Today marks six years since the devastating Christchurch earthquake of 22 February 2011, a seismic event that continues to not only affect the local region itself, but New Zealand as a whole.

As we honour the 185 people who lost their lives, and the many hundreds more who suffered injury, or damage to homes and workplaces – we reconfirm our commitment to carry on with our seismic research to futureproof welded steel structures for the safety of our communities.

Our work is focused on delivering value through time and cost savings in structures by optimising the current standard requirements in conjunction with earthquake resistance – and so far, our Welding Centre General Manager Dr Michail Karpenko and his team have carried out welding trials on hot rolled sections involving non-destructive testing and mechanical testing, which is expected to result in optimisation of fabrication and inspection requirements for welding hot rolled products to safely withstand earthquake activity.

We’re also collaborating with the University of Auckland and global partners to carry out advanced finite element analysis modelling and large scale seismic tests to optimise weld details for seismic connections, and are in the process of amending standard AS/NZS 1554 Part 3 Welding of reinforcing steel to ensure its technical accuracy takes into account the influence of the joint design on the performance of the connection under earthquake loads for seismic grade of reinforcing bar 500E.

We believe this research will help our member companies to confidently select the best performing and most cost effective weld solutions in critical seismic connections which will be vital for their clients and their ongoing efforts to rebuilt Christchurch.

Our Structural Systems General Manager Dr Stephen Hicks is also dedicated to better understand how steel structures perform in seismic events, working closely with our welding centre on seismic connections research as well as investigating if steel structure damage incurred from earthquake is as expected for the level of seismic activity experienced – further prompted by the most recent Kaikoura earthquake on 14 November 2016.

“In the interest of learning from the event, we’re intending to develop a report describing the performance of steel structures,” he said.

“But we can’t do this alone without significant input from engineers and building owners – so we’re asking for them to share their feedback and observations so we can better understand how modern designs such as sliding hinge joints, EBF’s or low damage technologies such as rocking frames performed.”

Earthquake commemorations

For more information on events being held for the community to come together to reflect and remember, please click here