Questions surround stability of B.C. Place roof

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER - The roof of Vancouver’s Olympic stadium worsened in less than a year, according to inspection reports obtained by 24 hours.

FabriTec Structures’ service manager Larry Keene reported on June 12, 2009, that B.C. Place Stadium’s air-supported fabric roof membrane, sectionalizing, perimeter/ring/cone clamping, and cables/hardware/anchorage were in “fair” condition. No grade was given to related structural steel components.

His Aug. 15, 2008, inspection, however, rated the six key items “good." Both reports labelled the liner of the 27-year-old roof “poor” and included the footnote “very dirty."

Keene wrote in a July 24, 2009, covering letter that “the outer fabric appears to be structurally sound. However, the fabric is starting to show its age, without removing some fabric test panels there is no way to really determine the remaining strength of the fabric."

“I would assume this is an expense no one is looking to incur given the remaining timeline of the roof,” he wrote.

Contacted on Thursday, Keene declined to comment. He hung up the phone after he was asked if a proposed pre-Olympic inspection occurred. The Games’ opening ceremony is on Feb. 12.

Stadium management didn't respond to an interview request, but International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge dismissed worries during a teleconference.

“We know of course about the two incidents that affected the roof. Our teams have worked very closely with VANOC and we have received all the assurances that the roof will not leak or blow away,” he said.

The roof ripped and collapsed under snow on Jan. 5, 2007. An unattended roof panel inverted during a Jan. 14 rainstorm and water flooded into the stadium like a waterfall.

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