Roof collapse from snow load - political and engineering forensics

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 03/06/2015 - 17:07.


This roof collapse (in first bay at gable end)  took place on a publicly owned/operated skating rink.   At 7:00 AM it was lucky that everyone in the building was, by chance, at the other end.   No one was injured or killed.  

Everyone at the rink ignored - for weeks - the accumulating and obvious 4' of snow on the roof - even though other buildings in the region were collapsing from not being shoveled .    However, now that the facility is closed, the public manager, janitor, and staff will continue to receive full pay.    No one will be sanctioned for incompetence.    So, in terms of exercising personal care and responsibility, there is no reason to act with concern for the property and patrons (and potential physical harm to themselves). 

If this was a private skating rink - would the owner have been more likely to see to it that the roof was shoveled?   Or just let it go and call the insurance company?   

What was the actual failure mode?   Note that the roof purlins all came completely clear and free of their "U" shaped metal stirrups (at top of image just below the strip of roof shingles).    Were the 2" X 12" purlins just set into the stirrups without fastening?


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