Could membrane have prevented this tragedy?

A membrane to prevent salt damage may have contributed to mall collapse

FROM TORONTO STAR… ELLIOT LAKE, ONT. — A well-maintained membrane could have prevented the deadly roof cave-in at the Algo Centre Mall, a leading concrete expert says.

Professor Samir Chidiac, a specialist in structure analysis and concrete at McMaster University in Hamilton, said that without a well-maintained membrane, a concrete building is susceptible to saltwater seeping through the material, which would rust and damage metal supports.

“When you have parking, you have cars. The minute you introduce salt to a concrete structure, it’s a matter of time before all that salt sinks in, which can introduce corrosion, which will weaken the concrete structure and end up in a collapse,” he said.

Although Chidiac couldn’t speak to whether the mall in Elliot Lake had installed a membrane, a former contractor told the Toronto Star he had been hired to fix a leaky roof at the mall, but had been called off the job before a membrane could be installed.

The contractor, Glen Day, says Eastwood Mall Inc., the company that owns the Algo Centre Mall, hired him to repair water issues in 2008.

“We were going to put a membrane down and some asphalt on top but there was some issues with that because of the structure itself — they were concerned of the poor condition of the beams,” said Day.

Day found another membrane system that would work on the structure, but after beginning installation preparations, he was let go, he said.

He added he wasn’t given a clear reason as to why he was fired.

The company hired afterwards used a roof sealant system instead and replaced the caulking of all the joints in the concrete panels that make up the lot, according to a report in The Standard, Elliot Lake’s local newspaper. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][read more……]