CROSS Safety Report
Incorrect fabrication of balustrade connection
A reporter describes how threaded bars were incorrectly used for a balustrade fixing instead of bolts which led to failure of the connection.
Key Learning Outcomes
For the construction team:
- Any alterations to structural connections should be approved by the designer prior to works being carried out on site
- Quality control and competent supervision along with a well documented inspection regime on site can help to ensure that structural components are built in accordance with the design
- Consider introducing a quality control procedure for the inspection of safety critical elements being delivered to ensure they are the correct ones as specified on the construction drawings
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To satisfy Local Building Control and replicate the existing aesthetics the balustrade post connection had a hidden detail, says a reporter. The detail consisted of an M12 bolt inside the post, with a non-structural weld to prevent the bolt from turning when tightening the nut.
During installation a bolt was being tightened when a weld cracked and a threaded bar, which was supposed to be a M12 bolt, was revealed. A selection of posts were then destructively tested by cutting the welded post off (Figure 1) and it was found that all posts had been fabricated using M12 threaded bar, instead of an M12 bolt specified in the design.
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