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CROSS Safety Report

Brick wall removed to leave precast panels unsupported

Report ID: 384 Published: 1 July 2014 Region: CROSS-UK

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Precast concrete slabs were left unsupported after a supporting brick wall was removed during demolition works.

Key Learning Outcomes

For construction professionals:

  • Structural alterations should not be made without approval from a suitable qualified engineer. When there is any doubt, the advice of a structural engineer should be sought.

Full Report

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Removal of a 9 inch thick (230 mm) brickwork wall left precast roof slabs unsupported (Figure 1). It is not clear if any thought was given as to whether or not this might be a loadbearing wall before demolition.

Figure 1: unsupported precast slab

Expert Panel Comments

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This would obviously have been, at least to a structural engineer, a building where the walls were loadbearing and to remove one in this careless manner would be to invite collapse. No changes should be made before a competent person has assured that it is safe to do so.

When there is any doubt, the advice of a structural engineer should be sought. However, this is a common problem, particularly at the domestic end of the industry. Many buildings have collapsed owing to a lack of proper consideration of stability and incorporation of the necessary temporary works.

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