TWENTY ONE QUESTIONS THE H.S.E, ISTRUCTE, C.R.O.S.S, THE Twf & THE H.A.E REFUSE TO ANSWER!
Can you confirm it is acceptable to support 9” brickwork or block work on the 215mm tongue of a Strongboy at a minimum 300mm eccentricity from the centre of the wall to the centre of the Acrow prop when the safe working load is reduced to an unknown level?
2: Can you confirm that the drawing below is the correct way to support a cavity wall when using a Strongboy?
Can you confirm that a Strongboy and all similar designed products have been fully tested upon a 9″ wall and a cavity wall on a size 0 Acrow prop, a size 1 Acrow prop, a size 2 Acrow prop and a size 3 Acrow prop? And as a Strongboy is designed for use with an Acrow prop can you confirm Acrow prop guidance is not required within the instructions of using a Strongboy especially when Strongboy’s are mostly sold with size one Acrow props through mail order due to their lower weight?
4: Why were the Strongboy instructions changed in 2015? And can you confirm that the H.S.E has not endorsed Strongboy misuse by allowing misleading instructions and insufficient guidance.
5: Can you confirm it is acceptable to support one side of a cavity wall on the bendable part of the Strongboy tongue when the internal skin of block work impedes correct use, of which reduces the safe working load to an unknown level and when safer temporary support options are now available?
6: Can you confirm that you know the many tasks of supporting masonry are totally different and that the majority of tasks require far more fitting work space than what the Strongboy can safely offer when maintaining the maximum 340kg safe working load and when not dangerously removing the opening down to the full finished level without the permanent support being fitted as it increases the risk of accidental removal of loaded Acrow props during the demolition of the masonry?
7: Can you confirm that misusing an Acrow prop by eccentrically propping a masonry wall from only one side at a minimum of 200mm from the centre of the wall to the middle of an Acrow prop is safe when the maximum recommended eccentricity of an Acrow prop is only 25mm?
8: Can you confirm that the new instructions of a Strongboy are acceptable and do not require any revision? And can you confirm the market monopoly of the Strongboy and the misleading instructions have not fixed the typical builders and retailer’s mind-set and stopped essential temporary masonry support equipment join the market place?
9: Can you confirm that the same number of accidents and near misses would occur if a written warning was in place at the point of sale, such as; “fitting a Strongboy misuses an Acrow prop and the safe working load is reduced by at least 90%” ? And can you explain why accidents during masonry alterations are classed as falls from height & not accidents from masonry collapse? Is it to cover up and to hide the true scale of the number of accidents caused by Strongboy misuse during masonry alterations?
10: Can you confirm that the Strongboy is safe to use when it is sold and supplied without any written guidance especially when the internet is still full of the old out of date instructions from the unaware retailers that do not know the instructions were changed in November 2015?
11: I have yet to see a Strongboy being used correctly on site, can you confirm a Strongboy is not designed to be misused? And please confirm that no further research upon the Strongboy’s design is required and please confirm the self certification tests of the Strongboy and of the similar designed products are adequate and also comply with the provision and use of work equipment regulations?
12: Can you confirm a Strongboy is designed to reduce masonry damage upon a cavity and 9” wall without being overloaded and is simple and easy to use without compromising the user’s safety? And for a level of true guidance (to raise safety awareness due to it occurring on a daily basis), what would be the reduced accepted working load in 10mm increments when exceeding the maximum 215mm eccentricity and when the safe working load of a plumb Acrow prop is reduced by 1,700kg when loaded 25mm from the centre axis? And due to dangerous misuse and risk of curving the inner tube, what is the safe working load of the Acrow prop when used for its next concentrically loaded task? Could it be dangerously reduced to an unknown level?
13: Can you confirm that structural engineers do not specify or recommend the use of Strongboy’s when they do not provide the correct fitting work space and when the safe working load varies to an unknown level of which depends on the size of the Acrow prop used, the working height of the Acrow prop, how plumb, how tightly fitted and how far the Acrow prop is fitted from the centre of the wall? And who police the structural engineers that have endorsed Strongboy misuse for over 25 years, is it the H.S.E that take unsound temporary masonry support advice from IstructE and the Twf?
14: Can you confirm it is acceptable to change the instructions of a temporary support product and not tell anyone of the changes including the retailer’s, builder’s organisations such as F.M.B, C.I.T.B and the hire associations?
15: A Strongboy is designed to reduce masonry damage and is marketed to reduce the number of Acrow props from the work area even though it reduces the safe working load of an Acrow prop by at least 90%, can you confirm that using a Strongboy is suitable and safe to reduce internal 1st floor wall damage when creating an opening through both sides of a cavity wall?
16: Can you confirm that the misleading marketing of a product and a brand name that implies strength but physically reduces the safe working load of an Acrow prop by 90% (with no warning) and is sold without guidance and overloaded with the same amount of ease as the manufacturer says it is to use has not contributed to the number of accidents and near misses.
