BC Place Stadium dome collapse preventable: report
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, January 4, 2008 5:27PM EST
VANCOUVER - An engineer's report says the damage that brought down the giant fabric dome of BC Place Stadium a year ago could have been prevented.
The report, released Thursday, said pre-existing damage, human error and weather caused the tear in a roof panel on Jan. 5, forcing stadium operators to deflate the dome, which is supported by air pressure driven by giant fans.
The Geiger Engineers report states the tear could have been prevented if there had been quicker action in responding to snow and water accumulation on the roof.
The section of fabric that ripped on the 25-year-old roof was weakened by years of use, but that wasn't the main cause of the giant roof inverting before shocked Vancouver residents on the windy winter day.
No event was taking place at the time of the collapse and no one was hurt.
"The roof being deflated was caused by the impact of a mass of water and slush and the wave it created in the fabric of the west triangle panel crashing into the ring beam," the report stated.
It concluded stadium operations staff were responsible for the "pond" of water that formed on the massive marshmallow-like dome and could have prevented the collapse by increasing the temperature in the stadium and increasing the internal pressure of the stadium.
"The building pressure should have been increased sooner so that the rain and snow could not have collected to the extent that it did," the report said.
Only 50 mm of wet snow and 6 mm of rain fell on the roof the day of the collapse.
"The penultimate cause of the failure was the inability of the operators to see the actual condition of the roof before taking action," the report said.
The report makes several recommendations on changing operating procedures for the roof including more training for staff, multiple cameras aimed at the underside and outside of the roof, and roof fabric material testing and inspection.
BC Place officials said in a news release the ideas are being implemented, including increased pressurization and heat on the roof during sub-zero temperatures or heavy snow.
The roof was repaired and reinflated within two weeks of the collapse with no loss of business for the stadium which hosts everything from trade shows to B.C. Lions games.