When it comes to inspecting old structures that may be damaged by water and salts, an engineer can rarely rely on visual inspection to provide enough information to justify a declaration that a building is structurally sound.
But that is exactly what the engineer appears to have done twice in four years before a collapse at a two-story shopping mall and rooftop parking deck in Ontario. The second inspection was made two months prior to a June 23 failure that sent slabs crashing down in a section of the mall, killing Doloris Perizzolo, 74, and Lucie Aylwin, 37. Their survivors and families filed a lawsuit Oct. 1 in Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Sault Ste. Marie against engineer M.R. Wright & Associates; the mall's owner, Eastwood Mall Inc.; and the town of Elliot Lake, 375 miles northwest of Toronto, where the mall is located. The Ontario Provincial Police are conducting an investigation.