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619 Unrestrained stone cladding

Report ID: 619

Published: Newsletter No 46 - April 2017

Report Overview

A leisure complex completed in the early 2000s has a steel frame with infill panels of block covered with thin stone cladding and a person was injured when a large piece of cladding fell. Local investigation revealed that there were insufficient vertical or horizontal dowels to restrain the cladding.

Report Content

A leisure complex completed in the early 2000s has a steel frame with infill panels of block covered with thin stone cladding. A person was injured when a large piece of cladding fell. Local investigation revealed that there were insufficient vertical or horizontal dowels to restrain the cladding. Further investigations revealed this situation to be widespread across the building. There appears to have been a complete lack of awareness of the importance of proper dowelled restraint and a probable ignorance on the part of the cladding sub-contractor as to whether these small but critical elements were installed. The reporter believes that there was a complete lack of responsibility on the part of the main contractor in having proper supervision by informed site staff. The contract is beyond the latent defects period so the contractor has avoided his legal and moral duties to Society. The reporter’s firm are currently working through the building, examining areas thought to be at risk and installing remedial restraints or taking down and rebuilding. This example, continues the reporter, once again underlines the appalling state of our construction industry with untrained, incompetent and unregulated labour.  By not employing properly trained independent site supervision clients, he continues, also carry a responsibility. Until the construction industry and professionals face up to this ocean of indifference then CROSS Newsletter reports will flourish!

Comments

There is a general pattern in many CROSS reports that ‘secondary’ items do not receive the level of attention they deserve. All items of cladding are subjected to significant suction effects through life and as such must have a properly engineered and installed support system to transmit horizontal and vertical loadings. When such supports cannot be inspected post installation, the QA system should ensure that there is supervision and witnessing of adequate installation. Cladding support systems must be robustly engineered, and properly installed. There are proprietary fixings systems on the market with instructions on how they should be installed and inspected. Again, there are echoes of the Edinburgh schools (SCOSS Alert - Inquiry into the construction of Edinburgh Schools) problems in this case.


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