Three articles in NCE 4 July neatly summarise not only the risks associated with a failure to inspect and maintain, but also the much needed clarification and merging of the legislation in this area. By good fortune, the failure at Piper's Row carpark did not cause any casualties; tragically the failure of roof stonework on a building in Edinburgh in June 2000 did.
The Sheriff in the subsequent inquiry asked for building owners to be reminded of the risks to public safety if buildings fall into disrepair, and of their potential liabilities.
The Standing Committee on Structural Safety has been pushing for improved operational risk management on all structures for some years and is pleased to note the actions in hand by HSE to clarify responsibility and thereby promote action in inspection and maintenance.
The concept of 'life care plans' (or 'facility log books') is a good one and with a little thought would fit well with the health and safety file, which does not currently contribute to the operational phase.
These proposals are good business drivers with the potential for safeguarding life at minimum whole life cost to those with the responsibility.
John Carpenter, secretary, Standing Committee on Structural Safety