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THE SEACLIFF BUILDING INQUIRY.

On the inquiry being resumed on Wednesday morning, before Messrs Higgiuson, Mountfort, aud Skinner, Mr Gore said he would call evidence and then submit himself for examination, and would afterwards comment on the evideuce. He called Robert Forrest, who, examined by Mr Gore, said he had considerable experience iv building contracts. Ho had the contract for the Queen's Theatre at the time of its erection, and had also carried out the designs of the Choral Hall. He never had occasion to find fault with the way iv which Mr Gore carried out the work. Witness went up to Seacliff specially to take the measurement, of the foundation. He first went in May ISS2, aud had been several times after-

wards. Mr Gore, never interfered with him in taking the quantities. Mr Briudley was the only per.son who went about the work with witness. The front wall was 3ft by 3ft under the pillars, and was continuous. Mr Gore remarked that tho concreta was suspended by brick, which would partly account for the difference in depth in most of the walls. Witness went on to say that a concrete support of 3ft was sufficient to carry the wall. He could uot see how the concrete foundation had caused tho building to crack unless the ground was not of the same nature throughout. If witness was told that some of the piers had cracked but that the superstructure remained perfectly quiet, he would think that the earth below had moved and not the foundations. If tho foundation of tho north wall had not settled vertically, witness would attribute the cracks to the ground slipping forward. It might

move more quickly in one part than another, but

it depended on the strata below. When taking measurements witness never heard anyone say that the building was being scamped. To Mr Liwfon: If in the back wall of the north end of the building there was a peculiar twisting, witness would like to see the walls before giving an opinion ns to how it was occasioned. When he was taking measurements lie saw thnt the ordinary concrete was used, being composed of metal and cement. Nobody pointed out any faults, and ho could see nothing at all faulty about the cement. Witness believed the ground at Seacliff was a kind of slippery formation. He judged so from what he had heard and from Dr Hector's report. He had known instances of bills slipping—for instance, Heriot row, Pitt street, Queen street, and Arthur 'reet. The consequence to brick houses was

that they cracked ami moved. The cracks were errntic and not all in the same direction. If there was a slip at Seacliff it would certainly account for the cracks. Assuming there was a half-inch of settlemant in the ambulatory wall, it would not be likely, in witness' opinion, to have Anything to do with the cracks.

To Mr Higginson : Witness took the quantities from Mr Briudley ; ho did not take them out for himself. To have the wall stand, it depended just as much upon the nature of tho ground beneath the coucreto as on tho concrete itself. Witness saw enough of the concrete to sati;.fy himself it was of good quality. Ho took the measurements for Mr Gore. Mr Blair (examining): Does tho specification show you that tho concrete is to be placed in [he trench without boxing ? Witness had never had occasion to box con-

Crete in trenches. He would not unless the material he was working on needed it. Where footings were marked on the plau boxing would be needed, aud therefore, according to the contract plans, boxing was necessary. If witness had been tendering for the work he should have provided for boxing. Witness saw no scamping when he was at Seacliff, and had never had his attention directed to any faulty work. Blr Blair: If you found that one block of a building had moved lfiin downhill and that another block was 12:u too far uphill, would you assume that tho latter portion had slipped uphill? Witness could not reply to such n question It would be extraordinary for it to move uphill. Mr Blair: If plans provided for foundations -Ift Gin deep and footings of Oil), and you only went down 3ft with no footings, would the one way bu as good as the other ? Witness said 'here was no necessity to go down if as good bearing power coul.l Lo got without. Mr Blair: But is not a certain clay affecto 1 by rains and atmospherical changes, and is there not a rulo in the profession to go to a minimum depth ? Witness: It depends upon tho nature of tho material. To Mr Lawson : If witness was an architect, and it cami: to his knowledge that something

like this stt-p was to be apprehended, the cutting t,f an open trench, isolating the site of the building from tbe moving mnss, would be a i thing he should suggest. If witness recommended such a thing aud ihe proprietor took no uotice of the recommendation, the latter would have to stand the consequences. Mr Blair: But suppo.-ing tbe proprietor drained the ground according to the architect's plans, the architect wuuld be responsible ? Witness supposed to. Mr Lawson: If a building was erected on confessedly soft ground, would you consider it a

