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CROSS Safety Report

Unstable building due to modification work

Report ID: 69 Published: 1 February 2007 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

A SCOTCROSS report relates to an old four storey building undergoing modifications.

Key Learning Outcomes

For homeowners and builders:

  • Be aware that creating an opening in a wall (internal and perimeter walls) can affect the stability of the building

  • A suitably qualified engineer should be consulted to carry out an assessment prior to undertaking any works on site

Full Report

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A SCOTCROSS report relates to an old four storey building undergoing modifications. Part of the rear wall at ground floor level had been removed and insufficient propping had been provided resulting in floors at first floor level moving downwards quite significantly. The building had become potentially unstable.

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.

A problem that again illustrates the need for caution when amending old buildings and one which has previously been mentioned in these Newsletters. The parties involved must be competent to undertake the task; the planning of the project should include a competent structural engineer designer to assess the sequence, interim stability and overall safety issues.

The difficulty may well have been that there was no engineering input or that the builder was not experienced enough to recognise the risks. The Health and Safety Executive and CROSS are looking at ways of raising awareness about such problems amongst builders and DIY enthusiasts. Further reports on this topic would be welcomed and will assist with the development of guidance.

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Our secure and confidential safety reporting system gives professionals the opportunity to share their experiences to help others.