CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND — On Feb. 22, 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred on the eastern side of New Zealand causing significant damage. In an effort to learn from the performance of the region’s various infrastructure systems, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will be sending a technical assessment team to Christchurch from April 4 to April 9.

The team from ASCE’s Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) will document the performance of building structures, particularly those that had been seismically upgraded prior to the earthquake, assess whether changes to current codes and standards in the United States might be warranted as a result of their findings, and glean information on the nationwide seismic upgrade public policies in New Zealand. Some members of the team also were in New Zealand following the September 2010 earthquake.

The SEI team consists of: Bob Peckelnicky, P.E., S.E., Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco (team leader); Brian Kehoe, P.E., S.E., R.L.S, F.ASCE, Wiss Janney, Elstner Associates, San Francisco; Owen Rosenboom, Ph.D., Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, San Francisco; Charlene Halls, P.E., S.E., MRP Engineering, Bellevue, Wash.; and Matthew Speicher of the National Institute of Science and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md.

As part of its disaster response procedures, ASCE forms technical teams to study infrastructure damage caused by natural or man-made disasters. Such studies are conducted so that engineers may learn from the disaster, and that those lessons learned may be documented to inform future actions.

ASCE has participated in more than a dozen assessments in the last decade, including studies of the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001; assessments following hurricanes Katrina and Ike; tsunami assessments throughout the Indian Ocean Basin in 2004 and at the Samoan Islands; and earthquake assessments in Haiti, Chile, China, Peru, Alaska, California, Italy, Algeria, and Turkey.

The team is posting a daily blog on the ASCE website at