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#1 Posted : 15 September 2020 08:16:32(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

A neighbouring warehouse unit set full ablaze last night and we have had to vacate the premises.  One unit has structural damage near the gas mains and I am led to belive the Fire Brigade have had to smash in our roller shutter doors to wet the walls to cool it.

I have been asked for a new risk assessment for making sure that its safe for staff to go back in once the Fire Brigade give the go ahead. Is there a condition survey/checklist anywhere on line that would cover such a matter off?  Or can anyone offer any advice on how they would approach this as I am a bit concerned that if a structural engineer is required that a lot of repsonsibilty would be put on those that are not experienced in Safety to make that call amongst other issues.

#2 Posted : 15 September 2020 10:11:29(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

I would say most certainly that a Stuctural Engineer's report is needed and they should be qualified to give you advice with regard to safety of the building for further occupation.  I would also ask for an inspection by your gas supplier with regards to the safety of your gas installation and your electricity supplier for safety of the electrical installation.  I am not quite sure what you mean by the last sentence in your post. 

peter gotch  
#3 Posted : 15 September 2020 12:56:11(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Lisar, you asked:

Is there a condition survey/checklist anywhere on line that would cover such a matter off?

Answer - probably, but I would not trust any generic document in such a situation.

Any competent health and safety professional should know where the boundaries of their competency lie and when they need to call on specialist disciplines.

So assuming that you haven't got qualifications and/or experience in building surveying, then you need help!

That doesn't translate as assuming that a structural engineer or building surveyor will solve all your return to work issues, but that they provide you with specialist advice, that you (and others) can use to make informed decisions as to what, if any, remedial works you need to take to give you comfort that the building is sufficiently safe for its reoccupancy.

Depending on the age and nature of the building, you might need to ask some questions to check that the skill set of a specialist is suitable for the task....and whether you might need more than one, e.g. if the building might contain asbestos containing materials.

Be careful that the "Safety" person doesn't get lumbered with being the sole decision maker. It should not be for you to take this decision on your own!

thanks 3 users thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 15/09/2020(UTC), chris42 on 15/09/2020(UTC), DHeptinstall on 15/09/2020(UTC)
#4 Posted : 15 September 2020 13:39:14(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Isn’t this a question for the insurance company? They are bound to have a system for dealing with this scenario and pay for what / who is necessary.


thanks 2 users thanked chris42 for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 15/09/2020(UTC), George_Young on 15/09/2020(UTC)
#5 Posted : 15 September 2020 13:54:24(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

'once the Fire Brigade give the go ahead.'

I would have a talk with them to find out exactly what they did and what their subsequent findings were. The will have reviewed the situation before giving you the go ahead. Their information - and guidance based on their experience and findings that led to the permission to return - will help you to identify what help you will need. It will also give you some basic information to help you to discuss the situation with your insurance company.

#6 Posted : 16 September 2020 08:11:54(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

With my structural engineer hat on (which is a more qualified hat than my safety hat, as it happens), I have done various post-fire structural assessments and indeed post-other-bad-things structural assesments (impact, extreme subsidence etc).  What is involved is basically far too open-ended a question to say anything without seeing a lot of detail - the simplest such case is a quick once-over type review and the largest such exercise I was involved in (Minster Court fire in early '90s - which aptly enough was an insurance underwriting centre) gave us man-years of work and supposedly cost £25 million to reinstate.

I don't really understand the question - a structural engineer will tell you if it is structurally safe and/or what to do to make it structurally safe and/or what more to do to determine if it is structurally safe.  As for any professional they should tell you if the question you are asking is outside their competence.  They (probably - you might find a multiple-qualified one that may comment on legal issues, for example) won't do anything more than comment on the structural issues.  Yes being a structural engineer carries a lot of responsibility - get your maths wrong and people die.

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