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UM buildings appear safe

MAASTRICHT. Are Maastricht University buildings safe? This question has arisen as both Erasmus University in Rotterdam and Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in Zwolle have each closed a relatively new building for being possibly unsafe.

Everything appears to be fine in Maastricht, says head of Real Estate, Ronald Wilmes. But to be completely certain, he has asked the engineer who was involved in the construction of the building in Randwijck, to recalculate the strength of the construction. “Our building is not similar to the multistorey car park at Eindhoven Airport, which collapsed last May and started the ball rolling. But one wants to rule everything out. We expect the results next week.”

At the end of last May, a new parking garage at Eindhoven Airport collapsed. The cause turned out to be a construction error: the connection between the concrete slabs of the so-called Bubble Deck floors did not meet the requirements. The minister of Internal Affairs subsequently asked municipalities to investigate whether there were any buildings with the same construction in their respective territories.

Apparently, there are such buildings, also in higher education. Last week, an Erasmus University Rotterdam building was vacated because of suspected issues. The construction of the floor was similar to that of the parking garage at Eindhoven Airport. Lectures that were planned in the two-year-old Polak building, with 850 study spaces and multiple teaching rooms, have been moved to other buildings, the university said.  Last weekend, it was revealed that the seven-year-old X building belonging to Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in Zwolle is possibly unsafe. Further technical research to be carried out this week should prove if this is the case or not.

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