CTV engineer 'foresaw something going wrong'

6:45 pm on 2 August 2012

The wife of the Christchurch City Council engineer who signed off the plans for the CTV building says he told her it was a matter of not if but when something would go wrong.

The evidence has come at the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission, which is looking into the collapse of the office block in which 115 people died in February 2011.

The engineer, Graeme Tapper, has since died but on Thursday his widow, Patricia Tapper, said he had major fears about the building's ability to withstand earthquakes.

Mrs Tapper said her husband only signed off because of pressure at the time from the head of the council's building permits department, Brian Bluck, who has also since died.

Earlier, another structural engineer who worked alongside Mr Tapper between 1992 and 1995, John Henry, said Mr Bluck made it clear their job was to raise any concerns they had but not to get bogged down in details that might hold up a project for too long.

He said Mr Bluck always made it clear the consultants drawing up the plans were the experts, not the council.

Mr Henry said the consultants usually had the last word and council officers were not encouraged to go into too much detail when reviewing plans.

He said Mr Tapper refused to go along with that.