ODT: Quake ‘pretty much a bullseye’: building expert

A building expert has said he is not surprised by the damage seen in Christchurch following Tuesday’s earthquake, given its proximity to the city.

While it was expected that older buildings would suffer, the damage suffered by some contemporary buildings did surprise experts.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Since the mid-70s New Zealand buildings have been designed for earthquake resistance.

“”What’s more, the standard of design has still been improving over the last 20 years or so – which is why most buildings performed well, with the exception of a few buildings that were severely damaged or partially collapsed.

“It was possible to make earthquake-proof buildings by using ‘base isolation’ – the building was built on springs and de-coupled from the ground, Prof Wilson said.

“”It adds about five per cent to the building cost but makes it totally secure. The design has been around for about 30 years, though really became more common about 15 years ago. It’s widely used in California and Japan, which see so many earthquakes, but is also used in Wellington for buildings like Te Papa.””