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Greening hit drainage, claims report

A big greening project is to blame for the collapse of the rooftop at City University of Hong Kong’s sports center last month, sources say.

A CityU investigation committee is understood to say in its report that large- scale greening projects should not have been carried out on the roof as it affected drainage, causing water to accumulate and overload the roof.

The committee held seven meetings in the 14 days of investigation, reading documents and structural plans of the project.

Thirteen witnesses, including staff responsible for the rooftop work and people who saw the collapse, testified before the nine-member committee led by vice president and chief of staff Paul Lam Kwan-sing.

The 1,400-square-meter roof of the Chan Tai Ho Multi-Purpose Hall on the fifth floor of the Hu Fa Kuang Sports Centre caved in suddenly on May 20, injuring three people, only three months after the rooftop greening was completed.

The sports center has been standing for two decades.

It is understood the committee has concluded that rooftop greening works – which began last December and was completed in February this year – affected drainage.

The original structure of the sports center was flawless, the report said, and the slope of the roof was enough for draining.

Greening works, however, pressed on the roof and decreased the slope, causing the drainage to flow too slow, sources said.

The water that accumulated caused the roof to become overloaded and eventually caused it to collapse.

Maintenance works had no link to the collapse, it added.

The report would also state the role of Sinoway Construction Engineering, the contractor responsible for the rooftop work.

The committee submitted its report to CityU president Way Kuo.

Kuo and Lam are set to meet the media on Friday to respond to the report.

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