good thins for a tunnel 3ft or so to be sunk within 12ft of the foundation and carried ou two sides of the building only ? Witness : Not if it was moving ground. Mr Lawson: If you know a certain hillside was famed for moving? Witness: I should prefer to put tho tunnel behind. Mr Blair asked that that be taken down. George Crump, a labourer, examined by Mr Gore, deposed that he was working at the Seaclift buil,'jo{j for 15 or 10 months, and helped to put in a portion of the concrete. Metal and ceaiunt was mixed on boards after being measured in boxes. It was th«n wheeled in a burrow, shot into the trenches, and levelled there. The stone packing was put from "in to Sin apart, and kept well from the edges. He hsd had n good deal of e>:iK>rieneu iv concrete work, and from whit he knew of the asylum he should say that the concrete put into the foundations there was good. To the Chairman : Some of the stones might be lOin or 12in square, some a little larger— good, clean, hard Milestone, and the metal was of the same quality. Georg'.) Watkins, a labourer, who was engaged in the samo work as the last witness, gave similar evidence, wilh the exception that he said tlmt sand was added to the concrete. Tin: concrete was very good, aud Mr Brimiiey was always present at the mixing board or at the trench. To Mr Mountfort: Thu concrete was generally put in the trenches without boards, ou each side of it. To Mr Blair: The boulders were cleaned with water, a hose being used for that purpose. Benjamin Butdi>:r, foreman of the bricklayers at the asylum building, deposed that the material of the concrete was mixed on boards, measured, and put in the trenches. The concrete was mixed up in accordance with the specifications, and witness considered it was of good quality. There was a crack iv the back wall of the north ambulatory before any* brickwork was put on at all. To the Chairman : The concrete wall was not filled up at the back before the bricks were put in.

To Mr Gore: Witness had worked for Mr Gore for over 20 years, and knew of no other building in which Mr (Sore had been concerned in which cracks had appeared. He had uot been in Mr Gore's employ for the last four years. _ _

To thn Chairman: The ground at the north end of the building was of a wet nature. To Mr Skiuuer: The bond of the brickwork at the west corner of block 2 was good. Walter John Gore, who had had charge of tho works at Se'cliff, examined by Mr James Gore, deposed tint he had been at building works from the time when he was 11 years old—for 20 years. lie had had sole charge of the Timar'i High School, and of the asylum. The quantities of the concrete were five to one—five of combined shingle and.metal to one of cement—and the packing was placed 9in apart. Trenches were cut to it line, and tho concrete put in. Above the trenches the concrete was put in boxes. The concrete in the bases was done away with, and brick and cement substituted. Mr Briudley seeincd to thit'k the packing should be a foot apart, but was satisfied with What was done. Some concrete was condemned ou tho ground that the packing was too close. This was at the central part of the south wing. Soino of this was taken out, but it was found to bo so compact and solid that its removal was stopped. Mr Briudley nevereomplaiuedHboutniiy other part of the concrete. The concrete wall in the north ambulatory was cracked before there was any weight or vertical prutsuro upon it. His opinion was that tho crack was caused by a movement of the ground, and that tho. slip might easily have licit defined at that time. There was every indication of this slip affecting the railway platform. To his own knowledge it had gone seaward to the extent of lft llin. The, ground at the asylum was of a porous nature, not a good solid c'lay."^ Somewhat similar j clay was used for puddling Uig reservoir, and tho reservoir atfiistwouldnothold water. Agooddeal of trouble was experienced in connection with tho tramway ou account of the nature of tho ground. Ho was at Seacliff when tho wall referred to its having a hole in it was built. No rubbish was put iv that wall, but he believed that hole represented a temporary drain put in by Mr Brindley. It would not have been worth while for the contractor to fill up such ft hole with rubbish instead of with concrete. Tho water always come through from the back into the trenches of the north ambulatory block. Every care was taken to put in tho foundations; they were not slummed in any way. Mr Brindley and witness set out the foundations together. The plan of the ambulatory pillars produced did not show the foundations as they existed, aud it would l:o impossible upon it to calculate tho bearing power of tho foundation. No portion of the building was toothed excepting where there was an intention to make an addition to it. When at Seacliff he did uot notice any settlement in the whole of the building; the floors were all level. H3 had seen no sign of vertical settlement in the north wing. There were no cracks in the window sills, and if the.-c wis vertical settlement it would have shown there first. It was quite possible that tho piers had been built, from an eighth ton quarter"of an inch ou!;, nut as piers Nos. 1 and 7 w«ri> » di'sil level, he. should take that as practioally correct. If tho foundations had sunk half an inch in 60ft, it would not have caused the cracks that appeared, and there should have been a small crack where none wns visible. If tlu.ru was 10 times the concrete in i tliu foundations it would not carry til' 3 super--1 structure if the ground moved.

