PGC building collapse

PGC building collapse

Moments after the 22 February 2011 earthquake, the five-storey 1960s PGC building at 233 Cambridge Tce suffered a catastrophic collapse. The building’s tenants included Pyne Gould Corporation Ltd and two related companies, Perpetual Group Ltd and Marac Finance (Levels 1 and 2). Also based in the building were Leech and Partners Ltd (Level 1), Marsh Ltd (Level 4) and the Education Review Office (Level 3). Eighteen people who worked for four of these companies (Perpetual Group, Marac Finance, Leech and Partners and Marsh Ltd) died.

In her contribution to QuakeStories, Amanda, who worked for Perpetual Group, recalls being rescued from the building:

I finally was rescued at about 6 p.m. or just after. My rescuer Steve is the most bravest person I know, he kept me so calm and when he sawed into the side of my desk so that it tilted and my hand came free and I saw three fingers fall off and got hysterical he said calmly to me, ‘Amanda, don’t worry about your hand, the most important thing is getting you out of here’. I take my hat off to him as he is a hero in my eyes and I owe my life to him.

I lost so much that day, not only my fingers but my beautiful friend and wonderful workmates.

My injury is so insignificant compared to what others have lost and I am so grateful to still be alive and it has made me realise how special and precious my life is.

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission found that the PGC building had a number of ‘critical structural weaknesses’. While noting that ‘a number of different failure mechanisms … individually or in combination may have caused the collapse’, it concluded that it was initiated by the failure of the eastern wall.

The report of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission contains biographies of those who died in the PGC building as a result of the earthquake (vol. 2, pp. 12–18).

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