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CROSS Safety Report

Issues for CDM co-ordinators

Report ID: 118 Published: 1 January 2009 Region: CROSS-UK

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A reporter feels that a lack of finance is being invested in the long-term maintenance for structures and that this is a difficult issue for the CDM co-ordinator to raise with the client.

Key Learning Outcomes

For policy makers:

  • Maintenance of existing structures should be given adequate attention to improve safety, reliability and longevity

  • Regular inspections and maintenance regimes can help keep a structure safe and help identify any obvious safety issues that may need to be addressed

For designers and engineers:

  • Ensuring buildability, providing for durability and maintenance, and environmental impact, should be carefully considered and planned for at the design stage

Full Report

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This section contains the Full Report submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s concerns or experiences. However, the text has been edited for clarity, and identifiable details have been removed to ensure anonymity and confidentiality. If you would like to know more about our secure reporting process, or submit a report yourself, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.


A correspondent has written at length on issues of competence and his letter is summarised below:

The lesson of many failures is that poor detailing and joint failure commonly precipitate serious collapses. These may arise as straightforward structural deficiencies as exemplified by the spectacular failures of the Boulevard de la Concord Bridge in Quebec (2006) or the Minneapolis Bridge (2007), or they may be exacerbated by deficiencies in maintenance or poor design that inhibits the ability to inspect and maintain.

Again, the de la Concord Bridge is an example, or the Piper’s Row car park collapse in Wolverhampton (1997). To reduce the risk of such events occurring, one of the key items identified by CROSS has been the need for designers to have competence both in design and construction and competence in foreseeing the longer-term needs of the maintenance of a structure.

Life-cycle considerations are vital. Contractor’s competence, in relation to the failure information, relates to quality control of the construction elements. Having the right skills and being adequately supervised is of prime importance. However, comments in CROSS illustrate the lack of finance that is invested in long-term maintenance. This is a difficult issue for the CDM co-ordinator to raise with the client but when acknowledged, and acted upon, the quality of buildings will be improved.

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.

It appears to be the case that designers regard getting adequate strength as their key function. Ensuring buildability, providing for durability and maintenance, and environmental impact, are often not given enough attention.

All parties to a project have a responsibility to consider the necessary competencies for the work in hand. Designers and CDM co-ordinators must also consider the whole-life aspects of the facility.

Both these topics are well set out in the Industry and guidance is provided in the following:

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