The engineer behind the collapsed roof of Stadium Southland has continued to work for the past four and half years since his deregistration.

Tony Major, the engineer behind the design of the collapsed Stadium Southland roof, has been expelled from New Zealand’s Institution of Professional Engineers (Ipenz) for incompetence nearly five years after he was removed from the register of Ipenz’s chartered professional engineers.

Tony Major

Tony Major

Major has continued to work as a design engineer during the past four and a half years despite failing his assessment to remain a chartered professional with Ipenz in 2010, and having his name struck from the register in December of the same year.

Representatives from the Invercargill City Council and Southland District Council said they had accepted building consent applications from Major despite being apprised of his removal from the register, on the grounds that engineering components of each project would be peer reviewed as well as signed off on by a chartered professional engineer who was registered with Ipenz.

Major’s poor design work is believed to have contributed to the Stadium Southland incident, which saw the roof of the main stadium collapse as a result of heavy snowfall in September 2010.

Subsequent assessments found the cause of the collapse was insufficient roof strength, inadequate workmanship and poor design, despite the structure meeting building standards in place at the time. The collapse resulted in Invercargill City council making an estimated $6 million in payouts.

Major’s expulsion from Ipenz is directly tied to the Stadium Southland collapse, with a disciplinary committee concluding that his original work on the roof was below standard.

The committee censured Major for his “casual attitude to his professional engineering activities” during the construction of the stadium, finding that his “attitudes and competencies remain below the current standards for a professional member.”

In spite of this scathing assessment, Major has enjoyed a prolific career as a designer, responsible for the numerous projects in Invercargill, Southland and Queenstown over the years, including drains, driveways, and extensions for houses, farm buildings, commercial buildings and public spaces.

Richard King, chief executive of Invercargill city council, said the council was concerned about the implications of Ipenz’s findings for the safety of buildings in the city which were designed by Major, and has sought advice from the engineering body.

Ipenz chief executive Dr. Andrew Cleland has advised anyone whose building projects were designed by Major to arrange for an inspection of structural integrity should this be deemed a concern.