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CROSS Safety Report

Temporary instability of columns

Report ID: 872 Published: 2 February 2023 Region: CROSS-UK


Concerns were raised by a reporter on the temporary stability of concrete columns during construction. 

Key Learning Outcomes

For principal contractors, contractors and subcontractors:

  • It is good practice to carry out a risk assessment and method statement (RAMS) for all construction activities. This can ensure the sequencing of work activities such as concrete frame erection are carefully considered and planned.
  • If you alter any structural elements on-site or methods of construction, such as changing from in-situ concrete to precast concrete, discuss these changes with the primary designer to see if there are any implications
  • Having a competent temporary works designer/adviser in place to supply an engineered solution can ensure all temporary works are carefully considered and planned

For civil and structural design engineers:

  • Speak to the contractor about your proposed construction methodology, highlighting any particular areas of risk or uncertainty that they should be aware of
  • If a contractor wants to change your proposed construction methodology, work with them to check how it impacts your design 

Full Report

Find out more about the Full Report

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.


For the construction of a concrete framed building, the contractor choose to adopt precast concrete stairs as opposed to in-situ concrete stairs for the external cores. The reporter says that a problem then arose because the in-situ external concrete columns for the core were cast without the precast stairs and half landings in place. Therefore, the external columns were unrestrained for several stories, resulting in potential instability. 

The precast stairs and half landings should have been installed concurrently with pouring the in-situ columns so that the columns are always restrained. Once the issue was brought to the attention of the contractor, they introduced temporary struts to restrain the column.

Expert Panel Comments

Find out more about the Expert Panels

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.

For Expert Panel Comments refer to CROSS Report 789.

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