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Newsletter No 51 - July 2018

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Report Overview

Implications for Structural-Safety from the Hackitt Report The Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: final report from Dame Judith Hackitt sets out a vision for a cultural change in building safety. It recommends a model of risk ownership, with clear responsibilities for the Client, Designer, Contractor and Owner to demonstrate the delivery and maintenance of safe buildings. This is initially for HRRBs (Higher Risk Residential Buildings) but many of the changes will affect all buildings in due course. Whilst mechanisms exist to report safety issues around the structural integrity of a building there is no coherent approach to reporting issues during the construction or occupation of buildings. Similarly, there is no specific protection given to anyone (such as a resident) who wishes to raise a formal concern. Confidential reporting was recognised in the report as a model for obtaining safety information. To quote: “There is a steady flow of incident reporting to CROSS from structural engineers, indicating its relevance, but it relies on a skilled professional to recognise the issue and report it.” For all buildings, other than HRRBs, continues the report, the current CROSS scheme should be extended and strengthened to cover all engineering safety concerns and should be subject to formal review and reporting at least annually. There are many other recommendations covering: • Key roles and responsibilities; • Digital records of all work; • Tougher enforcement and sanctions; • More effective leadership and competence for building safety and integrity; • Clearer and more effective specification and testing of products. Within these is scope for influence from Structural-Safety, including CROSS and SCOSS, on not just technical competence, but to help provide the leadership that is required within the construction industry and fire safety sector to drive the shift in culture. A SCOSS Alert summarising the Hackitt Report will be published shortly. Very importantly, and key to many of the changes, will be a continuation of the flow of reports to CROSS. The number that we get is significant, and their value is enormous. However, more are needed, especially now, so this is your opportunity to help make a difference to improve quality and safety. Concerns about any safety aspect of design, procurement, construction, inspection, regulation, maintenance and operation of buildings and structures should be reported. Reports are confidential, so your name and the details of any company, site, or product mentioned, will not be revealed. This is not whistle-blowing but the sharing of information for the benefit of the public and the construction community. Send a confidential report of any safety issue that you have come across to Submit Report (https://www.structural-safety.org/confidential-reporting/submit-report/). In this Newsletter are reports reflecting some of the issues highlighted in the Hackitt Report; responsibilities on site, design and construction concerns, and responsibilities for existing structures. Alastair Soane, Director of Structural-Safety

Overview of Reports in this Newsletter

447 Fatal wall collapse at school due to 'wall climbing'

This report has been provided by HSE and once again highlights the potential dangers of freestanding masonry walls.

669 Light Gauge Steel Framing and responsibilities on site

As an increasingly popular method of supporting building envelopes, Light Gauge Steel Framing (LGSF) was utilised on the residential project in question.

734 Glass smoke screens and structural safety

A reporter was asked to investigate the spontaneous failure of glass smoke control screens at a major retail store.

662 Tower crane foundation design error

The author was asked by a Principal Contractor to undertake an independent design check for two tower crane foundations for a project.

704 Who takes responsibility for preventing a failure?

After reading the SCOSS Alert on Hazard identification for structural design, a reporter was prompted to write to CROSS about how various parties involved with structural safety sometimes see their responsibilities.

723 No responsibility for damaged footbridge

A small footbridge in a public car park has the centre of the web missing for the last metre on one beam, and at least half of flange missing for the middle 3m of the span.

776 Split responsibility for collapsed boundary wall adjacent to railway

A train driver reported striking debris from a collapsed wall in an urban location.

727 Questionable tension bracing arrangement

A reporter is concerned about the arrangement of diagonal tension bracing in one bay of a building.

756 Collapse of domestic glass balustrade due to inadequate fixings

A firm was asked to provide professional advice regarding the replacement of a glass balustrade which had collapsed.

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