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CROSS Safety Report

Girder collapse

Report ID: 30 Published: 1 March 2006 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

The failure was of a two-storey high trussed girder with a 36m span, designed to carry a composite steel and concrete floor at the lower level and a trussed roof at higher level.

Key Learning Outcomes

For civil and structural design engineers:

  • Consider how the design intent can be effectively communicated to contractors on site, particularly on high risk or complex projects

  • On projects where there is a high level of uncertainty over the design approach, consider attending site to oversee the works

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The South African Institute of Steel Construction (www.saisc.co.za) has given permission for the following description to be published, and a full report can be obtained from them. The failure was of a two-storey high trussed girder with a 36m span, designed to carry a composite steel and concrete floor at the lower level and a trussed roof at higher level.

Members were formed by making box sections from 200mm x 200mm angles (L8x8). Collapse was initiated by the failure of a welded joint connecting the first diagonal member to the top chord of the truss, and as a result many persons were injured. The suggested reasons for failure included differences between designer’s and contractors’ drawings, workmanship issues, an agreement to use partial penetration welds although these could not be made in practice, and the decision to fabricate the truss on site so that overhead welds were necessary.

Expert Panel Comments

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This emphasises the need for co-ordination between designers and constructors and the need to consider the practicalities of on-site welding.

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