Construction Flaws Found in Tornado-Damaged School

Officials blamed a contractor for straying from design specifications during initial construction.

📅   Tue February 02, 2016 - West Edition


Engineers hired by the school district found problems with the fasteners used to attach the brick-veneer walls to the rest of the building
Engineers hired by the school district found problems with the fasteners used to attach the brick-veneer walls to the rest of the building

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that a local elementary school damaged during last month's tornadoes suffered from construction flaws that may explain why some of its exterior walls fell over, school officials said Thursday.

Officials blamed the construction company, Ratcliff Constructors, for straying from design specifications during the 2008-2009 construction of Donald T. Shields Elementary school. Engineers hired by the school district found problems with the fasteners used to attach the brick-veneer walls to the rest of the building .

“These deviations from the specified plans are unacceptable,” Scott Niven, superintendent of Red Oak Independent School District, said in a statement. “The district will do whatever is necessary to address these issues” during rebuilding, he said, adding “The responsible parties will be held accountable.”

Ratcliff did not respond to messages The Dallas Morning News left with officials including its president, Max Young. In a statement several weeks ago, he said his company strongly disagreed with allegations of faulty construction and firmly believes the school “was constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications.”

Ratcliff has built at least eight new elementary and middle schools for the Dallas Independent School District in recent years. Such work is reviewed by many layers of officials including outside professionals, a spokesman for the district said Friday, adding that it is "not considering any additional steps at this time."

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