Chartered Professional structural engineers (CPEng) are able to enter the cordoned area, including the Red Zone, from today (Friday 1 April 2011), after meeting with Civil Defence in what is a crucial step forward in the Central City’s recovery.
The move comes as part of the effort to make buildings safe, and to make it possible, where safety permits, for building and business owners to retrieve essential building items and undertake building work.
The structural engineers are the first to receive the new photographic passes after registering their details with Civil Defence. This was because they are essential in their contribution to safety efforts before building and business owners could apply for special access to enter the zone, said National Controller John Hamilton.
Civil Defence had met with the CPEng community today and briefed them around health and safety, and issued them with the new passes.
The work of Chartered Professional structural engineers in the cordoned area is to carry out structural safety assessments and review placarded buildings as they were engaged by building owners. The engineers would also report to Civil Defence on safe access routes to those buildings, said Hamilton.
“Now that the structural engineers have permits they can get on with the job of assessing buildings in the cordoned area on a larger scale. They know what to do, but it remains the responsibility of the building owners to contact them first.”
Tenants cannot contact Chartered Professional Structural Engineers to undertake work on a building, but can liaise with the building owner.
Once the engineers have submitted their reports to Civil Defence, building and business owners can make an application for special access to cordoned areas to Civil Defence.
“There will be a strong element of planning that has to take place with each application for special access. We have to strike the right balance between safety and considering the needs of each case,” said Hamilton.
“That includes the availability of structural engineers if they are required to accompany building owners on any given day, appropriate retrieval of essential business items, communicating to building owners, and issuing them a pass at the EOC.
“It may be an engineer’s report requires that a building needs to be made safe through bracing, propping or tying back before a building owner can enter the building. People need to remember that the city remains dangerous.
“It will take time, but we will be taking determined steps forward in the next few weeks.”
To find out how to contact a Chartered Structural Professional Engineer, visit www.ipenz.co.nz