American Society of Civil Engineers

Post-Earthquake Building Safety Assessments for the Canterbury Earthquakes

by Justin D. Marshall, (Auburn University, Department of Civil Engineering, 238 Harbert Engineering Center, Auburn, AL 36849 E-mail:, Jim C. Barnes, (California Emergency Management Agency, 3650 Schriever Ave, Mather, CA 95655 E-mail:, Nathan C. Gould, (ABS Consulting, 77 Westport Plaza, Suite 210, St. Louis, MO 63146 E-mail:, Kishor Jaiswal, (United States Geological Survey, P.O. Box 25046, Mail Stop 966, Denver, CO (contracted through Synergetics Inc.) 80225 E-mail:, Bret Lizundia, (Rutherford & Chekene, 55 Second Street, Suite 600,San Francisco, CA 94105 E-mail:, David B. Swanson, (Reid Middleton, Inc., 728 134th Street SW, Suite 200, Everett, WA 98204 E-mail:, and Fred Turner, (Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission, 1755 Creekside Oaks Drive #100, Sacramento, CA 95833 E-mail:
Section: Performance of Structures in the Canterbury, New Zealand, Earthquake, pp. 1057-1068, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Structures Congress 2012
Abstract: This paper explores the post-earthquake building assessment program that was utilized in Christchurch, New Zealand following the Canterbury Sequence of earthquakes beginning with the Magnitude (Mw) 7.1 Darfield event in September 2010. The aftershocks or triggered events, two of which exceeded Mw 6.0, continued with events in February and June 2011 causing the greatest amount of damage. More than 70,000 building safety assessments were completed following the February event. The timeline and assessment procedures will be discussed including the use of rapid response teams, selection of indicator buildings to monitor damage following aftershocks, risk assessments for demolition of red-tagged buildings, the use of task forces to address management of the heavily damaged downtown area and the process of demolition. Through the post-event safety assessment program that occurred throughout the Canterbury Sequence of earthquakes, many important lessons can be learned that will benefit future response to natural hazards that have potential to damage structures.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Structural safety