,To Mr Lawsou : Witness had never heard Mi r Brindley complain that ho was not supported by the architect, or that his free action was interfered with. To Mr Blair: Mr Brindley was quite satisfieel i' with the packing being Oiu apart. Witness was manager in October 18S2, and would say that Mr Brindley had no cause for stating in his letter to Mr Lawson that the work was scamped. The concrete in the wall of the ambulatory was as broad as the footings in tho plan. The footings were put in to Mr Brindley's .satisfaction, and he must have been satisfied with the part where the brickwork overhung the concrete or ho would not have passed it. It was merely a theory that Mr Brindley's men might have made the bole that was filled with rubbish for the purpose of a temporary drain; he knew nothing about it positively. The whole weight of the clay was not against the back wall when the cracks appeared in it. He had seen no evidence of vertical settlement. You could see that the floor had been dragged, but there was no fall in it that you could feel as you walked over it. From a considerable distance behind the main building a slip was traceable to tho railway stnti™, and the north block was being affected by the slip. To Mr Lawson : Inequalities in a floor might be caused by lateral pressure; in fact, would almost certainly causo the floors to buckle out of level. To Mr Mountfort: The crack in the concrete wall, before weight was put on it, was seen, ho believed, early in ISS3. To Mr Gore: A very severe rainfall in Hay ISS3 did damage to tho railway line and flooded the asylum building. The water had been lying in the foundations, and there was no drainage at the back of the building at that time. That must have had a tendency to soften the ground and injure the foundations. He had noticed that though the corridor was in a straight line, 110 inequality in the whole leDgth of the building was noticeable. To the' Chairman: Witness was of opinion that tie contract did not imply that the contractor should keep the building clear of water. I f it had done so, the contractors would certainly have been kept to it. To Mr Blair: The contractors did pride themselves on the building beiug perfectly level from end to end, but did not take an instrument to test it. To Mr Mountfort: All tho damage, with the exception of a slight crack in the ambulatory floor, had occurred since the building had been taken over in January 1534. Mr Gore said that there was only one other witness lie wished to call; aud The inquiry was adjourned nt 10 minutes past 4 until 10 o'clock this (Thursday) morning. Thursday, Feijijuary 16. The commission resumed its sitting yesterday morning at 10 o'clock. Charles John Gore, in answer to Mr Mountfort, said that the contract was finished befora any of tho isolating drains were started. In answer to Mr Gore, fen., witness said that ■),7C0,000 bricks were made for the work, but only about '1,000,000 were used. The balance were afterwards sold. Each brick was made and pressed fepnrately, and the machine turned out the best bricks ever made in Ne-w Zealand. Mr Blair was not often on the ground ; witness had not seen him there moro than three times. Mr Blair's evidence must have been based on hearsay. In answer to Mr Higginson, witness said that pressed bricks were used for nearly all the central portion of the building. By Mr Blair: Some of the bricks made were not used because the clay of which they were formed contained lime. This limy clay was not used after its defect had been discovered. By Mr Lawson i i During the whole time Mr Lawson was at the building witness could not remember one occasion on which, when there was a dispute, he sided with tho contractor as against the inspector. Witness was positive of this. When a dispute arose as to the concrete, Mr Lawson Elded with Mr Brindley. The portion of the concrete that was found fault with was removed from the building. The contractor claimed the work on the temporary gables as an extra. Witness believed, but was not aware of his own knowledge, that Mr Lawson disallowed the charge. Then Mr Lawson sided with Mr Brindley in respect to tho bricks, and condemned them. Mr Brindley wished the ambulatory piers laid in cement, and also five or tix courses of cunent right round the building. This work was curried out though not specified. That was done to give, additional strength to the building. Witness could not remember whether this work was allowed to be charged as an extra. By Mr Blair: On most occasions when there was n misunderstanding between Mr Brindley nnd tho contractor, Mr Lawsou backed up Mr Briudley to the letter. Witness could not say on every occasion, but on every occasion when Mr Brimiley was in tho right. By Mr Higginsou : The lime used was from Waihola and the sand from Chain Hills. By Mr Mountfort: In the course of Oaniaru stone laid through the wall, "headers" ought to be found every Bft or 10ft. Archibald Morrison, of the firm of Anderson and Morrison, deposed that he did most of the internal plumbing of the Seacliff Luuatic Asylum. None of the pipes had been pulle.l out, but some of them had been repaired. His men had been employed to make, repairs, but no extensive repairs had been made. By Mr Gore: Witness hud recommended the hot water appartus boiug lined with copper, but that was objected to. He remembered Ur Grabham reporting on the asylum as to tho ceiling in the bathrooms. Tho report was not true. The joints in the pipes were not made of putty, but of solder. After the job was finished a carpenter knocked a chisel into one of the pipes, and there being no plumber there he put seme cement, not putty, in the hole. Thnt, rise to tho statement that the pipe.i were juined with putty.