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CROSS Safety Report

Wall collapse during house demolition

Report ID: 608 Published: 1 April 2017 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

A reporter describes how poor demolition practice resulted in a wall falling onto a neighbouring property.

Key Learning Outcomes

For construction professionals and demolition contractors:

  • It is good practice to carry out a risk assessment and method statement (RAMS) for all demolition activities. This can ensure measures are put in place to protect neighbouring properties against falling debris.

  • All demolition, dismantling and structural alterations should be carefully planned and carried out in a way that prevents danger by practitioners with the relevant skills, knowledge and experience

Full Report

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Poor demolition practice resulted in a wall falling onto a neighbouring property. A flank wall of a house, in the process of being demolished, collapsed and fell onto the neighbouring land, according to a reporter, with the wall hinging and landing in its entirety on a lean-to kitchen roof of the neighbouring house. Some 30 bricks crashed through a kitchen sky light landing on kitchen units and flooring.

The collapse of the wall would appear to result from the demolition contractor using the bucket of a digger to try and ‘fold’ (pull) the wall inwards, but it seems that the digger bucket accidentally pushed the wall outwards, hence it collapsed in the wrong direction. The properties are traditional solid masonry build of Edwardian construction. Fortunately, no one was in the kitchen at the time.

Expert Panel Comments

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Damage to adjacent properties is not uncommon during demolition work and in some cases has resulted in casualties and fatalities. It is essential that demolition contractors carry out a proper risk assessment before starting work and put in place protection against falling debris.

The law says that all demolition, dismantling and structural alteration must be carefully planned and carried out in a way that prevents danger by practitioners with the relevant skills, knowledge and experience.

All demolition, dismantling and structural alteration must be carefully planned and carried out in a way that prevents danger by practitioners with the relevant skills, knowledge and experience

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