CROSS Safety Report
Precast concrete demolition
This report is over 2 years old
During the demolition of a tower block, a column collapsed unexpectedly.
Key Learning Outcomes
For construction professionals:
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
Risk assessments for demolition should highlight whether or not as-built information, if it exists, is reliable.
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During the demolition of a tower block, a column arrangement collapsed. All were aware of the form of construction and temporary stability requirements. However, there were deficiencies in the original construction because the columns were precast and the joints had not been grouted.
On removal of the load from above, the column became unstable. The reporter comments that there is a lesson for all to share here – when dealing with precast concrete demolition (or any demolition) take a pessimistic view of the construction quality.
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Expert Panel Comments
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There is a recurrent theme of weakness in demolition because it is an inherently risky business. Risk assessments for demolition should highlight whether or not as-built information, if it exists, is reliable.