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CROSS Safety Report

Wind on internal masonry walls during construction

Report ID: 82 Published: 1 October 2007 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

There has been a generic report from a contractor about internal masonry walls during construction following his experiences of failures.

Key Learning Outcomes

For civil and structural engineers:

  • The design of internal walls should consider the construction phase and whether the design should be governed by this, rather than the in-use phase

  • If the walls have been designed for the permanent condition highlight this on the drawings and the risk register

For construction professionals:

  • If the construction sequence subjects internal walls to greater wind pressures to what they have been designed for, then this should be raised with the design engineer

Full Report

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There has been a generic report from a contractor about internal masonry walls during construction following his experiences of failures. Such walls are generally designed to withstand internal wind pressures but are often built before the building envelope is complete. This subjects them to significantly higher loads.

The more competent contractors recognise this and provide additional restraints, such as wind posts. However, many contractors, according to the reporter, do not have the skills to do this and are unaware of the limitations of these walls. The reporter suggests that designers should be questioning the programming of structures to ensure that their walls will withstand the pressures predicted for a specified construction sequence.

Expert Panel Comments

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In these situations, the designer of the wall should consider the construction phase and whether the design should be governed by this, rather than the in-use phase. If the wall may be unstable during construction due to short-term wind loads this should be pointed out to the contractor if it is not reasonably practical to design out this load case. The problems may however be more likely to occur when there is no designer involved.

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