No repairs after CTV building damaged in 2010 quake
The Canterbury Television building in Christchurch collapsed in the Feb. 22 earthquake. Sources say the building was damaged in an earlier quake. (Shiro Nishihata)Workers remove a pillar on Saturday from the rubble where the Canterbury Television building stood in Christchurch. (Shiro Nishihata)
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand--The Canterbury Television building was damaged in a 2010 earthquake, but suggested reinforcements were not conducted before it was flattened last week by another temblor, trapping an estimated 100 people, local people said.
Architectural engineers had warned that some quake-proofing would be necessary for the six-story CTV building after the temblor in September 2010, but the owner of the building apparently decided that it was safe enough.
In addition, Christchurch municipal authorities said they found no problem with the continued use of the building following an inspection after the September quake.
The CTV building, erected in 1975, collapsed in the magnitude-6.3 earthquake on Feb. 22.
Many Japanese studying at the King's Education language school in the building are among those missing in the rubble.
New Zealand police on Sunday asked various countries to collect DNA samples, photographs and other items that could help identify the bodies pulled from the wreckage, according to diplomatic sources.
The Japanese government has started full-fledged efforts to gather information from families of the missing Japanese.
According to Rob Cope-Williams, 61, a CTV producer and newscaster, large cracks, some several meters long, formed on the interior walls of the building following the magnitude-7.0 quake in September.
A three-story building behind the CTV building was severely damaged, and demolition work began in December.
Cope-Williams said shockwaves from the wrecking ball caused many cracks to widen in the CTV building, raising concerns among CTV employees that the building would not survive another quake.
The demolition work was completed Feb. 21, the day before the latest temblor.
A Christchurch resident who provided boarding for an international student studying at King's said many students appeared worried by the fact that the window frames had been left crooked.
Others suggested the building may have shifted off its foundation.
According to a source at an architectural business operating near the CTV building, one of its associates inspected the structure following the September quake after receiving permission from the proprietor of the building.
The associate's report said some reinforcement work would be necessary for the building to withstand future quakes. But the building's proprietor did not seek further detailed information needed to carry out the reinforcement work, the source said.
According to Cope-Williams, no reinforcement work had been done. He said he had heard that the building's owner decided that the building was safe.
Hideki Miyamoto, head of a U.S.-based architectural design office specializing in quake-resistance structures, has dispatched a team of inspectors to survey the latest damage in Christchurch.
He said the inspectors reported that the amount of steel reinforcement in concrete samples collected at the CTV building site fell short of the requirements in the current quake-resistance standards.
The team also noted a lack of horizontal steel braces to bind the steel bars and keep them in place, Miyamoto said.
According to quake experts, New Zealand strengthened its quake-resistance standards in 1976, requiring builders to prepare for seismic motion several times the assumed intensity at the time.
Municipal officials acknowledged that buildings erected before 1976 likely had less than one-third of the required strength under the new standards.
Christchurch officials said that following the September earthquake, the city was in the process of reinforcing buildings built before 1976, but the CTV building had been declared safe in an inspection by the city.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker told reporters Saturday that he was confident that appropriate measures had been taken based on the findings of the inspection.
But he added that he was not aware of the cracks in the interior walls, and said his office would check once more on the matter.
(This article was written by Hiroyuki Kamisawa, Tsuyoshi Nagano and Daisuke Igarashi)