Canadian Consulting Engineer

Moscow tragedy results in calls for more engineering safety checks

Though faulty construction or engineering are believed to be the cause of the collapse of a reinforced roof in Mosc...

March 8, 2004   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Though faulty construction or engineering are believed to be the cause of the collapse of a reinforced roof in Moscow, it will be some time before researchers determine the truth. There are apparently six outstanding investigations on other building collapses that happened previously to the Transvaal Water Park that are still not completed.
It was 7:15 in the evening on Valentine’s Day when patrons at the Transvaal Water Park heard a tremendous cracking sound overhead.
One of them, Roman Yazymin, 29, had been sunbathing in a solarium when he heard a loud crash.
“It wasn’t an explosion, but the noise of metal collapsing,” he told the Associated Press. T
The reinforced concrete roof, about the size of a soccer field, collapsed from a height of 20 metres and landed on people below, killing 27, and injuring more than 100.
While the disaster struck only eight days after 41 people died from a bomb explosion on a Moscow subway train, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzkhov ruled out the possibility of a terrorist act.
Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a news conference that “an initial inspection of the bottom of the pool and of the building’s foundation has shown that there are no cracks. Had there been any tectonic motion, they would have appeared.”
Shoigu resolved to determine the reason for the failure. “Whoever made a mistake has to answer for it. This irresponsibility cannot go on foreverThe country needs very rigorous controls for the safety and diagnosis of structures,” he said. He added that all roofs of the same type in Moscow were being checked.
Although the investigation has not reached a conclusion, theories of the cause of collapse have been widespread including a build-up of snow on the domed roof, corrosion in support beams from the contrasting temperatures inside and outside, faulty construction and maintenance.

Paul Boge, P.Eng. is based in Winnipeg.

Sources:
Associated Press
Russia Journal
Moscow Times
Reuters


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