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Three more engineers arrested over Polish roof collapse

THREE FURTHER arrests have been made following the collapse of a Polish exhibition centre in January. Six people are now being held in relation to the disaster.

Two designers are understood to have been charged with 'wilfully causing the collapse' and the designer's verifier has been charged with 'involuntarily causing the collapse' that killed 65 and injured 140 in January this year (NCEI March).

The engineers could face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.

They join three employees of building owner MTK who were arrested in February.

BMK said it could not comment on the arrests as the matter is now sub judice.

At the time of the collapse heavy snow was reported to have overloaded the building's lightweight steel-framed roof with some 300mm of snow and 100mm offiice.

The snow was not cleared by the building's owner MTK despite the known danger. The three senior MTK employees responsible for maintenance were arrested and charged with criminal negligence.

In May a report by the Polish government into the cause of the collapse is understood to have blamed the disaster on massive overloading of the structure, exacerbated by inadequate repairs.

NCEI understands that the building was copied from a Spanish design and not designed for snow loads.

But an engineer experienced in Poland's building regulations told NCEI that snow loads do not have to be part of the design of Polish structures: 'Under Polish building regulations you either design for snow loads or make a provision for maintenance - usually you design for snow.' CE Poland representative Richard Burleigh explained the legal position of those involved in designing and building structures that collapse in Poland.

'Three groups of people can be prosecuted in the event of a collapse. First is the designer and the veri r who checked the work of the designer.

'Second is the contractor appointed site manager, who is responsible for checking the design and ensuring that construction meets the design requirements. And third is the building inspector, appointed jointly by the client and contractor, who ensures legal obligations are met.' Before a building can be occupied it must be granted an occupancy certi ate that requires the approval of the local building regulations department. The building was closed down in 2000 and 2002 after snow loading caused the roof to buckle.

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