A Newsletter from CROSS-UK containing reports on structural safety issues.
Note: this Newsletter was published by CROSS (Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety). Since March 2021, Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety is renamed Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures (CROSS).
Scaffold collapse and slipping clips
A photograph has been sent in by a reporter which show a scaffold that collapsed onto a parking area.
Dangerous modification to a column
A reporter was requested to visit a warehouse to inspect work carried out to a main support column that had been modified by a builder.
When reviewing a consulting engineer’s proposal to underpin a party wall, the reporter noticed that there was insufficient vertical load to maintain stability under lateral load from the retained height of soil.
Retaining wall concerns and the stance of a local authority
A reporter was asked by a client to assess a retaining wall built on their boundary by a neighbour who had erected a new dwelling. A review of the calculations and a typical section gave serious concern for its strength.
Undermining shallow foundations
A reporter raises concerns about the tendency for existing shallow footings to be exposed and possibly undermined when adding extensions to older properties.
Split responsibilities on temporary bracing of steelwork
A contractor removed temporary bracing on site prior to the structure being in a permanent stable state.
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I was interested to read of the cases in this Newsletter in which:
1) An engineer proposed to underpin a wall with mass concrete without allowing for the bending moments (and therefore tensile stresses) which would arise due to soil (and water?) pressures, and
2) A local authority failed to take action regarding a defective retaining wall.
Two years ago we were asked to design underpinning works to form a basement under a building. On one side of the building no soil would be retained (since there was an adjacent basement) and we specified mass concrete. On the other side about 3 m of soil was to be retained and we specified reinforced concrete. Unfortunately the builder used mass concrete where reinforced concrete was required. Although the Building Control Officer is fully aware of this he has taken no action to force the owner to take remedial work.