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CROSS Safety Report

Removal of internal structure

Report ID: 46 Published: 1 July 2006 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

The roof trusses, 6m above the ground floor, had been left supported on props made by nailing floor joists together; one at each party wall position.

Key Learning Outcomes

For the construction team:

  • Quality control and competent supervision on site can help to ensure that the structure is built in accordance with the design

  • Having a competent temporary works designer/adviser in place to supply an engineered solution can ensure all temporary works are carefully considered and planned

  • Verification of temporary works erection by a competent person who can oversee and coordinate the whole process can also ensure the works are installed correctly

Full Report

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A reporter was called to give a second opinion to a building control authority which had made a visit to a site to find that the whole of the internals of a two storey building had been completely removed. This was a building which had been a row of 3 or 4 shops in a longer terrace and all cross walls and the first floor had been removed. The front wall was approximately 18m long with no returns.

The roof trusses, 6m above the ground floor, had been left supported on props made by nailing floor joists together; one at each party wall position. There was possible evidence of wall plate movement on the front elevation. The building was liable to collapse and the road at the front was closed until the structure could be stabilised.

Several photographs were enclosed and Figure 1 shows one of the props spliced together from old floor joists.

Image
Figure 1: a prop spliced together from old floor joists

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.

This is one of several reports on dangerous temporary works during conversions of existing brick built buildings. It seems that whilst the designs for the final schemes are satisfactory and have building regulation approval, the contractors who have been involved have either not followed the designer’s intentions, or have not had their own method statement, or have simply not appreciated the possible consequences of inadequate temporary works.

Indeed, the Health and Safety executive (HSE) regards amateur house alterations as a significant area of risk and injury. In such cases if the structure is deemed to be dangerous a local authority can use its powers under the Building Act to make the property safe. Provisions that should have applied to the designers are the CDM Regulations, whilst the builders should have followed the CDM and CHSW Regulations.

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