IBS News

Update:The collapse of professionalism (NST, 4 June 2009)

WHILE Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said has wasted no time in announcing that the state government will investigate the collapse of the roof of the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak, Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor has also been quick to divulge that the Construction and Industry Development Board is putting together a team to search for the cause of the catastrophe. On top of that, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has initiated a probe into the incident. While the alacrity of these proactive measures is to be appreciated, it is to be feared, however, that it might be a classic case of too many cooks in the kitchen spoiling the broth. To be sure, since the stadium belongs to Terengganu, there is no question that the state government should be involved. But the scale of the cave-in and the reverberations from the collapse make it very much a national disaster, and not just a localised one. Likewise, the manner in which the contract to build the stadium was awarded should be looked into. However, while there is no question that there should be a full-scale, thorough and independent investigation to get to the bottom of things, it does not make sense to allow separate probes that push, pull and shove in different directions.

Whatever the case may be, we won't have the answers until the investigations are completed and the findings are reported. But as Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin pointed out, when new buildings collapse just like that, "it does not show professionalism". And in the construction process, while the architects and engineers are as much hired hands as the carpenters and bricklayers, the responsibility for the integrity of the structures that are put up is ultimately theirs. In the first place, they prepare the designs and the building plans. They also supervise the construction at the site and certify that work has been completed in accordance with the approved plan.

Update 2: Design flaw could be the cause (NST, 4 June 2009)

An eleventh-hour decision to use a space frame design for the roof of the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium could have led to its collapse on Tuesday morning.

A source familiar with the RM292 million project said the space frame roof that came crashing down was never part of the stadium's original design.

A decision was made at the last minute to cover the grandstand area with a space frame roofing to add a "curvy, grandeur and sophisticated" look to it.

The source said this, coupled with a looming deadline for the opening of the Malaysia Games, was a recipe for a disaster waiting to happen.

"It was done in a hurry and everyone in the engineering field knows that a space frame design is not an easy thing to build. Besides the difficulty involved, it is also a more expensive option," the source said.

According to civil engineering terms, a space frame is constructed from interlocking struts in a geometrical pattern using steel tubes.

It draws its strength from the triangular frames that make up the truss-like rigid structure.

It is lightweight, capable of spanning large distances with few supports and can create curves to increase the visual impact.

State Public Works director Rosly Zainal said it was premature to pin the blame on the choice of structural design, although he did admit that the technology involved required careful planning and expertise.

Rosly said all this would be looked into very carefully when investigations on the incident began.

He said debris from the collapse would not be cleared until the investigations were completed adding that insurers and adjusters would also be doing their own investigations.

Rosly, however, denied that the contractors were pressured into rushing its completion for the games.

"It was on schedule, otherwise we wouldn't have issued a temporary certificate of fitness," he added.

Roof Of Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium Collapses

KUALA TERENGGANU, June 2 (Bernama) -- Just a year after it was officially opened by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, the roof of the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak collapsed today.

In the 9.30am incident today, 60 percent of the roof at the stadium that was built at a cost of RM270 million and opened on May 10 last year, collapsed, including that above the royal box at the grand stand.

According to a worker, Mohd Zaidi Ahmad who was one of two workers who were fixing lights at the stadium about 300m from where the incident happened, said he rushed to the scene to see if there were any casualties.

However, though there was no immediate news of any victims, a team from the fire and rescue department and the Civil Defence Unit were at the scene to check if there were any victims trapped under the rubble.

Another witness, Asmadi Hashim who lives about 400m from the stadium, said he heard a loud explosion and had initially thought it came from an aircraft engine as the Sultan Mahmud Airport was situated close by.

Other witnesses claimed that the roof above the VIP area of the grand stand, including the royal box, was the first to collapse.

A visit by Bernama to the site saw workers clearing the debris but as of noon, no casualties were reported, however a number of motorcycles and cars parked nearby were reported to have suffered damages.

Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said is expected to visit the stadium at about 4pm before issuing a statement.

When opened last year, just ahead of the SUKMA that was hosted by Terengganu, the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium stood as a landmark for sports development in the state.

It was also the venue for a number of other major sporting events, Super League and Premier League football matches

IBS? Yes. Steel framing system. The first stadium in Asia using 134 m 'columnless' roof structure (Berita Harian, 13/5/2008). IBS mistake or defunction? No. It is overall construction bad practice in design and implementation.

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