When asked, Alkmaar confirms that in the thirteen years that the stadium has been in existence, it has never been checked whether the construction is still safe. The municipality takes the view that the safety of the construction has been sufficiently assessed when the building permit is granted and after completion of the construction of the stadium. After that there was no reason to look at it anymore.
According to the municipality, that would only happen if there was reason to do so, for example in the case of a major renovation or if the fire brigade would notice something about the construction during its inspection. When asked how often there was reason to check the stadium construction, the municipality replied: “This reason to check for structural safety has not been there since construction.”
Nevertheless, the mayor of Alkmaar and the director of AZ have put out their signature year after year under the safety statement of the KNVB which wrongly confirmed that the construction of the stadium had been checked.
Don't look back
In all safety declarations for the football seasons since 2007, it is stated that Building and Housing Supervision carries out the structural check in the stadium. The documents state specific dates and (albeit lacquered) names of officials who would have carried out the inspections.
The accompanying text also states: “In addition to checking the fire safety aspects, periodic checks are carried out by the Building and Housing Supervision Department / municipal enforcement department. This takes into account the structural safety in the buildings concerned. This applies to both temporary and the permanent structures. “
Although every few years (most recently 2011, 2015 and 2018) a municipal officer walks through the stadium, but he only pays attention to fire safety: are there extinguishing means, what about the evacuation plans and the escape routes, are the emergency exits not blocked?
And indeed there have been occasional shortcomings: fire doors were held open with a keg, there was no fire extinguisher or fire blanket at locations with a deep fryer and on the third floor the sign for the escape route was not hanging properly. But the construction is not overlooked.