Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Inspector: Berkman Plans Were Incomplete; He Testified Tuesday in the Fatal Parking Garage Collapse

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Inspector: Berkman Plans Were Incomplete; He Testified Tuesday in the Fatal Parking Garage Collapse

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE PATTERSON

A second inspector testified Tuesday he didn't see complete plans for the Berkman Plaza 2 parking garage in Jacksonville until after it collapsed in December 2007.

The inspector was paid to examine temporary supports used during construction. He also said building crews changed materials used in some supports, but he didn't get new plans taking that change into account.

The statements by Paul Mullins of Universal Engineering in Jacksonville paralleled statements made in May by an intern engineer for a structural engineering company. Both men spoke as witnesses at hearings about a federal work-safety fine against Southern Pan Services, a subcontractor on the garage job.

One person was killed and about 20 others were injured when the garage on East Bay Street collapsed while part of the sixth floor was being poured.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the $132,500 fine last year, listing a series of infractions it described as willful or serious.

Southern Pan built formwork that was needed for sections of the concrete garage to be poured. The company also installed temporary supports, known as shoring and reshoring, that reinforce a building during construction.

An engineer drew plans for installing the supports, and Southern Pan hired Universal to inspect its employees' work.

But when a lawyer representing OSHA handed Mullins plans for the supports Tuesday, the inspector said there were two pages he didn't remember seeing until after the collapse.

The pages showed placement of scaffolds for the supports and use of post shores in the top part of the supports.

Whether any of the instructions in those plans factored into the collapse was never discussed Tuesday.

Mullins examined supports at the garage and the condominium tower being built next to it and said the project was his first time inspecting shoring.

He said his supervisor, a licensed professional engineer, walked him through the first couple of inspections; after that, he did his job by reading plans and talking to a foreman who walked with him on inspections.

He said he often found problems, but Southern Pan crews corrected them at once. …

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