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Updated at 8:24 am on 5 July 2012
The structural engineer who inspected the Canterbury Television building after the September 2010 earthquake says he never intended his report to give the impression that the office block was safe to occupy.
David Coatsworth was giving evidence on Wednesday at the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission into the collapse of the central Christchurch building which claimed 115 lives.
A structural engineer with 40 years' experience, Mr Coatsworth found no evidence of structural failure in a four-hour long inspection of the building nearly a month after the 7.1-magnitude quake on 4 September.
Mr Coatsworth told the commission the CTV building was, in his opinion, capable of withstanding another quake of a similar size to the September tremor, but no-one anticipated the city would be hit by a quake as fierce as the devastating 6.3-magnitude quake on 22 February last year.
He said he never uses the word safe when talking about a building's condition, because the term is too broad and imprecise and it is simply not possible to say that a building will be safe under all circumstances.
Mr Coatsworth told the commission that his inspection was a visual one only and did not involve removing any linings or checking the building's plans.
He found evidence of minor structural damage and recommended the removal of linings from two further areas to check for the true extent of damage he could observe, but said he had no knowledge of whether these linings were ever removed.
The engineer said he had re-lived his inspection over and over again, wondering if he had missed anything and if there was anything he could have done differently, and broke down while offering his condolences to the families of the victims.
Murray Grant, whose wife died in the CTV building, said it is disappointing to hear that Mr Coatsworth found no major problems despite inspecting it twice.
Mr Grant said it flies in the face of evidence from occupants who said there was significant damage following the September quake.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
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