An analysis of a failure

the structural collapse at the Station Square development

On April 23, 1988, the roof of a new supermarket collapsed at the Station Square shopping center complex in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, injuring 21 people. This lengthy, three-part article provides a summary of the facts surrounding the incident and the perspectives of some of the professionals involved, as well as some independent views that examine specific responsibilities and the socio/economic/political implications of the collapse. The official investigation concluded that poor communication contributed to the use of the undersized steel beam implicated in the collapse. Although a pending legal proceeding will look into assigning responsibility for the incident, professional engineers and architects concurred that engineering standards could be tightened and government inspections should be more rigorously performed. The project management viewpoint examined the chain of controls and recommended the creation of a Responsibility Code to improve the conduct of projects.
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