Collapsed Wall



Firstly, I just want to say what an absolute tragedy :(

Granted, we are suffocated with red tape in England and Wales, but it seems absolutely ludicrous that we are required to notify LABC when installing a new window (or other similar 'less' dangerous building works, sound resistance, thermal loss etc) but retaining garden walls don't require BRegs notification/approval.

Obviously the exact details of the failure have not been published yet and the wall may have been structurally sound and built to approved standards / calcs, but it just seems crazy that you have to notify some minor works and yet can throw up a great big retaining wall like this, bordering a public highway, without any type of BRegs approval.

What do you guys think?
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2 Feb 2006
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United Kingdom
in a small village near to where i live, a garden wall collapsed onto the footpath. fortunately there were no casualties as it occurred late at night.

the soil or embankment behind the wall was 6 feet high.

i was asked by the home owner to look at repairing the wall.

he also wanted to add a 6 foot fence above the level of the garden for privacy.

i new straight away that he did not have the first clue as to what would be involved - i.e. a jcb to remove several tonnes of embankment prior to foundation dig. a full depth, minimum 600mm wide 450mm thick foundation. a 450 mm thick diminishing to 225mm thick wall. drainage, loose backfill etc, etc.

when he received my quote he must have fell through the floor!

he did not accept my quote.

the wall has since been rebuilt and the fence erected. it was not done to an adequate specification and may one day collapse again.

ho hum. :rolleyes:
3 Sep 2006
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West Mids
United Kingdom
It's not feasible, or even necessary to regulate everything. And over regulation is as bad as no regulation

This guy, and everyone generally has obligations under common law, but often its not untill afer the event, after the tragedy that things get questioned. But common sense does come into play.

But it is true that the implementation of the building regs have lost focus. The concept of constructing all "structures" to a safe standard has given way to all sorts of nonsense requirements of questionable benefit.

And even more true is that fact that many people in local authority employment don't actually care about the public which that should be serving. Phone the planners, and its "not us". Get passed to building control, and "we don't deal with it" - but no-one at the council actually thinks to mention that the enivironmental health officer has the most powers of all and can get involved in many dangerous/building issues. Each defends his own department and does not work on behalf of the council as a whole - on behalf of the public as a whole

The only thing that spurns councils on is the prospect of hefty claims against them, and their insurance premium rising.

If something does come out of this tragic event, it wont be the death of the child that was the motivator, but rather the potential that certain officers have failed in their duty and invited claims against the council

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