CTV building critic hails safety move

JOHN HARE: The engineer had raised concerns with the designer of the Canterbury Television building years before it collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake.
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ
JOHN HARE: The engineer had raised concerns with the designer of the Canterbury Television building years before it collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake.

A Christchurch engineer who identified flaws in the Canterbury Television building more than two decades before its collapse is welcoming greater powers to highlight safety concerns.

John Hare, of Holmes Consulting Group, produced a 1990 report that found faults in the building which collapsed, killing 115 people in the February 2011 earthquake.

His concerns had been referred to the designer, Alan Reay Consultants, but not all the recommended remedial work was completed.

Hare told The Press he supported proposed law changes allowing protection for whistleblowers.

"A lot of the time, I think, people may have been reluctant to say anything knowing potentially it may land them in hot water, so having something that will clear that up and give some degree of protection will certainly be of comfort to people who find themselves in that position," he said.

The current process was limited to engineers contacting fellow engineers about concerns.

"That's what we considered had been done in respect to CTV and it's a matter of record now that it didn't get acted on in the way it should have," Hare said.

"The question is should there be requirement for people, having alerted the engineer responsible, to say, 'I need to now make sure the authorities know so they can follow it up'?"

Hare hoped the protocol for reporting concerns would be to first consult the engineer responsible.

"There needs to be enough checks and balances so people don't get unnecessarily alarmed or overreact to situations.

"By the same token, if someone's notified there's a problem on one of their sites and they fail to react, there should be another mechanism that gets triggered to enable that to be followed through."

The Press