Following two powerful aftershocks that hit New Zealand’s second largest city of Christchurch, Thornton Tomasetti’s Property Loss Consulting team is on the ground to assist clients with properties in the disaster zone.
In this most recent event, widespread damage has been reported in the city, but there are no initial reports of fatalities. A magnitude-5.6 tremor was centered near Sumner, while a second aftershock measuring 6.3 destroyed multiple buildings and injured several people.
• The dual quakes are the most powerful to hit since the 6.3-magnitude earthquake in February 2011, which resulted in 181 deaths, damaged 100,000 homes and ruined most of the city’s downtown area, now largely an off-limits red zone, accessible only to emergency personnel, authorized engineers and a handful of others.
• The recent tremors forced the evacuation of shopping centers, office blocks and the Christchurch airport. Quake-weary Christchurch residents have been warned that the worst isn’t over yet as experts expect aftershocks in the coming months.
• Thornton Tomasetti first bolstered its presence in Christchurch in 2010 when a 7.1-magnitude September 2010 earthquake hit the city. While not as strong, the 6.3-magnitude February 2011 quake resulted in more damage, especially to the central business district. It is considered the second deadliest disaster in the country’s history, with damage estimated to cost insurers NZ$16 billion, according to the New Zealand Treasury.
• Thornton Tomasetti engineers have been conducting damage assessments of a wide range of structures across the region to develop and review the scope of required repairs as well as demolition and reconstruction options. We are currently assisting insurance clients with damage assessments on many large commercial buildings in Christchurch’s central business district and working directly with building owners at multiple properties.
• At present, Thornton Tomasetti has 10 to 15 engineers on the ground. Given the pace of new project work, we expect to be in Christchurch for at least a year, likely longer.
About Thornton Tomasetti (www.ThorntonTomasetti.com)
Thornton Tomasetti provides engineering design, investigation and analysis services to clients worldwide on projects of every size and level of complexity. We fulfill the needs of our clients at every stage in the building life cycle through seven integrated practices in Structural Engineering, Façade Engineering, Forensics, Renewal, Construction Engineering, Property Loss Consulting and Sustainability. Founded in 1956, today Thornton Tomasetti is an 800-person organization of engineers, architects and other professionals collaborating from offices across the United States and in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
Great Ink Communications – 212.741.2977
Eric Gerard/Lindsay Church
Thornton Tomasetti – 917.661.7800
James M. Kent, JKent@ThorntonTomasetti.com
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