Tongaat Mall Building Collapse and Inquiry

LazyLion

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CONTRACTOR TO TESTIFY IN TONGAAT PROBE

The chief executive of Gralio Precast, Jay Singh, is expected to testify at the commission of inquiry into the 2013 Tongaat mall collapse on Monday.

Gralio Precast is the developing company behind the construction of the mall.

The commission of inquiry was appointed following the structural collapse of the mall on November 19 2013, which claimed the lives of two people and injured 29 others.

In December Tongaat Mall engineer Dr Andre Ballack dismissed suggestions that he was "grossly negligent" by allowing deviations from his drawings

Ballack argued that he had no reason to doubt the integrity of the contractor, Singh, who assured him that the project was proceeding as per specifications until the fatal day.

He has testified that Singh failed on several occasions to furnish him with test cube results to determine the strength of the concrete.

Ballack told the commission that he relied on the contractor's word to authorise the stripping.

The inquiry was expected to complete its work in the first quarter of 2015.


Source : Sapa /mjs
Date : 02 Mar 2015 02:00
 

LazyLion

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ENGINEER NEVER SAID ANYTHING WAS WRONG: SINGH

The design engineer of the collapsed Tongaat Mall never raised any concerns during its construction, the commission of inquiry investigating the collapse heard on Monday.

"I was under the impression that everything was in order," controversial Durban businessman Jay Singh told the commission.

Singh owns Gralio Precast (Pty) Ltd, the company that was building the mall when a large section collapsed on November 19, 2013, killing two people and injuring 29.

Singh denied that engineer Andre Ballack had asked him for test cube results to determine the strength of the concrete being used to build the mall.

Ballack testified during his cross-examination last year that Singh failed on several occasions to furnish him with test cube results to determine the strength of the concrete.

The inquiry has previously heard that concrete at several locations on the ill-fated mall did not meet the required strength and several steel bars were missing.

Singh said he had been in the construction business since he was 14 years old, when he worked with his father.

He said 75 percent of his work since he had his own business from 1986 had been government contracts.

This included building 70 schools and 28,000 houses.

He had trusted his foreman Ronnie Pillay who had been in charge of the site and there had been 380 calls between Pillay and Ballack.

Singh said he had raised some concerns with Ballack regarding the building, but Ballack had reassured him that all was in order.

He said he had parked his van and had a braai with contractors on the section of the mall that collapsed.

"I wouldn't park my van there if I knew I had done something wrong."

He said that on one occasion he had even parked there with his small son.

"We were doing everything to the engineer's design," said Singh.


Source : Sapa /js/jk/jje/lp
Date : 02 Mar 2015 12:04
 

ToxicBunny

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This is turning into a soap opera.

I would assume Andre Ballack has email records of this requests for certain test cubes etc etc.

Site foreman would be following the design specifications unless explicitly told to deviate from higher up the chain.

Jay Singh, my son, you are a cretin and a murderer and deserve to rot in a tiny little jail cell.
 

Kosmik

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Anyone who has been part of a large construction knows that there are minutes for the regular site meetings. These issues should have been raised and recorded, if not, they are all grossly negligent.
 

LazyLion

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CONTRACTOR BROKE LAW SINCE 2003: DEPT

The contractor building the Tongaat Mall in KwaZulu-Natal admitted on Tuesday that since 2003 he had not registered a single building site with the labour department.

Controversial Durban businessman Jay Singh made the admission when he was questioned by the department's occupational health and safety manager Phumudzo Maphaha, who is chairing a commission of inquiry into the mall's collapse on November 19, 2013.

Singh owns Gralio Precast (Pty) Ltd, which was building the mall when it collapsed, killing two people and injuring 29. The commission is probing the collapse.

Maphaha pointed out that by law, when a contractor starts a construction project the provincial labour department has to be informed. The department had not been informed of the Tongaat Mall. This law had existed since 2003.

Singh said he was not aware of his legal obligation to inform the department.

"From 2003, all the projects you have been doing have contravened the regulations," said Maphaha.

The commission previously heard that the architect's plans for the mall had not been approved by the eThekwini municipality and that it had issued an order for work on the site to cease.


Source : Sapa /js/jk/th
Date : 03 Mar 2015 11:42
 

ToxicBunny

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Ignorance of the law is not an excuse Jay my boy.... Be prepared to be reamed by the Dept of Labour
 

dlk001

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KwaZulu-Natal provincial spokesman Nhlanhla Khumalo said Dr Andre Ballack argued that he had no reason to doubt the integrity of the contractor, who assured him that the project was proceeding as per specifications until the fatal day.

Ballack testified during his cross-examination that the contractor, Jay Singh, the owner of Gralio Precast, failed on several occasions to furnish him with test cube results to determine the strength of the concrete.

He told the commission that he relied on the contractor's word to authorise the stripping.
If this is true, it is an error on the Engineer's side.
 

furpile

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If this is true, it is an error on the Engineer's side.
I agree. If the engineer asks for test samples and doesn't get them, and then lets the work carry on because the contractor told him everything's fine, he is negligent. The contractor is probably just as guilty as well, but at the end of the day, that is the reason the engineer has to sign off on these things.
 