—To Mr Skinner: Witnos carried out most of the internal plumbing, but had nothing to do with the roof. John Gibson Dick, foremnn at tho Seacliff Asylum for some time, deposed that he had put the concrete in for portions of the centre block. The concrete was all measured in boxes, and was uf good quality. Witness left of his own accord. lie di 1 not get on very well with the inspector, and thought it better to leave. The inspector wes always finding fault with him, and yet got all his own way. He folt his position :-o unfair to MrGoro and so miserable to himself that he left of kis own aecor.l. It was all first-class workmanship, so far as he saw it, and lin had had n good deal of experience. He saw no concrete tipped in by the barrowful and allowed to remain so, and should have, seen it had that been done. Mr Biindley was always present when the work was going on.—To the chairman: The fastenings were put in the eeutre block, and boxes were used there for Ihfi concrete. The. foundations were set out by Mr Brindley and himself. Witness worled to instructions given by Mr Briudley, both as to level and dimensions. —By Mr Mountfort: Witness superintended a pcrliou of the brickwork in the centre block. The work was done as specified.—By Mr Skinner: The walls of the centre portion were carried up and figured, with the exception that where they were shown 2ft they were carried out 2ft 3iu. By Mr Lawson : There were several disputes between him mid Mr Brindley, and in none of them could he remember that 3lr Lawsou had in any instancesided with Mr Gore as against Mr Brindley, the inspector. On one occasion Mr Lawson condemned 200,000 bricks. By Mr Blair: During the six months witness was on the ground Mr Lawson was frequently out there, but he could not say how often he was there. He could not s»y whether Mr Lawsou backed Mr Brindley up in all his fault-finding. James Gore, the contractor for the building, deposed that there never had been any dispute as to the quantity of the cement. Tho metal was measured in boxes. Mr Briudley complained about the packing, and they had a dispute, as to that, as they differed in their iuterpretation of tho specifications. This, so far as tho concrete was concerned, was tho only dispute, with one exception. Tho exception was that on one occasion he saw a man removing the packing uuder Mr Briudley's orders, and he told the man to put it in 9in apart, tho trench being a narrow and a shallow one. Mr Brindley refused to allow the bricklayers to work upon thi.i. Mr Lawson said this would have to cotno out; part of it was taken out-, ami the process of its removal was so slow, it being very hard, that Mr Brindley said there was no need to take moro of it out. The time when this occurred corresponded with the date on which Mr Brindley wrote complaining that tho contractor was setting him at defiance, and tho man who was doing this workwas tho man that Mr Brindley wanted to have discharged. The friction between Mr Brindley and witness occurred through Mr Brindley interfering with the men. He conceded to Mr Brindley whab must have cost him a great deal of money by substituting cement brickwork for concrete abovo grouud. He believed, speaking generally, that the asylum was about as faithfully constructed as any building in New Zealand. There was nothing about tho building that had k-en slummed, aud certainly there had been on his part no intention to slum it, for ho had a price sullicient to makoa good job of it. It wus insinuated that he had reduced the foundations in order to save money; but, as he had a price which paid him well for the concrete, it would have been to his interest to increase their :.ize. As a matter of fact, tho foundations were set out by Mr Brin.ili-y. and wen; measured as they were put into the ground, and the result was an addition of 700 yds to tho amount mentioned in the contract. His attention was called to the crack in tho concrete of the north ambulatory wall by Mr Brindley before a brick was set on it. That was in February ISS-1, and bis impression was that it was caused by a thrust from the back, and that the weight of the superstructure would consolidate it and bind it together. There had been so many statements made about the Seaclilf Asjlum that ho wished to refer to some. For instance, in one of the papers it had been stated that he had not received any payment for extra work until after ho had been elected a member of the General Assembly. Now, that statement was totally untrue. He had never received from the Public Works department, directly or indirectly, one halfpenny since he had been nominated to tho House. He wished this to appear in the evidence, as the statement had been made in the public press. The 9in gable referred to was of a temporary character, am.! had been so constructed because the building was at some time f.o be extended. In his opinion, as the walhvas temporary, it was put in of ample size— By Mr Lawson: On several occasions in which there were disputes the architect had agreed with him.but he had also condemned^ very large quantity of bricks on Mr Brindloy s rep'urt, regardless whether they were good or not, and had caused the concrete lie had referred to tii be taken out. As a matter of fact, ho (lm not know that there were many disputes. The principal ones had arisen through Mr Briudley s du-ira to interfere, with the men. Divided authority meant that there would be serious loss and, as that loss would fall oi> himself, ho could not submit, to a division of authority. By Mr Skinner; The foundations were put in by

