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Ilford City Gates building collapse: ‘101 reasons’ why it fell

16:15 02 February 2012

The City Gates Christian Centre in Clements Road, pictured by Desmond Chin on January 16

The City Gates Christian Centre in Clements Road, pictured by Desmond Chin on January 16

Archant

This is a picture of the City Gates building just 15 days before it collapsed in a pile of rubble and dust, with one firm connected to the build saying there are “101 reasons” why it could have crashed to the ground.

Miraculously, no one was seriously hurt when the building in Clements Road, Ilford collapsed at just before 4.30pm on Tuesday, with the only injury to a woman who had a twisted ankle.

Ashe Construction, which was contracted to build the Christian centre, has said this afternoon the exclusion zone around the collapse site will be reduced from 60m to about 30m as early as tomorrow (Friday) morning.

And drivers whose vehicles have been stuck inside the Britannia car park and at Olympic House – both a stone’s throw away from the City Gates building – since Tuesday evening, have been told they can collect their cars one by one between 4-6pm today.

About 200 vehicles are inside the Britannia multi-storey car park.

Ashe Construction business development director Andrew Morris said the tower crane which hangs over the collapsed building will be dismantled.

Speaking of the dismantling process he told the Recorder: “It’s not as easy as you’d think because we have to get it [the crane] powered back up again.

“We have to get to the base of the crane to do that so its quite intricate.

“Every step of the way we’re sending our method statements to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) to get their comments before we go ahead.”

He said the process would take about two days and would stretch into the weekend, before the steel frame of what remains of the collapsed City Gates building is taken part.

The site may not be fully reopened until Wednesday, Mr Morris said.

He added: “I’d like to thank members of the public. I’ve spoken to lots of them and I can’t believe how kind and generous they’ve been.

“I’m proud of our team who have worked very well. The local authority has also been very good.”

The steelwork contractor for the site is DGT Structures, which fabricated the steelwork and erected the structure.

Finance director David Drury said the main work by the firm had been completed weeks ago, with the company on site in more recent days to carry out non-structural roofing work

He added: “There are 101 reasons why that [the collapse] may have happened.

“At this moment in time we don’t know the reason for the collapse. There’s an ongoing investigation and until that is concluded we’re unable to comment.

“No one would have contemplated this happening.”

Meanwhile postal deliveries “will be later and volumes reduced” in Redbridge postcodes IG1 to IG6 because of the closure of the Royal Mail’s Ilford delivery office in nearby Chadwick Road.

The Redbridge Town Hall car park has partially reopened, with part of the area still cordoned off for safety reasons.

A new entrance has been created on Oakfield Road opposite the Kenneth More Theatre.

This can be accessed via Kenneth More Road.

The Virgin Active health club, the Ilford Travelodge and the Childsplay and Ice Teen Collections shops all in Clements Road, have not reopened.

The council’s housing advice centre, Clements Road, is now operating from a temporary base in Central Library, Clements Road, further along from the collapsed building site.

People are advised to only contact in emergencies because staff may not have access to case files.

The following numbers – 020 8708 2422, 020 8708 2737 and 020 8708 2437 – have been set up for calls to the centre.

The private sector housing team can be contacted on 020 8708 5289 or 020 8708 5478.

The payments and benefits office in Clements Road is still closed –urgent calls should be made to 020 8554 5000.

Fifteen bus routes are being diverted following the incident.

A Transport for London spokesman said: “The bus routes on diversion around Clements Road are the 25, 86, 123, 128, 145, 147, 150, 167, 169, 179, 296, 364, 366, 462 and the W19.”

Did you witness what happened in Clements Road? Do you have pictures from the scene? Call us on 020 8477 3806, email zjan.shirinian@archant.co.uk or Tweet us @ilfordrecorder.

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