The results of the Balearic Labour Ministry's investigation into the Hotel Tivoli collapse, which claimed the lives of two construction workers and critically injured three others, were made public yesterday. Labour Minister, Eberhard Grosske, said “we are not dealing with an unfortunate accident, it's much worse than we initially imagined.” According to the results of the inquiry, carried out by planning inspectors and engineers, the cause of the tragic accident was that the two top floors of the three-storey building were too heavy. A reduction in the surface of the supporting walls on the ground floor led to the walls giving way under the buildup of weight. Grosske said that it is clear, from the investigation, that “no calculations to gauge the strength of the walls, supports, and the modifications, had been made.” “The error lies not in how work was being carried out, but in not having a building plan -- a basic tool for guaranteeing the safety and security of the workers on site and clients in the future,” Grosske said. The head of the Ministry's Safety Service, Miguel Crespi, explained that weight on the ground floor walls had been increased by 26.22 percent, while the area covered by the walls on the ground floor was reduced by between 17 and 22 per cent. Investigators also discovered that the five openings set into the west wing of the ground floor had been widened and that a day before the collapse, the floor's partitioning walls were removed. Apparently, just hours before the annex came crashing down, work was being carried out on widening an opening some 20 centimetres to allow building machinery through to remove the rubble. “By decreasing the area of supporting walls and increasing the weight of the floors above, the building lost its stability,” Crespi said. The safety boss also revealed that his team have been unable to find a building work plan for the building. “All that exists is a basic architect's project, which is normally used to get work started and to apply for the relevant planning permission.” Grosske said that the accident demonstrates a complete ignorance of health and safety regulations and “behind all this are signs of a rushed and slap-dash approach and an unwillingness to pay for all the building permits.” While the Ministry's investigation was to establish what happened, as opposed to who is responsible, the report will be handed over to the court investigating the catastrophe. But Grosske warned that the judge will decide who is responsible and admitted that he has his suspicions.

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