When BIM Bollocks becomes BIM Bellingcat

It do be like that; you’re just minding your business, doing some stuff, and then suddenly you’re an investigative journalist. Well, that’s exactly what happened to the BIM Weasel recently.

An article popped up on local media regarding a ceiling collapse at Central MTR station. I didn’t think much of it at the time, other than it looked like another reason for the media to beat up the MTR corporation again. Shortly thereafter, and entirely unprompted, the “evidence” just fell into my lap (although in a considerably less exciting way than a train station ceiling).

Sometimes things do fail. Stuff does fall over from time to time. However, it doesn’t look great when a report published 10 years ago would appear to have forewarned against exactly the incident covered by the local press. On this occasion, no one was hurt. Central station can get very busy, and would undoubtedly have been busier were it not for current Covid pandemic conditions. What would the response have been if there was a serious injury, or death?

So the cover page tells you what the report would be about, and when it was published.

So it would appear that proposed remedial measures, listed below, were not followed particularly closely, or possibly at all. Water ingress will lead to corrosion and premature failures. This may manifest itself as bits of subway ceiling falling down…

So the solutions suggested involved some disruption to traffic on Connaught Road, or none at all. The author provided a range of possible responses, including electro osmosis primarily to prevent rebar corrosion. If structural reinforcement corrodes too much, that’s when things fall down. Particularly ceilings and that kind of thing…

So, in short, the recommendations were to get it sorted before it gets worse and something lands on someone’s head. Ten years is plenty of time for water ingress to go to work on the embedded reinforcement. More to come, or will the MTRC finally address the issue?

Caveat: it is assumed that the problems highlighted in the report have not been fully addressed, although it is not know for certain. To the author’s knowledge, there has been no major renovation work of the type described in some of the recommendations (such as digging up Connaught Road to inject grout) in the past 10 years.