Chapter 4 – British Columbia Engineering Failures

1988 Station Square Collapse aka Save-on Foods Collapse aka Cave-in-Foods

The Station Square collapse, also known as the Save-On-Foods collapse or “Cave-in-Foods”, was a major structural failure of a new supermarket and parking facility in BurnabyBritish Columbia, Canada. On April 23, 1988, within minutes of the grand opening of a new Save-On-Foods store, a 6,400 square foot (590 m2) portion of the roof collapsed sending the rooftop parking deck and 20 automobiles crashing into the produce section below. 


There were no fatalities and 21 people were treated in hospital, In the years following the collapse of the roof, recommendations from a commission of inquiry resulted in significant changes to the practice of architecture and engineering throughout British Columbia

roof top collapse photo
The roof top parkade of Save-on-Foods collapsed in Burnaby in 1988

Professional negligence

In 1989 the four engineers from the two engineering firms (Tammy Tacy and Associates, MSS Engineering (Structural) Ltd.) involved in the collapse were found guilty of incompetence, negligence or professional misconduct by a five-member panel of the professional engineers governing body. The panel noted inadequate design of the roof structure, including the support beams, failure to inspect the construction of the roofs assembly, and failure to direct or check the work on the project of the engineer in training who was directly managing the project. The panel also found that the engineers’ code of ethics had been breached by one of the firm’s partners signing and applying his professional seal to plans and specifications that he had not prepared or supervised. Also faulted were the engineers for inadequately reviewing the structure before the collapse, including not noticing that lateral supports were missing.


Here is a link to the formal Commissioner Inquiry held by the British Columbia Legislature




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To the extent possible under law, Jennifer Kirkey has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Engineering and Technology in Society - Canada, except where otherwise noted.

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