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CROSS Safety Report

Inability of roller shutter doors to resist wind pressures

Report ID: 663 Published: 1 July 2017 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

Concerns are raised after two sets of roller shutter doors failed within weeks of installation at winds far below the design pressures.

Key Learning Outcomes

For civil and structural design engineers:

  • Where specialist systems such as large roller shutter doors are used, it is beneficial to have a close working relationship with the supplier from the earliest opportunity to ensure design requirements are met

For construction professionals:

  • Consider introducing a quality control procedure on site that will ensure constructions materials and elements are of the required quality and meet the design requirements

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A reporter is working on buildings located in a mountainous region of Scotland. Two buildings had sets of roller shutter doors specified for 3.5kN/m² up to 10m span. These both failed within weeks of installation at winds far below the pressures that would be normal for buildings set in England and Wales. Two other companies offered to replace the doors with new roller-shutter type doors, yet their products again fell far short of the specified design requirements.

A third company has solutions involving stacked steel beams joined with material that can be designed for almost any required pressures. It would appear to the reporter that doors have been, and are still being, supplied and installed without anyone noticing that they cannot meet the standards for the rest of the building.

It may be several years before winds reach levels and directions to test their capacity. Obviously, with mean average temperatures shooting up past 1.5°C above temperatures used for statistical analysis for the wind codes, the chance of very high winds will increase significantly.

When doors which are dominant openings fail, the increase in pressures will place the cladding and the structure at risk. The reporter would be grateful for some feedback on whether CROSS has received previous reports on this subject.

When doors which are dominant openings fail, the increase in pressures will place the cladding and the structure at risk

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.

CROSS have a scheme to receive reports of extreme weather conditions and so far, little data has been received so this report is welcome. If you have experienced a safety issue due to the effects of weather that others can learn from, please submit a report. Your report will make a difference.

An interesting feature is the wind pressure of 3.5 kN/ which is extremely high. The ability for a roller shutter door to sustain such pressures over a 10m span would be extremely exacting if the intent was to sustain no damage. A potential design route for safety might be to accept that the door panels were damaged (deformed) under extreme conditions but retained in place to assure prevention of a dominant opening effect.

Indeed, doors of sufficiently robust construction to withstand such a load would have to be so heavy as to be difficult to operate. To answer the reporter’s question CROSS have not received any similar reports so any feedback would be appreciated.

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