The reason I’m rehashing all this stuff about the Gardiner, the reason I raise it for a second time, is because of what’s going on with the Elliot Lake inquiry. The structural steel findings, I believe, are certainly worse, but potentially not entirely dissimilar to what will be found after someone is badly hurt by falling debris from the Expressway (best case scenario). The Elliot Lake mall collapse was horrifying. It put into question all structures, how we blindly trust they are well designed, engineered, built, and with the appropriate materials. After all, this isn’t something that most of us have a say in – we have to trust our experts, that they know what they’re doing, that they won’t cheap out to save a few bucks. In the case of the Elliot Lake mall, the reason the steel rusted to the point of ‘steel corrosion found in marine environments’ was due to a failed slab roof and waterproofing system. The inquiry has since exposed the designer, supplier and installer of the hollow core slabs (HCS roofing system) for intentionally not advising the owner of potential pre-known inadequacies with the build. Apparently the deficiencies with the roofing system rendered the waterproofing useless. The Forensic Engineering report (now published here) further states that “the fact the roof was allowed to leak for thirty two years is perplexing”. Yup. Seems every safety measure we have come to rely so heavily on in the construction industry failed in this case.
Thankfully, it’s likely that what happened at this mall is an anomaly. There is also far too much scrutiny on the Gardiner for something this drastic to occur, right? But it should at the very least be annoying to us Torontonians that extra maintenance and closures are necessary to ensure the whole thing doesn’t come crashing down. The fact is, we didn’t use the right material. The City cheaped out. Hey, we endure Canadian winters every year, and so does our steel.
Happy Spring everyone.