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Newsletter No 16 - October 2009

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Report Overview

Our new website (www.cross-structural-safety.org) has now been launched. It is a major step forward in the wider dissemination of CROSS information. There are many new features, key amongst which are the ease of use and the database which contains reports published in our Newsletters, and reports and papers published by SCOSS. Registration is very simple – just a name and an email address, and there is a feedback facility for those who want to comment on anything to do with structural safety. Reporting both online and offline has been streamlined with advice on ‘What to Report’ and ‘How to Report’. Most importantly the database can be interrogated using a ‘Quick search’ button or a more sophisticated search by report origin or classification. The categories have been chosen to represent the main areas of interest related to structural safety and as further reports are received the breadth of content will increase and the more useful the database will become. This Newsletter has extracts from an important investigation in the US on the collapse of a fabric covered steel frame structure, reports on the problem of resources in a recession, the substitution of cheaper but less adequate hollow sections, a shuttering collapse due to inadequate components and management failings, more about public art, Christmas decorations and the responsibilities of local authorities together with a query about a boundary retaining wall Reports are needed all the time and it is hoped that the new website will encourage more reporters to send in descriptions of events, or of their concerns about unsafe structures, or of lessons that have been identified and learnt. Reporting is very simple, it is confidential, and it will benefit others. If you have had an experience that could be beneficial let us know. Nothing is too small as apparently minor issues can be the precursors of major failures. If there are ways in which we could help you to report then let us know. The site has been designed to be attractive, efficient, and useful and thanks are due to Rippleffect who achieved these goals and the Building Regulations Division of the Department of Communities and Local Government who provided the funds. Thanks are also due of course to the reporters who provided the material that has been used in the database and to the panel of experts who review the reports.

Overview of Reports in this Newsletter

129 Responsibility for boundary retaining wall

A reporter is concerned about a brickwork retaining wall that separates a path alongside a domestic property from an access road.

150 Collapse of tank falsework

The issue relates to the collapse of falsework erected to construct an in situ, reinforced concrete, circular water retaining structure about 20m diameter by 15m high – a typical digester tank on a sewage treatment works. The company (now no longer in existence) that emplyed the reporter was the design and build contractor for a number of tanks on the site.

157 More about public art

I felt (says a reporter) that I had to write concerning the issue of Public Art (CROSS Newsletter No 14 report 136), having had a lot of interaction with a Council when I was Head of Building Control.

158 Substitution of cold rolled hollow sections for hot rolled hollow sections

A reporter has recently been advised by two of their manufacturers that their buyers have purchased cold formed hollow sections rather than the hot formed hollow section which we clearly identified in our calculations.

159 Decorative lights and banners can damage buildings

There is increasing pressure from advertisers and others to make use of existing highway and building features to hang banners and decorative lights. Often it is desired to suspend quite large banners between lighting columns across the street.

161 Resources in a recession

I am very concerned (says a reporter) with a company’s decision to transfer an incomplete design of a large complicated project from one department to another due to budget overspend and lack of work to latter department.

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