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CROSS Safety Report

Further demolition collapse

Report ID: 90 Published: 1 January 2008 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

This report is of an incident that occurred recently in a UK city when a floor suffered a structural collapse during the demolition of a reinforced concrete building.

Key Learning Outcomes

For clients and the construction team:

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

  • Be aware that structures may have been susceptible to poor detailing and construction, as well as degradation over time which may need to be accounted for prior to demolition

  • Stockpiling of demolition material and access ramps formed from crushed concrete should be adequately controlled to ensure the structure is not overloaded

Full Report

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This report is of an incident that occurred recently in a UK city when a floor suffered a structural collapse during the demolition of a reinforced concrete building (Figure 1 and 2). Three small excavators fell down at least one floor and one of the site personnel was injured and three others were rescued. The cause has still to be ascertained.

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Figure 1: collapsed floors during demolition
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Figure 2: close up view of collapsed floor

Expert Panel Comments

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It is not known in this instance whether the collapse was due to a shortfall in the design, or in the manner of demolition adopted. It can be seen from the picture that one column protrudes through the floor slab which may indicate shear failure around the column head. This report reinforces the fact, which is backed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics, that demolition risks are amongst the highest in construction activities. A review of proposed demolition procedures by a structural engineer should always be carried out. Notice should also be given to the local authority whenever demolition is planned.

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