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CROSS-AUS Newsletter 4 - August 2020

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Report Overview

In this issue we present seven new reports and panel commentary specific to Australia and New Zealand practices. It is very heartening to see the increasing engagement of the profession. Clearly there is a strong appetite to learn from each other so that together we can enhance both public safety and the safety of those involved in construction and maintenance work. The CROSS-AUS team continues to promote and share our mission with an expanding pool of stakeholders, and we are grateful to many of you for helping us to share this message. This issue’s reports cover construction, design, and inspections. In construction, AUS-14, AUS-15, and AUS-20 highlight that temporary structures such as metal decking, crane bases and reinforcing cages are safety-critical and require proper attention to quality control design checks. AUS-18, AUS-19, and AUS-22 identify potential safety issues with designs for glass balustrades, light gauge steel ductility, and GFRP reinforcement. Finally, AUS-21 raises an intriguing question about the ‘inspectability’ of the voids incorporated into Super-T bridge construction. Given that there are so many of these structural forms in the bridge network, it is an important question to pose to both designers and owners. One of our main goals of CROSS-AUS is to stimulate conversations around structural safety. For this reason, Report AUS-22 which is in response to AUS-4 is particularly encouraging to the team. However, the challenges that we are all facing at present, as COVID-19 changes how we work, pose deep questions about the potential structural safety impacts: are the new forms of working leading to equivalently robust design office checks? Quality control checks? Site inspections? In this time of rapid change, we must take a moment to step back and double-check that our safety assurance processes are being maintained and even made more resilient where possible. On a different note, readers may be interested to read the paper Once Upon a Time in Italy: The Tale of the Morandi Bridge which has recently won the 2020 Outstanding Paper Award in the journal Structural Engineering International, published by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE). The paper reviews the design and construction of the bridge, culminating in a remarkable use of the Applied Element Method to match the actual debris patterns with those from hypothesized causes of failure. A fascinating read.

Overview of Reports in this Newsletter

AUS-21 Inspection and maintenance of Super-T bridge girders

Durability and maintenance of bridge Super-T girders with particular reference to the lack of access to inspect the sealed internal cavities.

AUS-19 GFRP reinforcement in concrete structures

A correspondent has become aware of work being undertaken in the field of glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) reinforcement as a substitute for steel rebar in concrete structures and is deeply concerned by what they have observed.

AUS-18 High rise balustrade design

Design of balustrades on high rise buildings with particular reference to wind loads and glass infill panels.

AUS-22 Light gauge steel fabrication

Referring to Report AUS-4, Light steel truss issues, this reporter has concerns about the low ductility of the high tensile steel, in particular with respect to connection design and capacity.

AUS-14 Overloading metal decking in temporary state

During construction of steel structures with composite metal decking floors, a reporter has observed numerous occasions when the metal decking was close to being overloaded.

AUS-15 Insufficient attention to the construction of tower crane bases

While working on construction sites a reporter was involved with tower crane bases supported on piles with pile caps and pedestals with cast-in anchors. Unfortunately several crane bases had significant construction defects and the reporter gives three examples.

AUS-20 Collapse of a reinforcing cage

The reinforcing cage to a blade pier for an overpass bridge collapsed without warning when nearing completion.

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