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Design flaws halt Olympic seating construction

TEMPORARY STRUTTING and bracing has been added to seating on Sydney's Olympic swimming pool to allow construction work to restart this week after a two week suspension.

The Australian health and safety authority, WorkCover, stopped work after construction unions voiced fears about the safety of the structure last month.

A spokesman for the Olympic Coordination Authority confirmed there had been 'buckling of the steel support because the concrete was too heavy. There had been design flaws'.

The steel precast concrete seating units are supported on raking steel columns and will provide an additional 8,000 permanent seats for Sydney International Aquatic Centre plus another 4,500 temporary places for Olympic events.

Engineering firm Taylor Thompson Whitting was called in to report on the grandstand extension and particularly its support after concerns were raised about safety. It 'detailed a safe process to carry out the necessary works'.

The necessary construction changes can be accommodated within the schedule, the OCA spokesman said, and will allow Olympic trials to take place in May as planned.

OCA deputy director Bob Leece is understood to be confident in the rest of the contractors' work.

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