October 15, 2012
Contractor convicted in collapse
A Calgary contractor has been convicted in Alberta provincial court for causing the partial collapse of a roof that was under construction at a seniors care facility.
“This is a very serious case and we are very fortunate that the kitchen staff acted quickly for the safety of residents,” said Kevin Griffiths, manager of building regulations and chief building official at the City of Calgary.
“We will continue to prosecute such cases to send a clear message that construction site safety in Calgary must be taken seriously.”
Canterbury Roofing Ltd. was recently hit with a $15,000 fine by Judge Mason of the Provincial Court of Alberta for creating an unsafe condition.
The judge imposed the maximum penalty allowed for a first offence under the Safety Codes Act.
Construction work at Clifton Manor began on April 13, 2011, when Canterbury Roofing Ltd. hired a subcontractor, Stampede Crane and Rigging, to place pallets of roofing materials onto the roof of the facility.
At about 1 p.m., when the kitchen staff was serving lunch to about 15 elderly residents, a pallet measuring 44 inches by 52 inches and weighing about 2,700 lbs crashed through the roof of the cafeteria.
No one was injured as a result of the collapse, as the kitchen staff moved the seniors quickly out of the room.
The staff was alerted to the roof collapsing by a cracking sound, which they attributed to the wooden deck giving way.
Most of the residents were confined to wheelchair and some of them suffered minor scrapes and bumps in the scuffle to get out.
As the prime contractor, Canterbury failed to take the steps necessary to determine whether or not the roof of Clifton Manor could sustain the weight of the roofing materials.
More importantly, the company failed to ensure the residents of Clifton Manor would be safe as a result of its construction activities.
The City of Calgary sought the maximum fine because of the severity of the incident and the risk which the roof collapse posed to residents.
The collapse triggered the sprinkler system, so the whole building got wet.
However, no residents were displaced due to the collapse.
As a precautionary measure, the Calgary Fire Department removed all workers, materials and equipment from the compromised roof.
The Heavy Rescue Technical Team shored up and secured the damaged area of the building in anticipation of a pending storm.
Occupational Health and Safety issued a stop work order, which was lifted on April 18, after the site owner provided an engineering report.
This was necessary, so remedial work on the building could continue.
In addition, repairs needed to be done on all the buildings services in the ceiling, including electrical, mechanical, sprinkler, heating and venting.
Clifton Manor provides long-term housing, nursing and therapeutic care for about 250 elderly residents with limited cognitive capacity and mobility.
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