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Newsletter No 52 - October 2018

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Report Overview

Safety in buildings and infrastructure assets is in the headlines both within the industry and in the wider press. The harrowing nature of the Grenfell Tower fire continues to be revealed as firefighters and responders give their evidence to the Public Inquiry. The catastrophic collapse of the viaduct in Genoa has now focused attention on ageing infrastructures everywhere. Extreme weather events have caused great loss of life and enormous material damage in the US and the Far East due to high winds and floods. There have been devastating fires in some parts of the world. Those in the front lines of defence against extreme events, natural or man-made, include structural and civil engineers in their jobs as designers, constructors, inspectors, or maintainers. By rigorous attention to safety and robustness in those sectors for which they are responsible, they can, and do, make a positive difference in protecting the public. CROSS is expanding internationally and after several years of effort CROSS-AUS for Australasia was launched in Adelaide at ASEC (Australasian Structural Engineering Conference) in September by Faith Wainwright, President of The Institution of Structural Engineers. There is a segment of the CROSS website devoted to this and the call is out for reports from the region. Congratulations to our colleagues in Australia for getting this initiative under way. CROSS-AUS reports will be on the same database as CROSS UK reports so information on problems, and solutions, can be shared by all who look at the website. Plans for schemes in other countries to join the network are under way. In this Newsletter are reports demonstrating deficiencies and near-misses on projects large and small. The bearings on a major new bridge have caused concern. A support post for a street sign fractured, sadly causing a fatality. There have been several reported collapses, and a grey area has been identified whereby walls were removed in a multi-storey building without permission having been obtained. As a variation on our usual theme, a success story demonstrating good engineering practice is also included. After 51 Newsletters in the original format, the time has come for a new style and, thanks to Paul Mc Nulty our Senior Engineer, this is the result. Paul has also been promoting a scheme for posting CROSS reports on social media which is proving very successful and generating plenty of interest and discussion.

Overview of Reports in this Newsletter

781 Quality of design and construction of a major bridge structure

This report concerns the design and installation of the bridge bearing zones on a new precast prestressed reinforced concrete viaduct.

793 Street sign collapse causes fatality

This report highlights the potential dangers of street signs on fixed vertical supports subject to wind loading.

778 Casting, transporting and installing precast concrete kerbs

The construction consisted of precast concrete robust kerbs to contain the permanent way for railway lines.

692 Collapse of lifting tackle connected by threaded bar

No one was struck or injured when a set of 3T chain blocks and a 1m length of 20mm diameter threaded bar fell from a height of 5m, according to a reporter.

782 Collapse of glass balustrade from feature staircase in public building

A reporter investigated an incident where a glass balustrade panel fell vertically from a 'feature' staircase in a public building.

714 Unsafe removal of some internal walls

A reporter was requested to advise on the removal of some internal walls in a decades’ old multi storey block of council flats constructed from mostly in-situ concrete and brick/block.

742 Add-on roof truss failure

Visiting a property for an unrelated matter, a reporter spotted something odd about the roof; the gable had bulged one end and movement had clearly occurred.

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