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Welding quality under the spotlight after Menorca airport roof collapses


INVESTIGATIONS INTO the collapse last week of an airport roof on the Spanish island of Menorca are this week believed to be focusing on the quality of welding on the steel structure.

Investigators are concerned that a new weld may have given way during the erection of the steel structure as construction was underway at the time of the collapse.

Spanish contractor Sacyr would only confirm that three Portuguese workers had been injured in the accident last Wednesday, and that a 900m 2 section of roof weighing 95t had collapsed.

Other possible causes understood to be under investigation include quality control of the materials, and soundness of the detail design of the roof structure.

Early reports blamed heavy rains on the Mediterranean island over the past few days, but this assessment was criticised by Standing Committee on Structural Safety secretary John Carpenter.

'It seems unlikely that heavy rain could have done this, ' he said.

'Water is not going to pool on that roof, unless it somehow managed to get through to the inner lining.' The £35M refurbishment programme is being carried out by a consortium of two construction companies headquartered on the Spanish mainland: Sacyr and Construcciones San Jose.

It is scheduled for completion next year.

A Sacyr spokesman said: 'The accident hasn't affected the rest of the roof, and normal work has resumed.' The new building is on a separate site to Mahon airport's current terminal, and passengers were unaffected.

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