CROSS Safety Report
Concern over structural engineers limited appointment
A reporter raises concerns over engineers being appointed only to provide calculations for building regulation approval.
Key Learning Outcomes
For clients and the construction team:
Appointing an architect and engineer to produce coordinated construction stage drawings for a project can help prevent mistakes being made during construction due to inadequate details
There is always a risk that safety will be compromised when the lowest cost is the main criteria for selecting products, processes or people
Quality control and competent supervision on-site along with inspections can help to ensure that the structure is built in accordance with the design
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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.
A reporter, who is a consulting structural engineer with over 40 years experience, calls attention to a very common defect they see on projects: namely that so many engineers are appointed to provide calculations for building regulation approval only. The client then does not engage the engineer to produce any construction stage drawings and they are not engaged to inspect the work on-site.
The client relies solely on the builder to build from any basic architect's plans that may have been produced (again only for building regulation approval ) together with the engineer's calculations. From the number of mistakes /wrong interpretations that the reporter has seen when engaged when the builder considers they have a problem (defects not associated with call out reason), it is concerning how many potential structural errors are incorporated in completed construction.
Sadly, this is part of society's attitude of "fire fighting" mistakes discovered, says the reporter,- sometimes after terrible disasters occur. Any suggestions as to rectifying a very prevalent problem would be appreciated. (More than just advising the client that they should engage an engineer further).
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