Collapsing Roofs "Unacceptable"

A newly-built arena in Vänersborg. An exhibition hall in Bjärnum. A pig stall in Nässjö. A sports hall in Borås.

In the aftermath of roof collapses throughout the country – some of them fatal or nearly so – many are asking the simple question of why their safety is being jeopardized by roofs that just can't handle the weight of snow. Are building codes to blame, or is it simply shoddy construction? And who is responsible?

Environment minister Andreas Carlgren called the whole situation "unacceptable."

"People shouldn't have to worry about things like this. We have a set of rules and regulations and we have a responsibility for oversight so that these things don't happen. That's why property owners have to take responsibility for shoveling snow off in this acute phase. But the responsibility that building contractors have also needs to be followed up on."

Until twenty years ago, municipality commissions were in charge of checking building plans and inspecting the structures once they were finished. But now, the proprietors themselves are responsible for making sure the inspection takes place.

Mats Björs, chief executive officer of the Swedish Construction Clients Forum, told Radio Sweden that this change in the rules may ultimately explain why the roofs are collapsing.