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.