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CROSS Safety Report

Concerns over old wall misuse

Report ID: 846 Published: 13 December 2022 Region: CROSS-UK


Overview

A reporter is concerned about the stability of a boundary wall after a neighbour carried out works adjacent to it.

Key Learning Outcomes

For homeowners:

  • Note that there have been numerous failures associated with freestanding and retaining masonry walls with serious consequences. A previous Alert was issued by the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) –Preventing the collapse of freestanding masonry walls
  • If you are concerned about the structural integrity of a retaining or freestanding wall, consider having it assessed by a suitably qualified and experienced engineer

  • If it can be shown, or suspected, that a wall is dangerous then a local authority has powers under the Building Act to take action in respect of a dangerous structure

Full Report

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A correspondent's property is on a slope and has a large 3m boundary wall at the top of the garden. The neighbours on the other side have recently cut back part of the slope and piled the excess soil to a height 0.5m from the top of wall. The correspondent was concerned that the wall may be overloaded so contacted the council on the matter. It was the council's view that as there is no damage to the wall, so it was not a concern. Even though the council admitted there could be damage in future they are not willing to take any action. Surely there must be regulations as to misuse of retaining and freestanding boundary walls?

Expert Panel Comments

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Note that there have been numerous failures associated with freestanding and retaining masonry walls with serious consequences. A previous Alert was issued by the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) –Preventing the collapse of freestanding masonry walls

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