ADHESIVE FAILURE is now the prime suspect in the collapse of an ice rink roof in Germany earlier this month, sources close to the investigation have told NCE.
Fifteen people died in the small Alpine town of Bad Reichenhall when the 40m span timber box girder roof suddenly collapsed on 2 January (News last week).
Experts combing the wreckage are said to have found at least five joints in the engineered timber structure where the urea formaldehyde adhesive had completely disappeared.
The main beams failed at midspan, with the webs breaking away from the top and bottom chords.
No rot was found in the softwood timber itself, despite reports that the roof had been leaking for a considerable time.
Current theories are that the adhesive had decayed in large areas of the roof under the impact of moisture and prolonged low temperatures. A fall of heavy, wet snow appears to have been the final straw, triggering a rapid progressive collapse that gave skaters below little chance of escape.