Skip to main content

CROSS Safety Alert

Effects of scale

Region: CROSS-UK, CROSS-AUS, CROSS-US Published: 1 November 2018


This Alert has been prompted by concerns raised about some particularly large structures and is based on evidence made known to SCOSS. However, the disclosures also prompted wider thinking about safety issues related to ‘scale’, so historical events are also discussed.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that many designers are unfamiliar with scale effects thus increasing the risk that safety and commercial aspects may be overlooked. Validation of our current design rules has largely been based on years of satisfactory building performance.

The recommendation from SCOSS is that a far better understanding of large structure performance is needed. Large structures being defined as those whose dimensions are such that effects that are not well understood or where secondary effects pose challenges.

Note: this Safety Alert was published by SCOSS (Standing Committee on Structural Safety). Since March 2021, SCOSS is integrated under the name Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures (CROSS).

Who should read this?

Principal Designers, civil and structural engineers, Principal Contractors, steelwork fabricators, building control engineers, HSE construction inspectors.

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.