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A Year in Reports: The top 10 most read CROSS Safety Reports of 2023 (Part 2)

Region: CROSS-UK Published: 28 December 2023

Goodbye to 2023! From RAAC, to CLT to Battery Energy Storage Systems; join us as we continue our countdown of some of our most viewed Safety Reports of the last twelve months, including a few you may have missed the first time around.

5. Collapse of an usual hybrid and steel stand truss on school roof

One of our most read reports during the year, this concerns the collapse of a school hall roof which resulted from the failure of one of a number of unusual hybrid concrete and steel strand trusses. The failure resulted in the collapse of the supported flat roof local to the failed truss, and damage to the adjacent structure and roof.

An important lesson to be learned is that owners and responsible persons should inspect and assess older buildings to see if they contain unusual forms of construction.

4. Battery Energy Storage System concerns

Back in May, a reporter informed CROSS about issues that emerged, and had to be resolved, in the design and management of Battery Energy Storage Systems. These included emergency water supply, signage, and detection and alarm systems.

It was recommended that designers and owners of such schemes should engage at an early stage with Fire and Rescue Services.

3. Apparently simple home improvement work leads to a dangerous situation

Apparently simple home improvement work, consisting of reroofing and a loft conversion, resulted in a 'near miss' with potentially dangerous conditions for neighbours as detailed in this Report from August.

The gas flue to an adjoining property was blocked by debris leading to the clear message that work should not be undertaken on any part of a chimney without checking whether the flues are in use.

2. ‘Design’ for alterations of dwelling carried out by an unsuitable person

A reporter was called upon to review a design for the removal of a loadbearing wall during the refurbishment of a residence. A builder was already on site but had stopped work since they considered the engineering design to be unsatisfactory and the structural designer was not responding to their queries.

The reporter found that the structural design being followed was far from suitable and demonstrates that owners and clients should be satisfied that the designers they appoint are suitably qualified and experienced.

1. RAAC assessment undertaken by persons not suitably experienced

In a year dominated by RAAC, it’s no surprise that this report takes the number one slot. Published in August, it describes a situation where a reinforced aerated autoclaved concrete (RAAC) assessment was carried out by persons who did not appear to have appropriate experience, potentially putting building users at risk of harm.

CROSS provided an early warning of RAAC problems with their Alert in 2019: Failure of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) planks and the IStructE Study Group has subsequently guidance on investigation and assessment. It is vitally important that if RAAC is suspected an assessment should be made by a Chartered Structural or Civil engineer familiar with working on such structures.

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