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CROSS Safety Report

Collapse of old masonry walls

Report ID: 12 Published: 1 November 2005 Region: CROSS-UK

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There were reports of the collapse of several old masonry walls associated with adjacent construction work.

Key Learning Outcomes

For construction professionals and design engineers:

  • Good collaboration can ensure the relevant information is provided to the principal contractor / contractor to allow them to develop the Construction Phase Plan and a safe system of work

  • Where demolition works are required it is good practice to provide knowledge and history of the structure and adjacent structures, including form, materials of construction, structural interactions, and location

Full Report

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The Full Report below has been submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s experience. The text has been edited for clarity and to ensure anonymity and confidentiality by removing any identifiable details. If you would like to know more about our secure reporting process or submit a report yourself, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.


There were reports of the collapse of several old masonry walls associated with adjacent construction work. According to the reporter this happens all too frequently on re-development sites with no apparent input from the designers for the new structures.

Expert Panel Comments

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Expert Panels comment on the reports we receive. They use their experience to help you understand what can be learned from the reports. If you would like to know more, please visit the CROSS-UK Expert Panels page.

Other failures known to CROSS are of garden walls, masonry retaining walls, and the careless removal of load-bearing walls in house conversions. There is scope for more warnings and advice on the susceptibility of old masonry walls to alteration and undermining.

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