However, the commission accepted the evidence of witnesses that Reay went over Tapper’s head to his boss, city engineer Bryan Bluck. “This was despite the fact that on his own evidence Dr Reay knew very little about the structural details of the building, having not reviewed any of the structural drawings prior to a permit being issued,” the commission’s report on the CTV Building noted. Reay convinced Bluck – whose approach was to rely on the “recognised expertise” of the designer – that Tapper’s concerns were unfounded.Rather a few subsequent opportunities to fix things were missed. Read the whole thing. I was pretty lucky to have turned down a CTV request for a 1 PM interview at their studio that day.
It's hard not to have stories like this in the back of one's mind when reading The National Business Review on the Wellington Harcourts Building (paid). The Heritage-1 listed Harcourts building is earthquake prone; the developer wants to tear it down as he does not believe it can economically be fixed up. He also would prefer to have a much higher modern tower on the site. So the heritage-buffs will reckon that he just wants to be rid of it to earn better returns on a new building; they want to block any demolition. Image below lifted from The NBR.
If the government moves quickly enough to sort out the mess that happens when unsafe buildings are under heritage protection and owners and heritage fans disagree about the feasibility of making them safe, we won't have to have a Royal Commission to sort out who's responsible for the dozens of bodies that could well wind up crushed under masonry falling from the Harcourts Building onto the busy sidewalk below in any large Wellington quake. Wouldn't that be better? Please? Somebody? I really don't want to be Cassandra here.