Masood Reza, the architect of the garment factory that collapsed on April 24 in Bangladesh, has issued a statement, saying that his firm, Vastukalpa Consultants, designed a shopping center with office space rather than a structure that could withhold the weight of heavy machinery. Additional floors were added to the original 6-story design.
Three thousand garment workers occupied the building, which had begun to crack the day before it collapsed.
Reza has accused the factory's owner Mohammed Rana of failing to adhere to basic structural engineering principles.
UPDATE: Steven Greenhouse reports in The New York Times that major retailers such as H&M and PVH have agreed "to sign a far-reaching and legally binding plan that requires [them] to help finance fire safety and building improvements in the factories they use in Bangladesh."
"The factory safety agreement calls for independent, rigorous factory safety inspections with public reports and mandatory repairs and renovations underwritten by Western retailers," he explains. "It also calls for retailers to stop doing business with any factory that refuses to make necessary safety improvements, and for workers and their unions to have a substantial voice in factory safety."