CROSS Safety Report
Timber design concerns
This report is over 2 years old
A reporter says what he has seen of the quality of the structural engineering design of roofs in many hundreds of projects is lamentably low.
Key Learning Outcomes
For civil and structural design engineers:
It is important to recognise and know the boundaries of your expertise and work within the limits of your competence
The Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) recently published the following alert – Gross errors fears in structural timber design
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The Full Report below has been submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s experience. The text has been edited for clarity and to ensure anonymity and confidentiality by removing any identifiable details. 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.
Following the reports in Newsletter No 1 on concerns about the design standards for timber structures a further report was received on the same subject. The reporter has spent much of the last twenty years working for specialist timber engineering companies and judging by what they have seen of the quality of the structural engineering design of roofs in many hundreds of projects is lamentably low.
They describe problems with a truss roof over a small hall. They suggest that the reputation of the engineering profession would improve if companies followed ISO 9000 and only took on work that their staff were sufficiently trained and experienced to undertake. The reporter believes that local authority engineers do not always take the time to check what appear to be simple timber structures.
Expert Panel Comments
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Timber design and detailing is a specialised subject and the three reports so far received by CROSS indicate that there is an issue with competence to be considered further. The subject has previously been addressed by the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) in their alert – Gross errors fears in structural timber design, and so far as timber framed dwellings are concerned the National House Building Council (NHBC) have a relevant Technical Standard.
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