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Ilford City Gates Christian centre collapse: ‘architect’s design not at fault’ says pastor

PUBLISHED: 13:03 28 February 2012 | UPDATED: 11:25 29 February 2012

Steven Derbyshire, the pastor of the City Gates church, standing in front of the site of the collapsed building

Steven Derbyshire, the pastor of the City Gates church, standing in front of the site of the collapsed building

Archant

The architects behind the design of the collapsed City Gates Christian centre are “not in the picture” as investigators analyse key sections of the wreckage to find out why it fell, the man set to be the church’s pastor has said.

Stephen Derbyshire has spoken to the Recorder about the “catastrophic failure” which caused the under-construction building in Clements Road, Ilford to crash to the ground one month ago.

Metal work has been taken to a laboratory in Buxton, Derbyshire for forensic testing by the Health and Safety Executive, which is investigating the collapse.

Meanwhile, lawyers acting on behalf of City Gates are trying to obtain CCTV footage from a nearby camera which may have captured the moment the five-storey structure gave way.

No one was hurt when it collapsed at around 4.30pm on January 31, with about 20 workmen on site clocking off just minutes earlier.

Mr Derbyshire said: “The architect is not coming into question by anybody.

“What is [coming into question] is the steelwork, the way it was connected and the sequence of how it was constructed.”

Investigators are also looking at the design of the steelwork, which is not the responsibility of the architect.

City Gates, who employed its own architect to draw up the design for the building, will rebuild once a cause for the collapse is found.

It will not lose any money put down for the £7.5million project – three quarters of which was donated by parishioners – with Mr Derbyshire anticipating work could restart in six months.

Speaking of the reason for the collapse he said: “We believe that God brought down the building because he knew there was a fault in it.

“Imagine if it happened if there were people inside. In some ways you’ve got to look at the positives.”

He added slabs under the collapsed building are being examined for damage, as well as drainage, which could extend the rebuild time if issues are discovered.

Mr Derbyshire said: “The building looked solid. Everything had been done correctly as far as we were concerned. There’s a real sense of shock and disappointment. We’ve got to find out who’s culpable.”


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