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Newsletter No 45 - January 2017

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Report Overview

Relationships with the Temporary Works Forum have been strengthened as a result of Structural-Safety becoming an Invited member. This category is exercised at the discretion of the Directors and is awarded to an individual or organisation (not currently a Member) which, in the Directors’ view, deserves special recognition in some way for its contribution to temporary works. We look forward to sharing information on improving safety in this area. New contacts have been made with CABE, the Chartered Association of Building Engineers, who have become a supporter, and many of whose members become involved with the safety of buildings during construction. On an international front a meeting has been held with AQC, Agence Qualité Construction, based in Paris on future co-operation. Mathew Syeed of the Times recently interviewed Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who landed an Airbus A320 on the Hudson River in 2009, saving the lives of 155 crew and passengers after an engine failure. He talked about how the impressive safety record in aviation is based upon constant learning from accidents and near-miss events, a method, he said, which other industries would do well to follow. He also talked about how he had trained his brain to think calmly under stress, even as his blood pressure shot up and perception narrowed. Most striking, however, was his sense of duty. He walked the plane twice, even as it was filling with water, to ensure everyone had got out, and refused to do TV interviews, despite feverish media interest, until everyone had been accounted for. “My primary responsibility was to those under my care,” he said. “That was my focus from the moment we landed to the moment I could be sure everyone was safe.” Aviation safety was the model for establishing CROSS and it is heartening to be reminded of how methods of constantly learning from others can, in a very practical way, help to save lives. CROSS is also 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. This study is not concerned with the reasons for climate change but only whether the consequences might lead to changes in regulations and practices. Reports can be made here. Indeed the success of the CROSS programme depends on receiving reports, and individuals and firms are encouraged to participate by sending concerns in confidence to Structural-Safety.

Overview of Reports in this Newsletter

612 Number of near misses and the regulatory regime

A reporter is concerned about the number of investigations on which he is working, or of which he is aware, but most cannot be reported to CROSS because of legal or insurance constraints. He sees an increasing number of actual failures, including collapses, and an increasing number of near misses.

614 Columns missing due to 3-D modelling

A new 8-storey residential concrete frame building is being constructed and several columns have been omitted from the ground and first floor level drawings, says a reporter. Without the columns, a 225mm thick RC slab was being asked to span up to 14m.

581 Requirement for CDM Safety Files to be transferred

The whole point of the Safety Files prescribed under the CDM Regulations, says a reporter, is that they shall be of assistance in the future, to owners and operators of buildings and other structures. They are not simply a chore to be signed off at the end of a complicated job.

610 High mast light poles at all UK sites

Five High Mast Light Poles (HMLPs) were removed from a public site as it was considered that there was a possibility of collapse. One was a particularly obvious risk because about half of the nuts on its anchor bolts were not fully engaged.

579 Further report on freezing of water in hollow sections

A reporter has a further warning on the issue of freeze/thaw cracking following report 434 in CROSS Newsletter No 36. His firm encountered a similar problem on a UK project and investigated the matter.

575 Scaffold overturn

This concerns a 5m high scaffold screened with fabric that was erected to protect against debris and dust from adjacent demolition works of the arched structures below a building. When the demolition broke through into the arched structure, airflow was introduced producing horizontal load on the scaffold which overturned.

599 Heritage balustrade

A reporter is hoping that Structural-Safety might be able to help with some research for a heritage project. The issue is how to treat an ornate cast-iron balustrade guarding a stone interlock stair, which is an important historic feature of the building.

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