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“In case of doubt, I would have immediately had Spectrum evacuated”

The Spectrum building is not unsafe, but the floors no longer fully meet the stricter requirements set by the government in May. Jolie van Wevelingen, managing director of the departments of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering, says that considerable work is being done to find a solution, and that repair works in order to meet the new requirements will start at the beginning of 2020. Until the repair work is finished, the building will be inspected every two months.

photo Bart van Overbeeke

“In case of doubt, I would have immediately had the building evacuated,” Van Wevelingen says when asked about the safety of Spectrum. When Erasmus University Rotterdam evacuated a building in 2017 because the use of wide slab floors created of potentially unsafe situation, TU/e soon focused its attention on Spectrum and Flux. The floor construction in these buildings resembles that of the parking garage of Eindhoven Airport, which partially collapsed in 2017. That was also the reason why the university in Rotterdam closed one of its buildings.

Professor Simon Wijte, active as part-time professor at TU/e’s Department of the Built Environment and in charge of investigating the parking garage, examined the floors in Spectrum and Flux at the time and came to the conclusion that there was no reason to worry.


In May of this year, the government tightened up regulations for the assessment of existing buildings with wide slab floors. It did so on the basis of a recommendation from Wijte that was drawn up after extensive additional research. In response to that recommendation, the government commissioned engineering office Zonneveld Engineers to asses Flux, while engineering firm Aronsohn conducted the assessment of Spectrum. The assessment revealed that Flux met the safety requirements, whereas the concrete construction of Spectrum did not fully meet the criteria, it was concluded.

Van Wevelingen and Wijte emphasize that this outcome does not mean that Spectrum is unsafe. They think that certain adjustments need to be made to “better effectuate” the reinforcement, which Wijte believes is slightly too short. That can be done in two ways, the professor says. “One way is to apply carbon slats to potentially vulnerable spots, or you could use extra anchors in the floors, which means you need to drill. An operation like that will always cause some inconvenience.” Van Wevelingen says that everything will be done to keep it to a minimum.


Wijte says that Real Estate Management will have to decide which solution is the best, “and undoubtedly, the costs will play a role when the constructive solutions are equivalent.” Wijte explained the results from the assessments and the possible solutions during a meeting for the building’s users in late August. “I had the impression that everyone understood the situation and quickly went about their business.”

Van Wevelingen holds a similar view: “Everyone was relieved that the situation was thoroughly investigated and that work is now being done to find a definitive solution. Until the repair work is finished, the building will be inspected every two months. Moving heavy equipment in or out the building is permitted only after explicit consent. But the building is eighteen years old by now, and we’ve never noticed anything strange in all those years.”

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