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The Quake Centre brings together the best of academic and industry knowledge focused on improved solutions from seismic research.


Following the 2010/2011 Canterbury Earthquakes, it was clear that some reinforced concrete (RC) walls were designed well and performed well, but a significant number did not - with severe damage and unexpected failure.


Dr Richard Henry, lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Auckland is the principal investigator of a current research project focusing on the seismic design of lightly reinforced concrete walls.


“The performance of RC wall buildings during the Canterbury Earthquakes raised a number of concerns with respect to current design practice,” says Dr Henry.


The poor performance of some modern RC walls led to several recommendations from the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission (CERC), including Recommendation #42 – which stated that further research be carried out to refine design requirements related to crack control in structural walls.


Dr Henry has lead prior research into the seismic design of RC walls that was funded under the Natural Hazards Research Platform (NHRP) and this was extended with new objectives in the MBIE funded Quake Centre projects.


The current project involves a combination of large-scale experimental tests and detailed numerical models to evaluate the behaviour of existing RC wall designs, and to investigate ways to improve the design and details.


“The project addresses concerns with lightly reinforced and precast concrete walls that make up a large portion of the concrete buildings built in New Zealand,” says Dr Henry.


The main impact is expected to be the benefits this project will bring to industry.


“The findings will provide recommendations to better inform design and construction practice to ensure that acceptable seismic behaviour is achieved,” says Dr Henry. 


It will continue to take industry-identified issues, engineering expertise and rigorous research to develop appropriate engineering results to gain new standards in earthquake safety.


The Quake Centre is proud to support Dr Richard Henry’s research, in line with their overarching aim to improve seismic performance and community resilience.




Thank you to the Quake Centre and MBIE - their financial assistance helps to make this research possible.


























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