tbe yard, because the alteration of tho site altered the depth of the foundations. Mr Brindley had been on the trenches whenever he (witness) was at Eseacliff, and had set out the foundations iv conjunction with the foreman for tho time being. His recollection was that where the footings were cut away the bulk of the cement waß adhered to. The foundations were put in to Mr Brindley's orders in every respect, the contractor being simply a machine to do as ho was told. By the Chairman : He realised that under the contract ho had to keep the foundations under water, as^far as he had control over them, but in this case a large quantity of earth had to be excavated in front and at the back, and that was beyond his control. The excavation, except for the foundation, was carried out under a separate contract. By Mr Skinner: If the foundations had been taken down to the bed rocks drains would still have had to be put in. The ground was of a very slippery nature. That at tho back would not stand at an angle of 45. By Mr Lawson: -If the western end of the building had gone 16.|in out of plumb, he believed that the building must have slipped bodily down by pressure from the hack. He was never 6upplied with detailed drawing plans, but Mr Briudley did prepare some, and retained them iv his office, allowing the contractor to see them whenever he liked. He could not say that Mr Brindley had prepared all the detailed drawings or whether they had been prepared in the architect's office. By Mr Blair: If they found tho other block out of line uphill, he could not account for it. He knew that the ground was slipping in a northeast direction, and would expect to find tho building slipping in that direction. He was not an expert in this matter, and therefore could not give an opinion as to the effects of the ground slipping. The inquiry was then adjourned till Tuesday.

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THE SEACLIFF BUILDING INQUIRY. Otago Daily Times, Issue 8109, 18 February 1888, Supplement

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