A roof panel caved in at Manchester’s Victoria Station injuring several people.
The new 15,000 square metre roof is made up of around 400 translucent, plastic panels to allow light into the station concourse. The panels, made of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, are used regularly in construction projects due to being light, yet strong. The same material was used to make the domes at Cornwall’s Eden Project.
However, a roof panel gave way earlier this week when it could no longer support the mass of rain water that had built up airing a heavy downpour. The panel tore above platforms 1 and 2, releasing gallons of water onto commuters below.
2 people were knocked to the ground and suffered minor head injuries, whilst around 30 others received a good drenching.
The roof, which was part of a £44m upgrade last year, was designed by architects BDP who have won awards for their work, including the Piccadilly Station refurbishment. BDP designed each of the 400 panels to be unique, using the latest modelling technology to create one of the biggest structures of its kind in the country.
Contractors from Northern Rail have secured the damaged roof panels and cordoned off the area below to ensure that no other passengers are at risk from a repeat of the incident.
Mr Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, said: “Either this was caused by a failure in the design, a failure in the construction or a failure in the manufacturing, but either way millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money was spent on this roof and this collapse isn’t good enough.
“An immediate investigation is needed to establish how this could have happened months after so much public money was invested upgrading the station.”
It remains unclear whether the cause of the crack was down to a flaw in the material or design – or whether it was constructed incorrectly. The most popular theory according to the M.E.N is that it was caused by seagulls pecking at the roof, weakening the panels. The reason they were pecking? They were drawn to the smell of McDonalds via a nearby ventilation unit.
The investigation continues.