01 December 2016

Inquiry into engineering of Masterton buildings

After questions were raised about six buildings in Masterton by one of our members, IPENZ alerted the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). This resulted in initial seismic assessments of these six buildings, followed by more detailed assessments, which raised questions about the engineering of the buildings.. There have also been assessments of a number of other buildings.

IPENZ is commencing an own-motion inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the engineering design and construction of these six buildings in Masterton. IPENZ cares deeply about public trust and confidence in our engineers and we need to get to the bottom of what has happened here. The best way to do this is to investigate what has happened.

Own-motion inquiries are best reserved for matters with broader systemic implications. They are different from own-motion complaints. They allow us to look into the circumstances before determining whether any action needs to be taken in relation to individual engineers.

Our responsibility is to investigate matters as they relate to individual engineers. But engineers are part of a system. Everything happens within a context and it is important that we understand context at an individual, systemic and sector-wide level. This will form part of the Inquiry.

The Inquiry will look at what happened, why and what we can learn. This could include the adequacy of oversight, supervision, and quality assurance processes; and broader issues involved in the engineering review of those designs and construction monitoring.

The first step of the process is to gather facts and identify issues to determine whether any individual engineers need to be investigated further. It’s also to consider whether there are any systemic or contextual factors that may require a response from IPENZ.

The Inquiry will take a neutral, deliberate approach and is likely to take some months.

Terms of reference

The scope of the Inquiry is to conduct an initial investigation into:

The circumstances relating to the design, design review and construction monitoring of six buildings in Masterton:
  • to assess whether the Chartered Professional Engineers involved have provided engineering services in accordance with accepted standards; and
  • to learn and advise on any engineering performance and practice issues.

The buildings are: 57-65 Dixon Street (Beaurepaires); 96-120 Queen Street (Avanti Cycles); 408 Queen Street (Micro Plumbing); 57-55 Dixon Street (Carpet Court); 57-65 Dixon Street (FMG Offices); 172 Dixon Street (Toyota)

The purpose of the Inquiry is to:
  • Understand whether any Chartered Professional Engineers should be referred to an Investigating Committee
  • Understand the context around the buildings’ design and sign off, including any systemic issues, and identify any matters that IPENZ should respond to.

Read the full terms of reference