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Roofs Collapse As Political Questions Fly

Published fredag 5 februari 2010 kl 13.25
Roof collapse at a tennis hall near Stockholm.

A roof on a middle school in the city of Forsa in northern Sweden has collapsed, adding another incident to the long list of buildings whose roofs have buckled under the weight of recent snowstorms. Teachers discovered the collapse of the outer roof before classes had begun, and everyone escaped without injury.

The roof was not old, however—it was built in 2001. The roofs of sports halls and even a riding school have been buckling throughout the country in the last week, leading some to question the construction standards of such buildings.

But Nikolaj Tolstoy, head of the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, told Swedish Television that it is the responsibility of property owners to keep their roofs clear of the heavy snow.

“Professional property owners with large maintenance budgets have a way of taking care of it. It can be harder for riding schools and such, where organizations take care of [maintenance].”

“But one has to think through how to take care of these things. Oversight is needed.”

Meanwhile, the opposition has called on the sitting government to explain how resources are distributed to deal with plowing snow and keeping public transportation moving.

Sven-Erik Österberg, the Social Democrats’ group leader, thinks the winter conditions have the potential to become an election issue.

“Missed snow clearances are something that really angers voters. We can see that preparedness hasn’t been that good this year either.”

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