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Committee calls for construction safety centre

ICE news

A CENTRE for Construction Safety Excellence should be established to help reduce the dangers from structural collapse, the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) said in its annual report.

The centre would be one of several measures taken to help reduce continuing failures in structures. The committee would also like the introduction of independent reviews of some types of structure and more support for CROSS, the system for con ential reporting on structural safety.

Measures are needed to avoid complacency in the industry says the report, and adds that there are continual structural failures despite improved structural engineering knowledge and ability. It suggests that not enough lessons have been learned from past failures.

The committee also expresses concern at the poor standard of some Building Regulations submissions and suggests that more awareness is needed of the assumptions behind the modern Eurocodes.

'Structural failure is still very much a concern, ' said SCOSS secretary John Carpenter. He added that there had been a number of examples in recent years, including some signicant and worrying temporary structure failures.

'There was the Birmingham TV screen collapse, the incident with an in atable arch in Gateshead which drifted loose and killed someone, and a temporary grandstand collapse in Lincoln, ' he recalled.

Carpenter pointed to recent hotel and building extension collapses in London.

The idea for the knowledge centre would be to 'link academia and industry more closely and identify areas of research that would ll in gaps in what we know', he said.

his latest report, the SCOSS's 16th to date, utilises the 3P principles of 'people, process and product', used last year to describe and categorise contributory factors leading to structural failure.

Among a range of possible influences, 'human factors' emerge as a strong component.

Carpenter recommended that all structural engineers should read the report and measure their own internal procedures against the issues that it raises.

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