The need for good structural safety…

Greg Davies 2022

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
30th May 2024

Despite falling onto both an adjacent footpath and roadway there were no casualties as a result of the incident – although a number of adjacent roads did remain closed into May 2024.

Released today a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ebulletin says, “Incidents of buildings collapsing into roads or because the work has rendered the structure unstable during demolition works have resulted in emergency road closures. This has necessitated interventions by authorities to deal with dangerous structures.”

Collapsing buildings/structures are not as uncommon as you may think (well certainly as I thought), reports in recent years including:

  • Part of a building collapsed in Leicester city centre injuring one person (Sept 2022);
  • Entire back of the house collapses in Hackney, no one injured (June 2023);
  • A balcony falls into street from a new build apartment block (Nov 2023);
  • Building being demolished collapses in Stevenage (March 2022); and
  • Two injured in scaffold collapse at Hammersmith Town Hall (May 2022).

All these incidents luckily avoided fatalities, but if the potential risk needed highlighting anymore, within the last month:

  • Four people dead and 27 injured, after a beach club collapsed in Majorca; and
  • Six dead and dozens injured in multi-storey building collapse in George, South Africa.

The need for “clients, contractors and other stakeholders to thoroughly plan, manage, and monitor all demolition work” is emphasised by HSE. They also signposted further information they have on the topic, covering:

Construction - Demolition - HSE

Structural stability during alteration, demolition or dismantling - Construction health & safety (

On a slightly different but related note, the same thinking of 'clients, contractors and other stakeholders thoroughly plan, manage, and monitor', also needs applied to the the management of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) and asbestos. Particularly if asbestos is being removed, two questions that don’t always get asked are why was it there, and so what is needed now?

Good risk management is about considering the long term as well as the short term.