Tasks investigating the cause of a roof collapse

Specialists investigating the cause of a roof collapse like the one in Elliot Lake, Ontario, on June 23, 2012 might do some or all of the following tasks:

  1. Walk around and visually examine the collapsed structure from all angles paying particular attention to the structural elements, their location and condition.
  2. Photograph and film the entire collapsed structure from all angles including from a low flying plane or helicopter.  Include distance, mid range, and close-up sequences.  Also photograph and film the structure during the removal of the debris in the hunt for survivors.
  3. Photograph and film the structural elements where these are exposed to view.  Include close-up sequences.
  4. Interview witnesses of the collapse and occupants of the structure on different occasions prior to the collapse.
  5. Study photographs and videotape taken during the use of the structure.  For example, security camera records.
  6. Study photographs and film/videotape taken during construction of the structure.
  7. Review design of the structure paying particular attention to the structural design.
  8. Review the geotechnical investigation of the foundation soil, rock and groundwater conditions at the site of the structure.
  9. Review the construction drawings and specifications for the structure.
  10. Review the construction, and materials testing and inspection records.
  11. Review the as-built drawings.
  12. Review the structure’s maintenance records.
  13. Identify additional specialists needed to investigate aspects of the structure and the collapse.
  14. Schedule laboratory and field testing of materials used in construction.
  15. Schedule laboratory and field testing of structural elements of the structure.  For example, connections.
  16. Research the literature for similar roof collapses.
  17. Develop a model of the collapse including the progression.
  18. Analyse the data and formulate an opinion on the cause of the collapse.

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