Concerns for Rio’s infrastructure following building collapse

Published: 01/02/2012

The collapse of three buildings in the centre of Rio de Janeiro last week, killing 17 people and leaving at least five missing, has raised concerns about the city’s infrastructure as it prepares for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

The three buildings – of 20, 10 and four storeys – collapsed on Wednesday 25 January at 20:30 local time behind the city’s 100-year-old Municipal Theatre.   

On Thursday officials ruled out that a gas explosion, originally suspected, caused the collapse.

Engineers, on site after the event, have since confirmed that work was being carried out on the 20 storey structure which was not authorized by the Rio building commission.

The building work underway, with no approval from city regulators, on the third and ninth floors could have caused it to collapse and brought the adjacent buildings down.

Brazil is currently in the midst of major construction and renovation works on 12 stadiums for the World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Olympics.

But recent events have cast doubts on whether their infrastructure is equipped to deal with the masses of sports fans expected to attend the events.

The Institution of Structural Engineers was contacted by the Brazilian television network RedeTV for information on UK building regulations.

Sarah Fray, Director of Engineering and Technical Services provided an interview on Friday 27 January

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