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What To Report

There are two types of report that are of interest:

1. General

Those where there have been failures or collapses of structures or when concerns are felt about any part of the construction process or during the life of a structure.

2. Weather damage

Those where there has been damage to a building, structure or infrastructure related to buildings, due to the effects of weather.

General reports

 The concerns or lessons may arise from any specific design or construction experiences, or from a series of experiences indicating a trend. CROSS is also interested in reports relating to near misses or near hits, or observations relating to collapses where these have not been uncovered through formal investigation.

Small scale events are important as they can be the precursors to more major failures. No concern is too small to be reported and conversely nothing is too large.

Weather damage reports

Severe weather events have caused extensive damage and disruption to infrastructure and buildings with serious consequences for many. Creating a record of damage to buildings and structures has the support of DCLG and other government agencies in the UK to help formulate long term strategies for the Building Regulations. The CROSS system will be used for collecting and processing information and has been adapted to gather the data needed.

It is recognised that climate change is having effects which may manifest themselves in weather events that result in damage. This study is not concerned with the reasons for climate change but only whether the consequences might lead to changes in regulations and practices.

A key feature of the main CROSS system is its entirely confidential nature designed to encourage engineers to give information about concerns.  For the weather damage reports the name and address of the reporter will be confidential but the location of a damage site will be recorded for co-ordination with weather data for the area at the time damage was caused.

We are therefore interested in damage caused to buildings and building related infrastructure by weather events. These can be sudden actions such as tornadoes or lightning strikes, or longer term events such as floods. The aim is to gather information that can be used to assess the capability of our buildings to withstand the weather patterns that may be becoming more common.

Reports can be of any length and should describe what has happened. A report starts with a title which should give an idea of what is to follow such as; " Flood damage to house", or "Roof collapse under snow load". The description should include a location of the event, either a post code or a place name. Then there should be some details of what happened, what was damaged, and the scale of the damage. Was there a complete collapse which will require re-building, or was the damage relatively minor. State what was damaged and give the cause. Information about the magnitude of an event will be helpful such as; amount of rainfall, wind force, or temperature.

We will classify the reports so that data can be assembled for analysis.

Reports should draw attention to:

  • description of incident or near miss
  • lessons learned (or identified) which will help others to contribute to a safer industry
  • concerns which may require industry or regulatory action

Safety-related concerns may involve:

  • the reporter
  • other people
  • their organisation
  • other organisations that they deal with

Reports should not be submitted on:

  • criminal activities (which should be reported to the police or the Health & Safety Executive)
  • issues involving personality conflicts
  • industrial relations and/or terms and conditions of employment problems
  • occupational health or safety issues

Urgent safety concerns

  • CROSS cannot provide advice on urgent matters which should be raised within the reporter's organisation

What to Report

Appointment of consultants or contractors

  • inappropriate appointment eg not enough experience or relevant experience
  • inadequate brief
  • insufficient fees or resources to do the job properly
  • complexity of project not sufficiently appreciated

Design process

  • investigations not thorough enough
  • analysis or design not sufficiently rigorous
  • inappropriate use of software or modelling
  • computer results that are ambiguous or unusual
  • use of unproven materials or techniques
  • conflicts with regulations or codes of practice
  • inadequate checking, reviewing, or QA
  • design responsibilities passed on

Construction process

  • inadequate or insufficient drawings
  • inadequate training and experience levels of staff
  • lack of involvement and authority for resident engineers
  • divided responsibilities leading to confusion
  • unsafe temporary works and falsework
  • poor workmanship
  • unsuitable materials
  • not using products in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • supervision levels inadequate
  • dangerous construction conditions
  • near misses and near hits

Operation and maintenance

  • no information available on design or construction
  • refurbishments and alterations made without proper consideration
  • frequency and scope of inspections
  • insufficient budget to address structural concerns
  • unusual dynamic behaviour
  • premature deterioration or undue corrosion
  • indications of instability
  • unexpected deflections or deformations
  • fixing or component failures
  • components that cannot be inspected
  • near misses and near hits

Weather events

  • extreme rainfall
  • flooding (including tidal and surge effects)
  • freezing temperatures
  • ground movement (earthquakes, sink holes, subsidence etc)
  • high temperatures
  • moisture (rising damp, condensation, etc)
  • other
  • snow/sleet/hail/ice

Parts of building that might be damaged

  • brickwork/blockwork/stonework
  • drains
  • fixings
  • fixtures/fittings
  • foundations
  • ground floor
  • gutters/downpipes
  • not known
  • other
  • roof
  • stairs
  • structural frame
  • upper floors
  • wall cladding
  • walls
  • windows
   

When to Report

Reports do have to be about current activities so long as they are relevant. CROSS needs information all the time and whenever an incident occurs, or a concern is felt, then it can be reported. CROSS is not a substitute for internal reporting processes but is in addition and is the only independent organisation for collecting and publishing safety related reports.

Procedure

Reports can be sent by post or by email and are opened in confidence. The description within the report is copied but without the reporter's name, and information that might be used to identify the name of an employer, the location of a project (except for weather damage reports), or the names of any individuals or products mentioned by the reporter is removed to create a de-identified report. These are also known as anonymised reports. The director may email or telephone the reporter (at the reporter's contact number) to ask for more data on technical aspects. Only de-identified reports are used for the Newsletters and database.

Publication

De-identified reports are categorised and kept on a database for review by a CROSS panel of experts to detect trends, and to provide commentary for the Newsletters.  These are published quarterly and links are sent to subscribers on the date that each one is released. To become a subscriber go to the Registration section. The information in the Newsletters can be used by individuals, firms and organisations, to avoid future problems of the same kind and improve the quality of their engineering. SCOSS will, as a result of analysing the data received, use its influence with Industry, Institutions, and Government to effect changes where this is seen to bring sustainable benefit by improving structural safety. SCOSS publishes biennial reports with overviews of concerns and recommendations for mitigating these.

 

 

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How to Report

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