Walsall’s landmark bus station has been hit by fresh problems after it emerged that the concrete roof of a small shelter is too heavy for its supporting columns. Temporary columns installed during construction in March are being retained until the problem is resolved.
The problem follows defects on the main station roof that came to light last September. The latest concerns centre on the amount of cement sprayed on to the small shelter’s roof.
Andy Dixon, project manager for client Centro, said: “There’s uncertainty that it has been built in accordance with the design. We’re pretty sure it’s too heavy.” Contractor Shepherd said: “We cannot confirm this statement.”
It is understood that designer Allford Hall Monaghan Morris is holding talks with Shepherd over the issue. Richard Worrell, chairman of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority, the body advising Centro, said Shepherd was responsible for correcting the faults as one of its subcontractors had carried out the work.
He added: “We would like to keep the original scheme with the four columns rather than put in extra ones – it’s really a matter of how the architect does that.”
There’s uncertainty that it has been built in accordance with the design
Andy Dixon, Project Manager, Centro
AHMM was unavailable for comment, but it is understood that Shepherd wants to carry out tests on the roof before taking further action.
The defect is the latest to affect the £6.5m station, which was due to open last November. Difficulties first emerged when the edge beam of the main roof sagged last September. All parties have agreed to resolve who is responsible for the problems at the end of the project.
A report commissioned by Centro from Anthony Hunt Associates on the structural integrity of the main roof, which was presented to the passenger transport authority last Wednesday, said some of the tree-like columns on the main roof may need strengthening.
Worrell said: “Anthony Hunt Associates’ position is that the main canopy is fundamentally safe but further work needs doing to establish whether it is advisable to strengthen two columns.”
The bus station was to the be the centrepiece of Walsall’s town-centre regeneration, but concerns about the roof mean that no date has been set for its opening.