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CROSS-AUS Newsletter 3 - February 2020

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Report Overview

Welcome to our 3rd Newsletter and an especial welcome to our growing list of subscribers. The NSW Government’s proposed Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 in response to the Shergold Weir Building Confidence Report is currently with the Legislative Assembly. To quote the NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson: It is the Government’s intention to create a robust registration scheme that delivers on the Shergold/Weir recommendations and applies to all types of practitioners who perform the function of preparing plans and making compliance declarations, including engineers. While the current focus and much of the discussion within EA is around registration, that is just a starting point and will not by itself ensure that the required standards of design and construction are being met. Being registered demonstrates that a certain level of competence and experience has been achieved. Mistakes will still be made and thus we must have rigorous processes of design and construction whereby each stage is independently checked and reviewed by competent engineers. The reports in this Newsletter cover a range of issues and you may have had similar experience with some of these such as cold-formed steel trusses (AUS-4), glazing systems (AUS-5) and carrying out modifications in old buildings (AUS-10). Problems related to maintenance of structures (or lack thereof) have been with us for a long time and AUS-12 poses the question – should a Maintenance Manual be included with the as-built documents for all structures? Issues around temporary works continue to give rise for concern; this time related to the erection of prefabricated concrete (AUS-11). A recent ENZ news item about a scaffold collapse in NZ should be read by all engineers involved with construction. It is very much about sharing lessons learned and concludes with the words: No one wants an accident on their watch, and it’s too late to do anything when it has happened. This has led to the formation of a Temporary Works Forum in NZ; there has been a very active Temporary Works Forum (TWf) in the UK for several years; there is one in HK; and one is being established in Australia. An even more serious collapse was that of the Pedestrian Bridge in Miami, Florida in 2018. The US National Transportation Safety Board has just released its final report which makes for sobering reading. CROSS will be making further comment on this in due course.

Overview of Reports in this Newsletter

AUS-12 Maintenance of multi-storey buildings

A correspondent notes that the issues currently affecting several high-rise buildings in Australia are inevitably focused on design, construction, and certification; whereas there are other issues relating to ongoing inspection, maintenance, and (ultimately) demolition which seem to have been ignored.

AUS-4 Light steel truss issues

A reporter believes that we need to raise awareness of some deficiencies in the light steel truss industry (trusses made from cold-formed steel sections).

AUS-5 Sliding glass door - two-part subhead failure

Called to inspect the failure of a glazed sliding door system a correspondent noted that the system is comprised of a two-part subhead, which includes a removable bead that relies on mere millimetres of bearing.

AUS-10 Near miss when modifying brickwork

A reporter’s experience of creating a new door opening in an existing brick wall on the first floor of an old building is not always as simple as it would appear.

AUS-13 Dislodged finger plate on highway bridge

A correspondent received a report about a 1.5m long section of a steel finger plate expansion joint on a highway bridge that had been inadequately fixed and became dislodged.

AUS-11 Design and erection of prefabricated (precast) concrete

A correspondent considers that there should always be an experienced temporary works designer for prefabricated concrete structures as many structural engineers do not consider the erection methodology when designing such structures.

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