September 11, 2013
Calgary debris incident investigated
The City of Calgary is investigating safety issues at a highrise construction site in downtown Calgary, after building materials fell more than 30 floors to the ground.
“There were more than 10 pieces of 2 inch by 2 inch angle iron about 10 feet long,” said Marco Civitarese, chief building inspector with the City of Calgary.
“They were hoisting the material to the 41st floor, when several components fell within the perimeter of the work area and some outside.”
The incident happened on Sept. 4 at Eighth Avenue Place, which is a high-rise tower under construction in downtown Calgary at Fifth Street and Eighth Avenue S.W.
There were no injuries.
“It was a hoisting incident that went wrong,” said Civitarese.
“This was not a wind related event, but our investigation will still need to confirm this.”
The City of Calgary received numerous calls from the public and a safety response unit with two officers was sent to the site on Sept. 4 and Sept. 5.
“There is still a stop work order on the site,” said Civitarese.
“The investigation is ongoing and we are still collecting witness statements.”
Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) spokesperson Brookes Merritt sent an officer to the scene of the incident, but since there were no injuries, a formal investigation was not undertaken.
However, OHS will provide any help that is needed to make sure adequate safety precautions are in place.
Calgary is prone to gusty summer windstorms and there have been a number of past incidents involving debris falling from downtown construction sites.
The most serious incident involved the death of toddler Michelle Krsek, 3, who was killed in August 2009 at the Le Germain highrise project in Calgary when a 500 pound bundle of sheet metal blew off the 22nd floor.
As a result, the local construction industry formed a committee to study improved safety options.
One of the committee’s first actions was to explore the feasibility of engaging a vendor to provide an early warning weather system.
The City of Calgary put out a request for proposals to develop a high-tech early warning system to monitor major weather patterns.
The system was designed to alert construction companies, so they can secure or remove building materials and equipment.
The winning response came from Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc., an engineering consulting firm. RWDI was awarded a $240,000 contract for the first phase of the project, which involved software development and the use of the system for one year.
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