Canadian Consulting Engineer

Elliot Lake’s Algo Mall Collapse Presentation (7:30 – 9:30 PM)

October 10, 2019
Suiteworks Business Centre 92 Caplan Avenue Barrie, ON L4N 9J2

On June 23, 2012 a partial collapse of the roof of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake resulted in the death of two victims. OPP commissioned NORR Limited, led by Hassan Saffarini, P.Eng. to carry out a forensic investigation into the cause of collapse and the parameters that influenced it.

This presentation covers the subject from the early on-site inspection by NORR and its associates back in 2012 through the detailed analysis, lab testing, brainstorming and the formulation of the final report. Some of the findings will be shared to inform of the condition of the mall and the specific mechanism of the failure. The history of the mall will also be reviewed from design to construction, early and ongoing leakage problems and attempts at repair. Through the life of the building a number of engineers had the opportunity to review the structure, reflection on their perspectives will inform both the understanding of the progression of deterioration that was brewing underneath and the pitfalls of the investigations that have not succeeded in averting this tragedy.

A Commission of Inquiry was formed and took almost two years to painstakingly collect the data and interview stakeholders, witnesses and experts before issuing a detailed report in October 2014. The NORR investigation team gave its testimony over several days. The presentation will touch on that and on the Commission’s findings.

Our presenter, Hassan Saffarini, P.Eng., PhD was the lead engineering investigator commissioned by OPP after the collapse of the Algo Mall. He is the head of Structural Engineering at NORR Architects and Engineers, Toronto. Hassan is a graduate of Leeds University, UK with a Masters Degree and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a Professor of Civil Engineering and taught for twenty five years in various universities in the Middle East and Canada. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Ryerson University. He has many publications in international journals in the area of structural and earthquake engineering. Before coming to Canada he had been a Cofounder and Executive Vice President of one of the Middle East’s largest consulting firms, Consolidated Consultants. He is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a LEED accredited professional (LEED AP BD+C). He has a long career both as a structural engineer and project manager. He has led the design and managed major projects in various sectors including high rises, infrastructure projects and urban developments. For the past nine years he has been leading the design and contract administration of the structural work of the Union Station Revitalization Project involving the restoration of the heritage building and the construction of a retail mall underneath the busiest transportation hub in Canada.

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