Warwick Avon Studio ceiling collapses

A ceiling has collapsed in Westwood’s Avon House studio. The lighting rig collapsed overnight on April 1, forcing the studio’s closure the next day.

A source, who wishes to remain anonymous, has shared a picture of the incident which was taken by a fireman. The image shows the entire lighting rig collapsed on the floor of the studio, causing significant interior damage. The studio will remain closed until at least October.

This photo taken by a firefighter shows the collapse. Photo: Boar source

Students had been using the studio for performance practice the day before the ceiling collapse and were due to use it the following day. However, students were notified via insite that the studio would be closed due to ceiling damage. The message also asked students to keep away from the building until further notice.

The University did not specify the extent of the damage.

Reasons why this incident occurred have been under a “veil of secrecy” according to the source.

The University stated that the incident was not related to any lack of maintenance. Estates had allegedly carried out a full investigation with the Health and Safety department and structural engineers.

A report is to be published at some point in the future, according to the University’s statement.

The University commented that “maintenance is planned and regular and is running to schedule.”
It has also been alleged that “over a thousand separate (maintenance) jobs are overdue”.

All safety-related maintenance activities are prioritised and completed as soon as practicably possible.”

This year’s maintenance expenditure has totalled over £16 million, which is a comparable figure to previous years, according to the statement.

Our source suggested that there was asbestos in the Avon studio, which may have been exposed due to the damage.

The Avon studio was sealed. Photo: Lily Pickard / Boar Photography

Asbestos is a hazardous substance which was commonly used in building materials up until the 1990s for insulation and fireproofing. The substance is only harmful if building materials are damaged.

If damaged, even small levels of exposure can lead lead to respiratory problems, according to the British lung foundation.

After the incident, asbestos removal vans were seen around campus, including sites close to the Avon building.

Doors were bolted and had signs warning off students. Photo: Lily Pickard / Boar Photography

The University stated that they have robust procedures in place to ensure licensed contractors maintain the asbestos when damage occurs.

Around 250 different locations around the University contain asbestos in building materials, according to the University’ statement.

They stated that: “Asbestos specialists have been regularly attending campus for at least two decades now in support of The Estates Office team”.

Our source stated that, in the past year a ceiling also collapsed in the Gibbet Hill campus.

The University denied that any other similar incidents had occurred within that period.

Danielle Sharp, Second-year English and Theatre student, commented: “It epitomises the lack of care and attention given to the student arts, particularly the support of student theatre and its rehearsal space.”

Ms Sharp added: “Also very funny that the University have chosen to remain so silent about it.”


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