Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Snow plus cheap materials plus botched job?


Snow not the only factor in the roof collapse in Katowice…maybe, but that doesn’t make things any better for the building’s owners.

The death toll went back up again to 65 today after rescuers found three more bodies just before a planned removal of the wreckage.

Professor Marian Giżejowski of Warsaw’s University of Technology, told Radio Polonia today that uncleared snow from the roof of the Katowice exhibition centre may be to blame for the tragedy, but so could a lot of other things:


The collapse of a building’s structures is very rare. There is almost never a single factor behind such events. One of the most common causes is overloading, which may be the result of heavy snowfall.

Snowfall and rainfall are very critical factors for shallow or plain roof structures, especially covered with corrugated metal roofing [as in this case]. Corrugated roofing under the snow layer may be subjected to increasing deformation.
But it’s very difficult at this stage to say about the definite reasons for the collapse. To my knowledge the snow was not the only factor contributing to the disaster.

Steel structures are generally very safe because they show the signs of future collapse. The collapse is never a rapid event [with these types of roof and structure]. The collapse of the roof in Katowice was a sudden event [eyewitnesses say it took about ten seconds from start to finish] and so the event gives me a lot of food for thought. Design and construction faults should not be ruled out, either.

The Minister of the Interior, Ludwig Dorn said today that Katowice was no one off. In the Upper Silesian region alone this year, 13 roofs have collapsed.

Public buildings and particularly supermarkets built with metal, flat roofs are being cleared of snow all over Poland.

13 comments:

Gustav said...

Have you ever noticed how Polish homes - especially the ones in southern Poland near the mountains - have extremely steep, pointed roofs?

You'd have thought the builders would have taken a hint from centuries of local architectural traditions - there's a reason for them.

Henry Grodsk said...

All that went out the window when shiny western values came in. Have you noticed how fond Poles are of tiles outdoors? Tiles! Snow, thaw, slush plus tiles equals broken limbs. Tiles were a luxury commodity under communism so now of course they're putting them in the most ridiculous places - bus stops, for instance.

beatroot said...

Poles love tiles and they love bloody parkie flooring (ahhhh!).

But what has struck me about all this is that there must be something wrong in Upper Silesia. 18 building roofs have collapsed recently, 13 of them in that region. I think that possibly, there is something going on with the local government down there.

It couldn't be backhanders for turning a blind eye to shoddy and rushed building work, now could it?

gumish said...

beatroot - Upper Silesia received the most snowfall in non-mountainous Poland this winter - snow cover in my area (Lower Silesia not far from Wroclaw) is nowhere near 50 cm. Most of the country is covered whith less than 10 cm snow layer and there are lots of places where there is even less snow. This would at least in part explain why there were 13 roof collapses in Upper Silesia. Most propably they did not bother to remove the snow. One example that I know of is an abandoned foundry building in Chorzów I believe - quite obviously not being maintained any more.

beatroot said...

So Gummish is saying that this was all the fault of the owners of the buildings. What some in the media are saying, and a few politicians too, is that the incompetence is more widespread than that. Is it only that the Upper Silisia region has had more sonow? Or that there is a more 'structural' probmem?

Personally I am like a blind deer. ...I have no idea.

:-)

Henry Grodsk said...

Today's papers suggest the accident was on the cards for years. In a public-spirited gesture, some of them have published photographs of the possibly-guilty parties to aid any lynch mobs out there.

beatroot said...

It is getting lych mobbish. the owner ofthe place and that south african manager of Expomedia look terrified.

beatroot said...

It is getting lych mobbish. the owner ofthe place and that south african manager of Expomedia look terrified.

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