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The controversy of engineers' design raises questions about other buildings


A dispute between engineers about the security of a multi-storey building in Christchurch has raised more concerns about how engineering designs are tested and accepted.

The engineering dispute revolves around a six-level building project stopped at 230 High St, a privileged location in the central city, owned by developer Hyang Kim.

RNZ has revealed a filtering report from the engineering firm Beca, which raised design problems on the building, such as inadequate batteries, an overloaded column of support, low steel frame fixations and an underestimated earthquake load. He reported that the batteries were considered "10 times too weak."

The engineer who designed the building, the director of Seismotech Consulting Christchurch, Joo Hyun Cho, rejects the criticisms of his design, which was reviewed by partners of Wellington Miyamoto International NZ. The concerns of the Scholarship are supported by the engineering firm Aurecon, who gave the alarm in 2017 and Holmes Consulting.

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Despite these concerns, last year, the Christchurch Municipal Council issued a certificate of code compliance for the foundations of the building.

Professor Maan Alkaisi, an engineering professor, whose wife died in the collapse of the CTV building in 2011, said the concerns about the High St building showed the potential from another disaster in Christchurch.

"We thought that this would not happen again in Christchurch. The concerns of different experts show that there is something wrong."

It seemed that the system was still not tight enough, he said.

"We can not endanger security. I do not want other people to go through what we have."

The process through which the building was allowed and certified should be completely transparent so that future users knew what the risks were, he said.

Auckland structural engineer, John Scarry, said the alleged defects suggested wider problems with peer reviews.

"If you have Scholarship and Holmes and other people who investigate and say there are serious deficiencies, you might think there is a serious cause of concern.

"I do not think it's about worrying because it looks serious. Those who care about it are those who have not seen."

The engineering regatta is pending a ruling (determination) from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which commissioned the Scholarship report.

You have raised concerns about the 230 High St building, the six-level building with a blue glass center, located in downtown Christchurch.


You have raised concerns about the 230 High St building, the six-level building with a blue glass center, located in downtown Christchurch.

No work has been done in the building since September last year, as it has been worked on.

The general counsel for the consent and compliance with the council, Leonie Rae, said that the building did not pose any immediate risk to the public.

The concerns were about the level of compliance with the current building code and were not "different from a number of buildings throughout the city that do not meet the current level of compliance with the construction code due to of his age or construction ".

He said that when they raised the initial concerns for Aurecon, the council asked the design engineers of the building owner to respond. Certified professional engineers participated in the design phase, in the peer review phase and in the regulatory review phase.

"Finally, when a solution could not be obtained on a voluntary basis, the board initiated the process of determination."

Rae said the 230 High St case was the only time the board had asked MBIE's decision to resolve a conflict between engineers disagree over the last three years.

At the moment, MBIE was considering eight requests for determination that implied the advice, but it only had initiated a single request.

Cho said Things He had confidence in his design and found that the Scholarship was "very strange".

He did not respond to this because he had already provided all his detailed calculations and modeling and was awaiting the decision of the MBIE.

The Scholarship report was based on a simplified model and was not based on all the material it had provided, he said.

One option was to do a stronger job.

Katie Gordon, manager of the MBIE, said there was a building determination request.

"This is an almost judicial process and, as the determination is still underway, we can not comment on the specific aspects of this case."

Miyamoto also refused to comment for similar reasons.

The building is trapped in an agreement of consent.

Iain McGregor / Stuff

The building is trapped in an agreement of consent.

Susan Freeman-Greene, Chief Executive Officer of New Zealand Engineering, said the problem had not been raised with her organization and that she had no previous or remarkable complaint against Cho.

The building was built by Rockwell. Representative Soung Kim said that in December the building had been "substantially consented."

Hyang Kim, originally from Korea, previously said that he wanted to create an "impressive mixed-use building that would attract high-end customers as part of the exciting revitalization of Christchurch."

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