View Full Version : Latvian supermarket and government collapse

27th Nov 2013, 11:53
BBC News - Latvian government falls over Riga supermarket disaster (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25120936)

Is this a world first?
The Latvian PM has resigned,thus triggering the collapse of the Government, taking "political responsibility" for the disaster.
This being a rumour network, in my opinion he knows full well that the collapse is due to dodgy building practices which are not being enforced by a corrupt building standards department. Furthermore, the current political set-up is too much under the control of big business to make effective changes.

Whilst I'm at it (answering my own question), take a look at what's happening in the catholic church at the moment. Did the last Pope resign for basically the same reason, i.e. to break the control of the Vatican 'elite'? Someone suggested on the Pope resigns thread that this was the case, and the latest suggestions by Pope Francis to decentralise the church seem to indicate that this is so.

27th Nov 2013, 12:58
Extraordinary that any politician would take 'responsibility'.

As for Pope Francis I do worry for him and his on-going well being in the Byzantine nest of vipers that is the Vatican...

BBC News - Pope Francis calls for power to move away from Vatican (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25102720)

A freak mitre accident might intrude perhaps...


27th Nov 2013, 13:56
I read somewhere that the last 'ok' to the blueprints and plans would have had to come from the municipality officials (some regularoty construction board or something) - so maybe that's the link to the government. Could be.

27th Nov 2013, 14:04
Substandard construction materials and corruption are other possible lines of inquiry.You could also add the stupidity of covering the flat roof in hundreds of tons of earth and gravel to create the garden.

Reminds me of this similar man made calamity.

Sampoong Department Store collapse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampoong_Department_Store_collapse)

27th Nov 2013, 15:09
Structural experts have suggested that the supermarket building itself may have been badly designed and so not able to support a garden that was being built on the roof.
After analysing photos, videos and eyewitness reports, one structural engineer suggested there had been numerous design flaws in the roof's supporting beams - including not enough bolts.

If this "design errors" scenario is in fact the main cause of the disaster, it directs attention immediately to the critically important subject of the Latvian national regulations regarding design checking procedures. Many countries worldwide have introduced strict guidelines for carrying out full checks of the structural calculations and drawings submitted to the relevant building control authorities. For large projects, these checks are often specified to be carried out by experienced structural engineering firms, totally independent of the original designers.

The setting up of such effective measures to safeguard the public is a clear responsibility of politicians. It seems possible that creating and enforcing such a system has not been done in Latvia, which might explain why their PM has precipitated the political crisis over this tragedy. The fact that their President has called for "foreign experts" to be called in to investigate, may indicate that he is aware of national regulation shortcomings, and does not consider their own construction profession capable of the required degree of open, independent investigatory skills.

27th Nov 2013, 15:40
... he is generally well respected. [...] With his unflashy, down-to-earth
style Prime Minister Dombrovskis is seen as an honest and principled

Sounds like he was wasted in Latvia. We need him here in Canada - urgently.

27th Nov 2013, 16:38
Several decades ago, a civil-engineering acquaintance had consultant jobs in several 'iron curtain' countries. The rationale was as follows.
He was required to sign off the final design of major buildings as,
1. It was expected that he would be less-susceptible (sp?) to bribery or political coercion than local engineers, but also...
2. (because manslaughter charges would ensue if the building subsequently collapsed) it was advantageous to all concerned in the design/build that they didn't have the final ok in their power. Meanwhile he would be safely home and out of reach in Oz.

He claimed to do quite well out of this arrangement.

27th Nov 2013, 16:52
......a similar approach was taken by the Italians when they set out to straighten up the tower in Pisa. No Italian engineer/project manager wanted to be anywhere near the project if it didn't work out well. "who would want to be the Italian who brought down the tower of Pisa? No grazie!"

So they brought in an Englishman - and it worked!

The Ancient Mariner

27th Nov 2013, 18:26
So they brought in an Englishman - and it worked!

Of course it did, because the Italians had the very good fortune to have asked the right Englishman! Over many years as a professional engineer, I was very pleased when designing structural foundations in dodgy ground conditions, to refer to numerous technical papers published by Professor John Burland. His clear guidance on how to do it right was invaluable to me, and very many others.

I attended a lecture by Prof Burland on how he had helped save the Leaning Tower of Pisa from collapse, at the Institution of Civil Engineers. It was a very full house indeed, reflecting the great esteem in which he is held in the profession. It was great when a British engineer was able to show the world exactly what to do, after many decades of abortive attempts by individuals, committees and international teams to stop the slow, inexorable tilt of that famous structure.

wings folded
27th Nov 2013, 20:05
The straight tower of Pisa would hold less appeal, I imagine.