Fatal collapse mall to rise again

by Media Xpose

By Report by the North Coast Courier

Construction is to resume at the uThongathi Mall which has been closed since 2013 after a partial collapse killed two people and injured 29.

Several snags over the years saw the mall change ownership, while construction was also disrupted by legal issues.

In October, BBB Properties won a legal battle lasting eight months after the former building contractor refused to evacuate the site in the Tongaat CBD, which was cancelled a year earlier by the mall owners.

But construction was to  start in January 2022, with an estimated completion date of around November.

BBB Properties and uThongathi Mall co-owner, Emarie Botha, said about 400 construction jobs and another 400 retail-related jobs once the mall opens will be created.

Checkers, Ackerman’s, Pep and banks such as ABSA, FNB and Capitec will be among the anchor tenants.

Why did the original mall collapse?

The incident occurred when a reinforced concrete structure collapsed during the construction of a section of the mall.

A subsequent report by leading  construction industry academics at the Nelson Mandela University pointed to glaring problems in a predominant paradigm in the building industry:  “…  it is notable that the traditional three project parameters, namely quality, cost, and time are perceived to be more important than H&S. However, quality management is critical in terms of assuring the structural integrity of permanent and temporary structures.

“Conclusions include that competencies, design, registration of built environment professionals, hazard identification and risk assessments (HIRAs), supervision, quality management, H&S management, risk management, planning and H&S planning in various forms, integration of design and construction, and the construction work permit, are all important as clusters of factors, or individually, relative to preventing the collapse of RC structures during construction.

“Respect for people is the catalyst for the value ‘people are our most important resource’. However, poor welfare facilities on site, among others, are not a manifestation of respect for people. This value is critical as it is the catalyst for H&S culture. It must be remembered that supervisors and workers that are exposed to hazards and risk are people that have a body, mind, and a soul” – Professor John Smallwood, NMU.

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