Students Celebrate Christchurch Heritage by Recreating Earthquake

Students Celebrate Christchurch Heritage by Recreating Earthquake

Investigations are underway into the collapse of the floor of the University of Canterbury’s new $2.5 million temporary events centre, which opened in April after the University's student bar was damaged by the February 2011 earthquake.

The incident occurred after some intense moshing early in Savage's first song during a Re-Orientation Week event, entitled “The Perfect Storm”, on Friday July 13. Although the 900-strong crowd was much less than the venue's capacity of 1400, Canterbury’s attendance significantly outstripped that of OUSA's events, which was a lot lower.

Governmental health and safety inspectors from the Labour Group of the Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry have launched a full investigation into the incident. Although no one was injured, such an investigation is only launched when someone is killed, seriously harmed, or has a serious “near-miss” in the workplace.

The Ministry is unable to comment while the investigation is under way, but their website states that the aim of the investigation is to identify why it happened and what could have been done to prevent it. University of Canterbury spokesman John MacDonald confirmed that the University commissioned structural engineers to investigate, but would not comment on whether the University will be seeking compensation from the companies involved.

The Ministry also has the power to prosecute, which may be a reason why all parties involved in the construction, from architecture firm Warren and Mahoney to head contractors Image Construction, are attempting to shift the blame.

An editorial in Christchurch newspaper The Press speculates that the collapse is “likely to be the result of human error, but it is unlikely to be sheeted home, such is the confusion about liability for building failures in general.” The editorial went on to say that although the floor collapse was serious, “its implications for the Christchurch rebuild are even more worrying. If this can happen to a building designed and constructed after the main earthquakes, what confidence can we have in the safety of similar buildings?”
This article first appeared in Issue 17, 2012.
Posted 10:46am Sunday 22nd July 2012 by Zane Pocock.