Roof Panel Caves in Rain, Injures 2


Engineers are trying to determine what caused a plastic panel on a new roof installation in Manchester, England’s Victoria Station to partially collapse Tuesday (Oct. 18), injuring two people.

One of the translucent panels gave way as heavy rain pounded the area, BBC reported. Two people suffered minor injuries in the cave-in. Witnesses told the BBC that “gallons of water” fell from above the platform.

Rail management officials from Network Rail told media outlets Wednesday that a full roof inspection was underway and that contractors have secured the damaged roof panel and blocked off the area below. Repairs are scheduled, reports indicate.

New Roof

Victoria Station completed upgrades to its facility in October 2015. The three-year, £44 million (approximately $60 million) project included the installation of a new 161,460 square-foot roof.

According to the BBC and other sources, the column-free structure is clad with more than 400 translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) panels, supported by 15 giant steel ribs.

Reports say the unique canopy is one of the biggest structures of its kind in England.

The upgrades were led by BDP architects with the intention of returning the historic Victoria train station to “its former position as one of the leading railway stations in the country.”

Morgan Sindall acted as principal contractor for the project, reports say.

Demanding Answers

News of the incident prompted a member of parliament to demand answers from the rail management.

“Either this was caused by a failure in the design, a failure in the construction or a failure in the manufacturing, but either way millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money was spent on this roof and this collapse isn’t good enough,” Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, told the Manchester Evening News.

“An immediate investigation is needed to establish how this could have happened months after so much public money was invested upgrading the station.”

Seagull Speculation

While an official cause of the incident had not been reported Wednesday afternoon, some have speculated on the cause.

The Manchester Evening News has published a report linking seagulls to the damage, but officials have not commented on that suspicion.

The report suggests seagulls had weakened the panels, pecking holes in the outer layer of the so-called “bubble roof,” causing the water to build up to a dangerous level, citing an employee for Network Rail.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Glaze; Maintenance + Renovation; Public spaces; Rail; Renovation; Roofing materials; Transportation; Waterproofing

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