Roofs Collapse One by One Under Snow

Updated 5:03 PM

The snow that has blanketed Sweden the last few months has conquered building codes, turning the roofs of sports halls, farm outhouses, schools, and many other buildings into piles of twisted metal and snowy wood. The roofs cannot handle the weight of the snow, which has been compounded by temperatures that have stayed below zero and turned everything to ice.

The weekend’s snowstorm—and the roof collapses in its wake—is wreaking havoc on Sweden’s buildings, just like previous storms this year.

Tennis players were on their way into Valldahallen on Saturday morning in Kungsbacka when the roof on the sports hall began to buckle. No one was hurt, but a third of the building is completely destroyed, Swedish Radio News reports. On Saturday afternoon, a large shopping center in Jönköping was evacuated after the roof began to buckle.

Just on Friday, a man died when the roof of a workshop collapsed above his head. In addition, hundreds of pigs were trapped in their stalls when a roof fell in on Saturday in Nässjö, and between 150 and 200 animals may have died when a farmhouse roof collapsed in Dömestorp, south of Linköping.

What’s more, over a thousand rabbits are feared dead after a sports hall roof buckled in Nyköping.

Upwards of 1,800 rabbits were in the building Friday night in anticipation of the Swedish rabbit hopping championships on Saturday when the roof gave out under the weight of snow. No people were inside when it occurred, but many if not most of the rabbits could have been killed.

The high number of roof collapses over the last month has a number of people questioning if building codes are too lax for this Northern country.

Until the 1980s, all roofs had to be inspected by an independent authority; now, though, the building's own contracter carries out the inspection. Nikolaj Tolstoy, head of the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, thinks that a return to an independent inspection could allay future problems with buckling roofs.

"But we always have to weigh in costs and we don't want to create too much bureaucracy. But if that's the only way to take care of the problem, then maybe we have to do it," he told news agency TT on Saturday.