Tel Aviv Parking Structure Was Not Strong Enough, Expert Says


Rescue teams at the scene of the collapsed parking facility in Tel Aviv were pessimistic Wednesday, saying the chances of finding survivors under the rubble after more than 48 hours were diminishing rapidly.

Four people were killed and 23 others were wounded Monday when the four-story parking facility under construction in the north Tel Aviv neighborhood of Ramat Hahayal collapsed. Three people are still missing.

Some 250 Homefront Command soldiers, assisted by the military’s Oketz canine unit, and numerous police and emergency services personnel continued the frantic rescue effort Wednesday.

“This is a race against time, but we won’t give up until everyone is accounted for,” Homefront Command Col. Golan Vach told Israel Hayom.

Large and small excavation machines were deployed to the site once rescue teams made their way to the bottom of the rubble.

The structure had been intended to house up to 600 vehicles, and was scheduled to open to the public in October.

The collapse of the garage was a rare event in Israel that will be taught in the civil engineering and architecture faculties, Haaretz  reports. The last time a building collapsed because of a planning failure was the 2001 Versailles banquet hall tragedy in Yerushalayim, when the building was in use. In this case the building collapsed before it was opened, an incident that old timers in the building industry have a hard time matching in their memory.

Building engineer Rosa Frances, a lecturer at the Technion’s faculty of architecture and town planning, said about the lot, “The thickness of the ceiling according to the drawings is 25 centimeters,” calling that dimension “a bit borderline.” She added, “My fear is that there is an insufficiently strong connection between the pillars and the ceilings. The point that connects between the pillars and the ceiling is one of the places most known for failure. In fact, the construction [failure] that took place here is penetration,” meaning the pillars penetrated the ceiling, instead of the entire building collapsing. It could be that all the railings were in the plans, but someone was negligent in implementation or that the developer didn’t put in the necessary reinforcement… It is likely that the raft sunk into the ground and started a process of sinking that sped up the cave-in.”

The parking garage’s building architect was Dagan Mushli. The building engineer who planned the garage’s skeleton is Hanoch Zahar.

JNS.ORG / Israel