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Newsletter No 2 - March 2006

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Report Overview

There was a good response to the first Newsletter with messages of support and encouragement from many engineers. Several thousand hits were made on the web site and further reports were made on concerns prompted by the publication and on new topics. Several reports were from overseas, and although the scheme is initially aimed at UK concerns, these are welcome. Some engineers used the confidential facility and posted reports to CROSS, whilst others were happy to send them by email. In every case the identity of the reporter is removed together with any identifying features relating to organisations, sites, or products and they may be condensed. They are then reviewed by experienced engineers from SCOSS, who are representative of the industry, and make the comments that are published. The long term objective is for SCOSS to determine adverse trends and to then take action to improve matters, whilst recognizing that most projects are designed, constructed, and maintained in a safe and proper matter. Until there are sufficient reports to do this the ‘comments’ that are given in Newsletter should be read in that light. When SCOSS has detected trends then full responses will be made to the relevant organisations. However there will be common issues at every stage and one that has already appeared in several reports is the effectiveness of communication between designers and sites. It is hoped that after reading the Newsletters engineers will be reminded of other instances that caused them concern and will pass these on as reports.

Overview of Reports in this Newsletter

Structural Steel - Reinforced Concrete Interface

The reporter describes circumstances on site where organisations had different priorities. A client demanding instant progress, a main contractor with an inexperienced site manager, a steelwork contractor responsible for fabrication only and a steelwork erection subcontractor.

Steel Portal Frame Erection

A project involved the construction of a large span steel framed portal frame building in which longitudinal stability was provided by triangulated vertical side bracings and triangulated bracings in the plane of the rafters.

28 Differing reinforcement couplers

On a recent project, because of supply problems, the contractor decided to change from the specified rebar couplers (type ‘A’) to those of another manufacturer (type ‘B’).

23 Small bridge inspection

Corrosion on a small bridge.

27 Pre-cast concrete demolition

During the demolition of a tower block, a column collapsed unexpectedly.

25 Steelwork connection design

A reporter was asked to design connections for a multi-storey building for which the frame had been designed by another engineer. The result was a near collapse situation.

21 Timber designs

A reporter says what he has seen of the quality of the structural engineering design of roofs in many hundreds of projects is lamentably low.

30 Girder collapse

The failure was of a two-storey high trussed girder with a 36m span, designed to carry a composite steel and concrete floor at the lower level and a trussed roof at higher level.

22 Mobile phone masts

The concern of an overseas reporter is that erection, foundation design and construction, and maintenance of mobile phone masts are not carried out adequately.

31 Materials falling from old buildings - SCOTCROSS

The SCOTCROSS scheme started in the summer of 05 and in the first 6 months more than 250 reports were received from 17 Scottish Local Authorities about objects falling, or in danger of falling, from buildings.

41 Local authority checking

A reporter, having been employed by several small engineering companies, is of the view that consulting engineers routinely rely on local authority building control departments to check their work in lieu of proper in-house quality control.

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