Our professional organisation issued a media release just as couple of days ago on the Cook Strait Earthquake of 21 July 2013. This has been done 'to help the public and building owners better prepare for the “big one”'.
They 'needed to take on board the key points and lessons' as follows:

  1. Damage is largely superficial with no significant structural damage.
  2. Most modern buildings were flexible and moved with the tremors as they were designed.
  3. Glass broke in older buildings because it was rigidly held in place. Practices have changed for new buildings.
  4. Protection of critical buildings like Parliament worked because of base isolation systems, which use lead rubber bearings.
  5. Concrete pieces that fell were cover or decorative and not structurally significant.
  6. Car parks are flexible with ramps between levels that are designed to move, but they need to be checked to ensure the movement mechanism performed as designed.
  7. Generally unreinforced masonry performed well – the quake was about 20-35 per cent of new building standards so masonry was tested but there is little sign of damage.
  8. Interior fitting displacements - water tanks, pipes and ceiling tiles – occurred because of inadequate restraint. A standard for seismic restraint of building engineering systems exists. Although the building code requires such systems to be secured, using that standard is not mandatory, and this may need regulatory tightening.At present securings are often fitted as thought best by individual trades people.