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634 Contractor installs incorrect steel grade

Report ID: 634

Published: Newsletter No 50 - April 2018

Report Overview

A reporter came across an issue where the fabricator had used cold formed S235 commodity steel SHS rather than the specified hot formed S275 structural steel SHS.

Report Content

A reporter came across an issue where the fabricator had used cold formed S235 commodity steel SHS rather than the specified hot formed S275 structural steel SHS. The change was discovered during a review of material certificates, after the job was finished.

The project, in a football stadium, was for gantries to hold sound and lighting equipment (with access for technicians) slung beneath the stadium roof directly over the public seating. Apparently, the fabricator had difficulty getting the S275 steel and the steel stockholder told him the S235 was easily available and an acceptable alternative.

The reporter did not agree, and the gantries had to be replaced using the correct grade of steel. An expensive lesson for the contractor but sadly all too common says the reporter.

Comments

It is not possible to distinguish different grades of steel simply by looking at them. Likewise, it is not possible to distinguish different grades of concrete just by looking at the cast material. To overcome this, it is important to operate a proper QA/QC system to assure that what is built is what it is intended would be built. There needs to be detailed specifications of workmanship and materials, and inspection and test plans to provide quality control to meet those specified requirements.

This report also has echoes of a comment made for Report 736 about the vital importance of change control: never change anything unless the designer has agreed. This is a Golden Rule in temporary works management (BS5975 refers), where the Temporary Works Coordinator has a stated duty to ensure that design intent equals constructed manifestation.

 

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