Curtin University is a public university located in Perth, Western Australia. The roof of a 5-story building that was under construction collapsed on October 15, 2020, at around 1:00 p.m. local time.
The structure is being under construction since 2019. It is part of the Exchange Project and is situated near the university's medical school. The project includes stores, a hotel and a student dormitory facility and is planned to be completed by 2022.
The building had been inspected by WorkSafe (Western Australia) three times before the incident. The last inspection was conducted in June 2020 after a concrete piece fell from a truck without causing any injuries.
According to officials, 2 construction workers, both very young (in their 20s), were at the top of the glass roof when it suddenly gave way. Both of them fell more than 20 meters above the ground. Unfortunately, one of them has been reported dead while the other suffered critical injuries and was hospitalized. Another man was inside the structure and was also injured after being hit by the rubble.
There were around 100 laborers working on the building at the time of the collapse. No additional victims were found and all of them were advised to go home. Curtin University stated that no students or staff of the facility have been affected by the incident.
The causes of the failure have not been identified yet but a detailed investigation is going to be conducted. According to Mick Buchan, the State Secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, this is a humiliating and despicable incident and those responsible should be found. "We are not going to leave any rock unturned to get to the outcome of what has happened. There is going to be a lot of explaining to do. When you hear of a young worker that's died on the job, just starting his career in construction, what message does that send? It's an absolute disgrace. Someone has to be accountable and made responsible for this," Mr. Buchan, stated.
Damian Clancy, an Electrical Trades Union official, expressed his disappointment in the tragic incident. "It's 2020, these events should not occur in the building and construction industry. Another young worker has lost his life here today," he said. Mr. Clancy also claimed that workers on site have already expressed concerns over the stability of the structure and, thus, it was "an accident waiting to happen".
WorkSafe is currently investigating the circumstances under which the roof collapsed but according to Commissioner Darren Kavanagh, the results will not be made public for about 3 years. The agency is currently involved in assessing the damage and safely removing the debris from the site. A UAV was utilized to evaluate the entire spectrum of the affected area.
Image from the roof collapse at Curtin's University building.