Govt seeks answers to roof collapse

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson is going to Invercargill to find out why the roof of the $10 million Stadium Southland collapsed under the weight of snow on Saturday.

Prime Minister John Key said Cabinet had discussed the roof collapse today and decided it needed to know what had happened.

"This is actually a modern building that has collapsed under a very small amount of snow relevant to what the Building Code indicates it should be able to withstand," he said at his post-Cabinet press conference.

"So something has gone seriously wrong there and I think we need to understand that a little bit better."

Mr Key said he was going to suggest to Mr Williamson he should take a trip to Invercargill tomorrow.

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt said today he was going to launch an investigation into the roof collapse.

A group of tennis players were inside the stadium at the time but were not injured.

Mr Shadbolt said there had been concerns about its structural soundness since it was built 10 years ago and the city council wanted to find out whether correct procedures had been followed.

Questions had been raised about whether the roof was too flat, but it had been cleared when it was built, he said.

"It was fully engineered, there were peer reviews of the engineering work that was done on the stadium, and they were 100% confident in the structure," he said.

Stadium general manager Nigel Skelt said an unusually large dump of snow had caused the collapse.

Former Invercargill Licensing Trust chairman Ray Harper, who was involved with the building 10 years ago, said the collapse was a "freak circumstance" and there was nothing wrong with the stadium's construction.

"Never in my life, in 80 years, have I seen Invercargill with so much snow," the master builder said.






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