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Reay Hearing: Committee Adjourns, Templer Hopes For “closure”


An Engineering New Zealand Disciplinary Committee has adjourned to determine its findings in the complaint against Dr Alan Reay.

Dr Reay’s employee designed the CTV Building that collapsed in the Christchurch Earthquake and tragically resulted in the loss of 115 lives. The complaint alleges the employee lacked the necessary experience to carry out such a design, and that Dr Reay knew this and failed to adequately supervise his employee according to the accepted standard of practice at the time – in this case the 1980s.

Chief Executive Dr Richard Templer said, “It has taken a long time for this complaint to be heard by a disciplinary committee and we are pleased all parties have finally had the opportunity to do so.”

A High Court decision in October allowed the complaint to proceed to a professional disciplinary hearing. Templer said the Court’s decision was “entirely appropriate” as the complaint is about professional conduct.

“A Disciplinary Committee hearing is not a court proceeding,” said Templer. “It is an opportunity to understand the complaint so the committee can determine whether to uphold or dismiss the complaint.”

If the complaint is upheld, the Committee can decide whether to impose censure, a fine and costs.

Templer said it was Engineering New Zealand’s role as the professional body for engineers to ensure complaints brought against members be handled appropriately.

“We take complaints about members very seriously as it’s our job to us to uphold professional standards,” he said.

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Templer said Engineering New Zealand is acutely aware of the hearing’s significance to the CTV families, a number of whom were at the hearing.

“These are families who lost loved ones nearly 13 years ago. I want to acknowledge the courage they’ve shown in attending the hearing,” he said. “I know people are looking for answers and ultimately I hope this process will bring some closure.”

In his closing remarks, Disciplinary Committee chair Andrew McMenamin reiterated the need to give full consideration to all information put before the committee over the previous three days.

“It is critical for everyone to get a fair hearing and that we consider all the evidence and submissions provided to us. As a result, it may take some time before our findings are released,” McMenamin said.

The Committee has reserved its decision.

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Notes to reporters

· The hearing was held at Hadlee Pavilion, Hagley Oval, Christchurch from Monday 4 to Wednesday 6 December 2023.

· Andrew McMenamin’s opening statement from the hearing can be found at https://www.engineeringnz.org/news-insights/reay-hearing-opening-statement/

· Engineering New Zealand is New Zealand's professional body for engineers, with some 22,000 members. We represent – and regulate – our members. We also act as the Registration Authority for Chartered Professional Engineers.

· Disciplinary Committees can make orders under the Engineering New Zealand our membership rules and disciplinary regulations. The maximum fine that can be imposed under Rules that applied at the time this complaint was made is $5,000.

 

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