Expert report on Malawi’s Kamuzu Stadium

Executive summary

Kamuzu Stadium, which is situated in the Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre was built in the 1960’s concrete framed structure while the last stand was built in 1990.

In the 1980’s and early 1990’s the stadium used to get an annual inspection in readiness of National Independence Celebrations timely maintenance was also carried out and the stadium condition was easily monitored.

The current status of the stadium stand C and D is very delicate and unsound and it could be negligence to allow people use the suspended seats especially considering the effects of motion on the weakened elements of the stand.

It is that’s strongly recommended for stadium owners to consider complete overhaul  of stand C and D while maintaining other stands and at the same time look at proper maintenance procedures for the structure.

Sports Minister Enock Chihana and other officials inspecting the Kamuzu Stadium.- Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

General design of the stadium stands

Kamuzu Stadium is constructed of six open stands labeled from A to F. Stands A to E are believed to have been constructed in the 1960’s while stand F was built in the early 1990’s. The terrain generally slopes from stand A towards stand F.

The First sections of the stands (i.e. at bottom) are constructed on fill material with a retaining wall at the back. The seats to this section are made of a pre-cast unit sitting on a slab cast in situ.

The rest of the stands from this position all the way to the top, are suspended separated by an expansion joint at the retaining wall position.

For stands A to D, the column grids are 6 x 4 while for stand E and F, are 6×5 because of the difference in terrain.

On each column grid, there is a main stringer beam emanating from column at retaining wall position all the way to the top. The last support to this beam is an A-frame after which the stringer beam is
then cantilevered.

Findings

The detailed report reveals that concrete cover to some columns and stringer beams had worn out exposing rusted reinforcement, certain columns to stand D showed some cracks and that paints to stringer beams were peeling off.

It discloses that traces of chemical deposits on some columns were found, which are causing the concrete lose some of its properties and is seen to be peeling off.

The report further reveals that some bottom reinforcement and shear reinforcement which had rusted was exposed. These were very excessive in stands C and D.

“The beams and some seats had developed cracks with critical cracks at support points where signs of ‘crushing’ are conspicuous. The last 5 to 6 seats to stand D1 had deflected.  The stone pitching at the main stand entrance (between stand D and E) was damaged. The embankment to stand E from the main entrance had also settled. There were evident crack failures on the landing slab,” reads the report.

It was also observed that most of the covered drains inside and outside the stadium had no covers and it remains dangerous as they are quite wide. There was a lot of dirt collection in the drainage posing challenge to the flow of water.

“Some supporting steel sections to the protective fencing around and within the stands had corroded so much that in some cases they are hanging in the air. Big scare is at the top of stand D2 on the edge.

An entrance into the stadium, the supporting members to the guiding rails had been cut exposing stubs which are hazardous to the spectators,” it stated.

Recommendations

Following its evaluation and findings, RD Consultant made the following recommendations:

It states that the cross beams and seats to stands C and D have to be demolished from the retaining wall all the way to the top.

New cross beams have to be designed and constructed and that a good percentage of the seats can be reused. Another recommendation is that some cross beams to stands A B and E which have been extensively damaged be removed and replace with new ones.

In the recommendations, it is also being advised that eproxy paint be applied to underside of all seats-as was previously done to stand E.

Scrapes and seal off all exposed reinforcement with eproxy concrete and closing up all holes and cracks in the stone pitching.

The report also recommends that all rusted fence supports and damaged mesh be removed and that a barrier be erected on the middle stairs between stand E and F where the flood light pylon is.

Lastly, the report recommend  that the stadium should have  a proper individual sitting plan which would accommodate the design capacity of the stadium where coordinated seat numbering and ticketing system be used.

Conclusion

The report conclude that generally the stands C and D have structurally failed in terms of the cross beams and partly the seats. These stands can no longer be used until they are overhauled with major remedial works.

“The new stand F and stand A can be loaded to full design capacity. The stands C, D and E currently be used only up to the retaining wall seats. There will be need to reinforce that barriers are put in place to control the crowds from sitting in the suspended sections.”

It also went on to states that stand B should not be used at all so that the current failure should not be aggravated.

“Otherwise, the stadium should not be used at all until all the recommendations are done. This final decision has been arrived at as a result of findings as discussed above as well as the foreseeable difficulty of restraining use of the failed stands in trying to achieve partial usage,” reads the report.

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