Enforcement of seismic provisions in the nation's building codes is credited with dramatically reducing the impact of the most damaging earthquake to hit New Zealand for nearly 70 years. A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand's second largest city, at 4.36 a.m. on Sept. 4, causing extensive damage to unreinforced masonry buildings, not engineered to resist sesimic loads, but no significant damage to major buildings. Investment in seismic retrofits appears to have saved some of Christchurch's most important historic buildings, including the Anglican Cathedral in the city's center and the Catholic Basilica. The major message from the earthquake is
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.