The report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the collapse and structural failure of the Canterbury Television building was made public today. It is the final act of a Commission that was set up to examine the causes of the catastrophic failure of this building on 22 February 2011.
The Report can be found here.
Family members of victims who were killed in the collapse of the C.T.V. building are generally happy with the effort of the Commission and the thoroughness of the report. They say that the recommendations are comprehensive and are an honest reflection of what happened, from when the building was built, through the opportunities missed to remedy the many flaws, through to the destruction during the earthquake and subsequent fire.
The police are now going to study the report and its findings to determine whether or not it is feasible to lay criminal charges, and if so, against whom. The report found that the entire design and construction of the building was flawed, that opportunities to fix the building properly were missed and that confusion over the traffic light colour code stickers meant it was assumed that the C.T.V. building was safe when it was clearly not. There were green, yellow and red stickers used by the City Council on the buildings, which were interpreted to be:
Green: Safe – the building has been inspected and is safe.
Wrong. The green sticker meant that an preliminary external inspection had been carried out and no damage had been sighted, but a full structural assessment was still needed.
Yellow: Restricted Entry – the building can be entered for essential purposes such as recovering essential equipment, but could not be occupied
Red: Unsafe – this is a demolition order.
Wrong. This was a common mistake. A red sticker actually means that the building was unsafe to be entered for any reason either because it had sustained significant structural damage or it was threatened by an adjacent building.
The report made many recommendations, which will be the subject of another article. The Government has indicated that it will seriously consider the recommendations. Prime Minister John Key and Minister for Building Maurice Williamson, as well as Attorney General Chris Finlayson have met with families.
This blogger has only one thing to say: we owe it to every person who died from collapsing buildings that day to learn the lessons and apply them appropriately.