Poor bracing cause of field house collapse
Foothills: Opening pushed back from fall to end of 2013
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 06:00 am
Poor bracing of steel frames was the cause of the collapse of the new regional field house under construction near Aldersyde.
The first sections of steel framing at the Foothills-Okotoks field house collapsed on Dec. 20. A forensic engineering report determined the collapse of the partially installed structure was due to inadequate and underestimated temporary bracing, according to a joint press release from the MD of Foothills and Town of Okotoks on Jan. 16.
The frames collapsed after being hit by hard winds the morning of Dec. 20. No one was injured. The temporary bracing is used to hold up the structure during construction.
The collapse has resulted in the opening of the field house being pushed back from the fall of 2013 to at least the end of the year — which means one of its user groups will have to limit its registration.
Tim Criddle, spokesperson for the Okotoks Minor Soccer Association, said the delay will mean it will once again have to cap registration for the indoor soccer season in the fall of 2013.
“We have been functioning without a field house from Day 1, so it’s not going to be a radical departure for us,” Criddle said. “We had planned to move into that facility to schedule games, tech training and practices by approximately October and that would have very nicely coincided with the beginning of our 2013-14 indoor school season.”
He said because the field house won’t be completed until what he speculates to be early 2014, the association, like other user groups, are limited because of a lack of gym space in Okotoks.
“I have nothing but admiration for every fitness related user-group that is trying to get into gym space in our community — we’re all trying to get kids active in sport,” Criddle said. “The one thing the we continue to deal with is there is not enough gyms in town to accommodate all user groups.”
Criddle added the association has to put a cap on registration because of a lack of gym space.
“We are severely hamstrung and limited by this lack of facilities to grow our program,” Criddle said. “We could take in more registration of young people than we do now, but we have to put an artificial cap on it (for the indoor season).”
The association will have a cap on registration because the field house will open midway through the 2013-14 season.
Further frustrating the situation is the fact the new gymnasium at Westmount School hasn’t been approved for community use as of yet, he said.
However, Drew Chipman, Foothills School Division associate superintendent-corporate services, said the Westmount gym could be open for community use by the end of the month.
Criddle stressed the association will cope for the 2013-14 season adding every member was most grateful no one was hurt in the collapse.
“That would have been a different pall on the situation,” he said.
Ryan Payne, of community services for the MD of Foothills, said neither municipality will have to pay anything extra for the field house because the contractor, Scott Builders Inc., was insured.
The project’s building budget is $16.25 million and the cost is being split equally between the Town of Okotoks and the MD of Foothills. As well, there is a fundraising committee comprised of representatives from various user groups and citizens at large.
The field house project includes three playing fields, which can be used for indoor soccer and lacrosse, a court area for basketball and volleyball, a training area with locker and team rooms, a running track and administrative and other offices.
Payne added he did not anticipate any kind of late fines being issued to Scott Builders as a result of the accident.
“They are doing their best to keep things on track,” Payne said. “They have indicated a two-and-a-half month delay, but they will be working extra hours in the summer to make up for it the best they can.”
Payne said Scott Builders was selected through a design-build procurement process by the Town and the MD in which there were 12 submissions which met the requirements.
The list was whittled down to two bids before Scott Builders was selected.
“Scott Builders was chosen overall,” Payne said. “It was a comprehensive package that was submitted. It was really value for money.”
Payne said there was never any consideration of replacing Scott Builders after the collapse.
Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson said the collapse has resulted in a minor delay and he is most grateful no one was injured or killed in the collapse.
“They have started the salvage, the field has been ordered and I am optimistic that the delay will not be too long — we’ve been told about two and a half months,’” Robertson said.
“The number one thing is no one was injured or killed. Had someone been in the middle of that structure when it went down we would be talking a different story right now.”
He echoed Payne in saying he is confident Scott Builders will have the facility completed in an appropriate time.
Scott Rutherford, president of Scott Builders Inc, said in a press release the contractor will have extra staff — at its cost — working additional shifts to get the project back up to speed.
Work on the structure began in the fall of 2012.
Occupational Health and Safety Lisa Glover, an OHS spokeswoman, the incident is still under investigation.
She could not give a date as to when the report will be completed.
She could not comment on any details of the report until it has been completed.