Outdated codes caused collapse

24 April 2008

Use of Outdated Snow loading design codes may have been a contributing factor to the collapse of an exhibition hall in Katowice, Poland at the end of January. The 100000 m2 steel framed building is reported to have had more than 500 mm of compacted snow and ice on its roof when it collapsed, killing 66 people.

The seven year old structure was built in line with local codes, which call for buildings to withstand up to 800 mm of normal snow.

However, recent studies of Polish snowfall records over the last 50 years suggest that designers should allow for snow loadings up to +70% higher than standard.

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