get properly trained and skilled people into there.

"Of course you can never guarantee the checks and balances in there; if they're not done legally, if someone circumvents it, it's always difficult. We're pretty confident that won't happen."

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Alan Reay
DESIGN: Dr Alan Reay's firm designed the CTV building.
David Harding
ENGINEER: David Harding led the CTV design project for Alan Reay's company.
Gerald Shirtcliff aka Will Fisher.
CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Gerald Shirtcliff, aka Will Fisher, led the construction of the CTV building.
John Drew
PROPERTY MANAGER: John Drew gives evidence to the Royal Commission.

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