Tongaat mall design not an ‘unusual structure’, but ...

2014-09-06 09:32

The Tongaat mall that collapsed, killing two people, was not an unusual structure, an engineer told the inquiry investigating the incident.

Dr Piet Pretorius, tasked with investigating the mall’s design, told the labour department’s inquiry yesterday that the Tongaat mall was not an “irregular structure”, nor was it “a high rise building”.

He believed that it was adequately designed, but that he had concerns at the “accuracy” of the actual structure.

Pretorius has previously said he believed a beam, identified as Beam 7, was responsible for the collapse last November that claimed the lives of two people and injured a further 29.

Pretorius was being cross-examined by advocate Saleem Khan, the legal representative for Gralio Precast (Pty) Ltd – the contractor building the mall.

Based on his observations of the mall structure, he would have used larger columns for support.

Pretorius was tasked by Andre Ballack, design engineer for the mall, to investigate the cause of the collapse.

Khan accused Pretorius of evading questions to protect Ballack.

Construction of the ill-fated mall continued despite repeated attempts by the eThekwini metro municipality to stop the building.

The municipality had also not approved the architect’s plans for the mall.

The inquiry will continue on September 18.

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