Key drivers in using low damage seismic designs in Christchurch buildings


  • Juliet Skidmore Price & Myers
  • Gabriele Granello University of Edinburgh
  • Alessandro Palermo University of Canterbury



Following the extensive damage to Christchurch’s infrastructure in the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, a complete rebuild of the city centre has been undertaken, with a particular focus on seismic-resilient buildings. This paper explores the application of different seismic-resilient technologies to buildings in Christchurch, by interviewing the structural engineers responsible for the design of six case study structures. Focus is given to the structural performance and benefits of each technology, and the key factors driving the clients’ and engineers’ decision to use the system. Comparisons are then made between resilient technologies, looking at the relative construction times and cost, areas of difficulty in design and construction, and the expected performance. Assessments are made of the knowledgeability of stakeholders, including clients and engineers, in resilient design, and the aspects that need to be addressed in the ongoing research and development of new and existing resilient technologies.

Results show that the main factors identified driving clients’ and engineers’ decisions to use a seismic-resilient design were the structural performance, ease of construction and publicity. Key issues that need to be addressed during the development of new resilient systems are the durability, constructability and cost of a design, in addition to the production of design and construction aids, to both support engineers and contractors in the process, and encourage them to undertake a seismic-resilient design. Ideas are presented for increasing client and public awareness of different resilient systems available so that the demand and commission for seismic-resilient buildings in the city may increase.


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How to Cite

Skidmore, J., Granello, G., & Palermo, A. (2022). Key drivers in using low damage seismic designs in Christchurch buildings. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 55(4), 214–228.