LazyLion

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TONGAAT MALL BOSS QUESTIONED

Verbal agreements, incompetent and unqualified staff, a lack of documentation, and a failure to abide by the law all plagued the construction of the Tongaat Mall, a commission of inquiry heard on Tuesday.

This emerged from questioning of controversial Durban businessman Jay Singh by labour department occupational health and safety manager Phumudzo Maphaha, who chairs the inquiry into the mall's collapse on November 19, 2013, that killed two people and injured 29.

Singh, who owns Gralio Precast (Pty) Ltd which was building the mall, admitted that since 2003 he had never registered a single building site with the labour department, as required by law.

Maphaha pointed out that by law, when a contractor starts a construction project the provincial labour department has to be informed. The department was not informed of the Tongaat Mall. The law had existed since 2003.

Singh said he was not aware that he was legally obliged to inform the department.

"From 2003 all the projects you have been doing have contravened the regulations," said Maphaha.

Maphaha pointed out to Singh that after more than a year the commission had not been supplied with a safety risk assessment. He had also not received the health and safety specifications needed before construction could start.

Singh admitted he had not seen the documentation. He admitted he was not aware of health and safety documents being given to sub-contractors.

"I would like to see the documents. I have requested it from day one and I do not have it," said Maphaha.

He pointed out that unless authority was delegated, the main contractor's chief executive was responsible for ensuring that everyone carried out their duties.

Maphaha said several people had been appointed to various positions on the site only in August 2013. Work at the site started six months earlier and there was no documentation for their appointment. Singh argued they had been appointed.

"What it means effectively is that we don't have any legal appointment for this site," Maphaha said.

"By not appointing these people, as chief executive, don't you think you have failed in executing your duties?"

Maphaha pointed out to Singh that none of the people he had appointed, including site foreman Ronnie Pillay, had formal qualifications.

Maphaha questioned how Pillay could have been appointed scaffolding, welding, and labour inspectors all at the same time, in August 2013, despite having no qualifications.

He asked why a bricklayer was responsible for the machinery on the site.

It emerged that many people and sub-contractors were appointed without any written contract or formal letter of appointment.

"The challenge we are having here, Mr Singh, is that you are having a lot of verbal agreements. We have nothing in writing."

Maphaha asked Singh why his employees had failed to place 19 steel bars in a concrete beam referred to as beam seven. An on-site inspection the commission did last year revealed that the beam only had seven steel bars, when design engineer Andre Ballack had specified there should be 19.

He questioned whether Singh and Pillay could read the engineer's drawings.

"Here you have people on site who you deem to be competent, but they can't do what the engineer specifies?" Maphaha asked.

Singh said he believed Pillay and Ballack were responsible for ensuring the steel was correctly placed.

"He [Ballack] was responsible for the steel," said Singh.

"No, you are responsible. You are the contractor," Maphaha retorted.

Singh admitted he had also never seen any concrete strength test results and did not know the strength of the concrete used on the site.

Maphaha asked why Singh paid for concrete testing for eight months without ever looking at the results. The collapse happened eight months after construction started.


Source : Sapa /js/fg/lp/jk/th
Date : 03 Mar 2015 14:11
 

LazyLion

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I hope they lock this guy up for a loooong time.
But being buddies with Zuma, I'm not holding my breath.
 

furpile

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Another point, I hope they question somebody from the municipality as well. If you see someone building a mall and the building has not been registered surely the municipality should intervene? I remember right after the incident there were reports on the radio that said the municipality ordered them to stop building before the collapse, and they just carried on. Nobody made sure that they stopped building. So many people not doing there jobs here.
 

ToxicBunny

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Another point, I hope they question somebody from the municipality as well. If you see someone building a mall and the building has not been registered surely the municipality should intervene? I remember right after the incident there were reports on the radio that said the municipality ordered them to stop building before the collapse, and they just carried on. Nobody made sure that they stopped building. So many people not doing there jobs here.
They did intervene..

They went to court etc etc etc.. Jay the murdering fscktard just ignored them and continued on.
 
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LazyLion

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Change the charges to culpable homicide and send him away for many years.
 

ToxicBunny

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I wouldn't go as light as culpable homicide to be honest...
What he did to those workers was outright murder as far as I'm concerned.
 

LazyLion

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I wouldn't go as light as culpable homicide to be honest...
What he did to those workers was outright murder as far as I'm concerned.
I agree.... but we all know how good the NPA is at prosecuting those cases.... :erm:
 

dlk001

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I agree. If the engineer asks for test samples and doesn't get them, and then lets the work carry on because the contractor told him everything's fine, he is negligent. The contractor is probably just as guilty as well, but at the end of the day, that is the reason the engineer has to sign off on these things.
I'm shocked at this Engineer's professional conduct. This guy is a reputable Structural Engineer with a PhD. Maybe he was busy with other jobs and trusted contractor too much. His job is to ensure adherence to design.
 

Mila

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I'm shocked at this Engineer's professional conduct. This guy is a reputable Structural Engineer with a PhD. Maybe he was busy with other jobs and trusted contractor too much. His job is to ensure adherence to design.
Iirc the engineer might go to jail for this? Don't you sign personal liability on projects as an engineer for something like 10 years?

I know Mr Mila's personal liability stopped a few years ago for the hydraulics on the bridges used when you get onto a airplane. Does this apply on buildings?
 
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