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Safety of structures in the climate emergency



In the current climate emergency and the race to achieve zero emissions, we must ensure our structures remain safe as we develop and implement any climate-motivated innovation or change of approach.

This Theme Page will be used to both collate content around this topic and to allow professionals to share safety issues for others to learn from.

In 2019, engineering consultancies around the world began to respond to government declarations of a climate emergency by declaring their own Climate and Biodiversity Emergency, which CROSS supports. One of the commitments of the organisations signed up to in the declarations is to share knowledge and research on an open source basis.

Share your experiences of climate emergency related safety issues

CROSS are seeking safety reports related to this topic to add to the knowledge hub below.

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

Knowledge hub

This knowledge hub presents safety information from CROSS and third party organisations related to the climate emergency. CROSS are interested in sharing safety information on this topic, including safety information related to:

  • designing, constructing and managing structures in response to the climate emergency
  • designing with new and emerging materials
  • the design and construction of leaner, lower-material structures e.g. through the use of reduced loading, decreased factors of safety, advanced analysis methods etc.
  • the impact of climate change on existing structures, including how structures are adapted and managed to combat the effects of climate change
  • designing and constructing new structures to combat the effects of climate change
  • the reuse and life extension of existing structures
  • the use of off-site manufacture and modern methods of construction (MMC)
  • designing and constructing structures for a longer design life and/or to be more adaptable

If you would like to suggest safety related information that could be published on this Theme Page, please contact


The risk of collapse of multi-storey CLT buildings during a fire

A reporter presents concerns about the fire safety of multi-storey buildings comprised of cross-laminated timber (CLT) structures.

Structures at risk from scour and erosion

Following some recent structural failures, a reporter is concerned that asset owners may not fully realise risks associated with scour and erosion.

Effects of scale

This Alert has been prompted by concerns raised about some particularly large structures and is based on evidence made known to SCOSS.

Responsibilities for hybrid concrete construction

Concerns are raised after a substantial precast element, weighing over 10t, had been placed in position and used as part of the shuttering for an in-situ pour without it being designed to act as a shutter.

Risks from off-site manufacture and hybrid construction

A reporter was recently investigating a ‘near miss’ involving concrete construction in which pre-cast and in-situ concrete were used in combination.

Dangerous alterations to steel beam supports

A local authority building control officer went to site and witnessed on an upper floor that the columns had been removed out of sequence, before the new frame had been constructed.

Structures at the end of their design life

Design life varies according to the type and use of a structure. A structure should retain fitness for purpose as it approaches and passes its design life or changes use.

Snow loading in Scotland - summary of reports

There were heavy snowfalls over the entire United Kingdom in the winters of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 and CROSS received a number of reports, mostly from Scotland where a significant number of buildings suffered roof collapses.

Assessment and inspection of buildings

SCOSS has been concerned for some time (2003) at the potential for deterioration of buildings and other facilities during their working lives such that there results an inadequate reserve of strength against collapse of the whole or part of the structure.

From third party organisations

Responsible Use of Materials – The Structural Engineers’ Path to Climate Change Mitigation

In response to the European legal framework for propelling sustainable investment, the VPI has published a memo on the responsible use of materials; The Structural Engineers’ Path to Climate Change Mitigation.

Structural fire safety when responding to the climate emergency

Luke Bisby urges structural engineers to improve their understanding of ‘fire resistance’ as the profession looks to innovate rapidly in response to climate change.

Structural safety when designing lean in the climate emergency

The IStructE Safety, Health and Wellbeing Panel considers the safety implications when aspiring to a lean design.

Submit a report

Your report will make a difference. It will help to create positive change and improve safety.

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