ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. — A structural engineer who specializes in large projects such as malls told the inquiry into Elliot Lake's mall collapse that maintenance is often ignored until problems arise.
Engineer Dale Craig, the first witness called to the inquiry, also testified that the owner is ultimately responsible for a sound building.
Craig was directed not to speak about the specifics of Algo Centre Mall, which collapsed June 23, 2012, killing two people and injuring 22 others.
Instead, he was told to speak in generalities about what types of materials would be used, in what order they would be installed and whether steel beams would be bolted or welded together.
On Monday, the first day of the inquiry, commissioner Paul Belanger heard that the collapse was "preventable and predictable."
Lawyer Douglas Elliott said several Algo Centre Mall tenants — including a library, Zellers and Scotiabank — reported leaking problems for years before the roof finally caved in.
A basic requirement for roofs in Ontario is that they be water-resistant, Elliott said.
"It's not exactly rocket science."
Elliott's co-counsel, Roland Aube, said the collapse never should have happened and "must never happen again anywhere else."
Elliott and Aube represent the Elliot Lake Mall Action Committee and the Seniors' Action Group.
The commission is expected to hear testimony from 75 witnesses over the next few months. It also received 1,884 documents, including descriptions of events leading up to the collapse, consultant reports and engineering plans.
— Files from Jonathan Migneault and Kevin McSheffrey