13 Dec 2014

Three-year suspension for EQC engineer

5:23 pm on 13 December 2014

A top Earthquake Commission (EQC) engineer has been suspended for three years for misconduct.

Damaged buildings are demolished in the red zone area in downtown Christchurch on 21 February 2012.

Damaged buildings are demolished in the red zone area in downtown Christchurch in February 2012. Photo: AFP

In August, a disciplinary committee of the Institution of Professional Engineers (IPENZ) heard eleven complaints against Graeme Robinson.

This included claims he adopted an aggressive and bullying approach while assessing earthquake damage at the complainants' homes.

The institute's interim chief executive Kieran Devine has refused to comment on the suspension but has confirmed Mr Robinson was appealing the decision to the Chartered Professional Engineers Council.

Mr Robinson's lawyer declined to comment.

The EQC said it had stopped using Mr Robinson's services while the disciplinary process took its course.

Former assessor Bryan Staples who was now advocating for complainants, including some of those in the Robinson case, said Mr Robinson trained others at the commission to use the same approach.

He said that calls all of the commission's assessments into question.

"If the teacher has told the pupil how to identify pre-existing damage and that information is wrong then every one of those assessments, where pre-existing damage is determined as a factor has to be wrong."

Mr Staples said Mr Robinson's approach was now common among private insurers as well.

Mr Robinson was to appeal against his suspension.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs