Structural integrity of National Assembly building must be tested: Architect

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The Architect of the National Assembly building Jack van der Lecq says the most critical part to rebuilding it is to test the structural integrity of the building.

The old and new National Assembly buildings were guttered by a fire that broke out on Sunday morning.

Van der Lecq is the person who designed the building as early as 1984 and the building was completed and opened in 1988.

He says, “The most critical thing for me is the testing of the structural integrity of the Building because over the main Assembly Chamber there are six massive beams spanning over the total widths of that chamber. And if there is any damage or deflection or cracking or whatever structural system, then we have got another problem.”

“Then of course it has to be redone and that’s a totally different story. Point number on, structural integrity of the building must be tested,” says Van der Lecq.

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The roof of the Old Wing, which dates back to 1884 and houses the upper chamber National Council of Provinces (NCOP), also partially collapsed.

However, important sections including a museum with artworks and heritage objects were saved, as was an embroidered tapestry telling the story of the Eastern Cape on the ground floor of the Old Assembly Building, officials said.

Earlier on Monday firefighters had managed to extinguish most of the initial blaze.