AP was shown initial results of some of the inspections of about 200 buildings – many of them garment factories – on condition the factories not be identified. The owners volunteered their buildings for inspection – even paying for the surveys – a decision that suggests they are among the more safety conscious in the industry. The remainder of the country’s 4,000 garment factories could be worse, said Rahman.
While initial inspections showed that many of the factories appeared safe, some had problems so serious that engineers recommended they be immediately shut down. Others were told to seal off the illegal floors at the tops of their buildings and gingerly remove the heavy equipment stored there.
“There were buildings that we found that were really critical and we asked them to immediately vacate those buildings,” Rahman said.
The engineers found that huge numbers of the factories were housed in commercial or residential buildings not designed to withstand the vibrations and heavy loads of industrial use, Rahman said. Machinery vibrations were blamed as one of the causes along with additional illegal floors as the cause of the Rana collapse.
Most of the examined buildings did not have structural tests dating back to their construction, and it was “very rare” that an engineer supervised construction, Rahman said.
They found a building approved for only six stories that had been expanded to 10. Support columns that were supposed to have five steel bars inside them had only two. Other columns were too small to support the structures. Some of the buildings had structural cracks that threatened their integrity.
In one report, the engineers found structural cracks on two columns and a heavy power generator located on the roof, where its vibrations could threaten the building’s integrity. They recommended sealing all the floors above the ground floor pending a more thorough assessment. Rahman said he told the owners it would be safer just to demolish the building and start over.<< previous 1 2 3 4 5 next >>