17: Can you confirm that when an Acrow prop is fitted with a Strongboy and is either overloaded, over tightened or removed away from the wall to gain further fitting work access, the task becomes dangerous as the safe working load is reduced to an unknown quantity?
18: Can you confirm that using a mixed variety of temporary support equipment most suitable for a task is far safer than only using Strongboy’s for every task.
19: Can you confirm that it is in a builder’s best interest for a so called competent retailer to supply Strongboy’s with no written guidance when a variety of temporary support equipment should be used and when the H.S.E are “trying” to change the mind-set of the typical builder.
20: Can you confirm that if Strongboy’s do not require a maximum opening size or a correct procedure then no other temporary support equipment requires it either or to reduce the number of the same reoccurring accidents should all temporary masonry support equipment have instructions of correct use and correct procedures of the tasks the manufacturers claim they do?
21, Can you confirm that the structural engineers that specify Strongboy’s even when they do not offer the correct fitting work space and are not the most suitable temporary support equipment for a task has not caused the mind-set of the typical smaller builder and retailer? And can you also confirm that structural engineers and the H.S.E have not helped to dangerously ease a difficult task by allowing insufficient guidance and misleading instructions of the Strongboy? And who police the H.S.E when they are wrong and at fault? Or are the H.S.E never at fault?
Authority without the correct level of knowledge is dangerous to the public!
When the same accidents continue to reoccur they become the responsibility and fault of the H.S.E as they could be prevented through ensuring a higher level of instructions of correct use and providing the public with information and guidance to help raise safety awareness.
Why Is It,
The More Difficult A Task Is, The Less Information The H.S.E Provide?
Why do the H.S.E think it is acceptable to provide no temporary masonry support advice whatsoever when they provide a seven page leaflet on how to use a ladder and have improved the vast majority of simple work procedures in the work place and other construction industry sectors since the 1980’s, is it due to their lack of temporary masonry support knowledge or is it due to their inability to correct the situation of inadequate guidance without accepting the responsibility of the fault of which they helped create in the first instance by allowing a product that dangerously misuses an Acrow prop without any warning and also allowing incorrect procedures and misleading instructions for over thirty years?
Future generations are also only one lesson away from misusing Strongboy’s as they are taught through misleading Strongboy instructions and learn from a majority of structural engineers, retailers and builders that think Strongboy misuse is acceptable due to the incompetence of the Health & Safety Executive in this field.
Why must accidents of a catastrophic scale continue to re-occur before anyone takes action and why aren’t construction products and materials tested in the correct manner to prevent accidents & fatalities?
We recently asked the institute of structural engineers:
“How is it possible for a competent structural engineer to design a task safely with Strongboy’s when the safe working load varies from 340kg down to 0kg of which depends on the size of the Acrow prop, which pin-hole height is used, how tight the Acrow prop is fitted, how plumb and how far the Acrow prop is fitted from the centre of the wall”?
“The Health and Safety Panel has discussed in great detail, and over
many e-mails, the comments that you have raised. The Panel has taken
the time to discuss the situation and the position of the Institution.
With that the Panel thanks you for your query.
As a learned society the Institution exists to promote the art and science of structural engineering and does not comment on the efficacy of proprietary products”
Our response to the above reply!
To whom it concerns, When a builder knows eccentrically propping over 215mm from the centre of the propped wall to the central axis of an Acrow prop is extremely dangerous they will use with the correct caution and the further equipment required.
Any fool can design a work area with Strongboy’s without
knowing the weight of the load and unknowingly overload by over
extending from the wall to gain further access, but to tackle a task
safely and correctly without risk requires further preparation.
Not commenting on the efficacy of a Strongboy is why collapse is such
a reoccurring theme on site. Endorsing and Promoting by designing
temporary works with the Strongboy when it doesn’t give the correct fitting space is far
from an art form, only dangerous and so nineteen eighties.
A qualified structural engineer didn’t attend university to design
inferior temporary support works so why have you made it acceptable to prop the rear of a property on a number of 5mm mild steel bendable
tongues that sit eccentrically upon a misused Acrow prop and when the
obvious accident occurs it’s only the builder that’s at fault?
The whole idea of a Strongboy was to reduce the number of Acrow props from the work area on smaller openings when suitable, and in itself is where all the problems of overloading begin.
Every task of masonry alterations is totally different and further
fitting space is so often required than what Strongboys can safely
offer which I believe is the legal duty of the paid structural
engineer to ensure if he recommends their use for a particular task.
If more Acrow props are required than 900mm centre’s on 9” and cavity walls it should make the Strongboy obsolete as too many are required to handle safely and the correct method of props and needles should be used as safety is too often compromised to save time and costs on too
We live in a society of health & safety and warnings on products which
require them, I now know (as I come across this on a daily basis) when
temporary support equipment is sold without any guidance the user
assumes guidance isn’t required.
How will builders or first time users be aware that the guidance of a
qualified structural engineer is recommended if no warning of this is
in place? It’s in the interest of every member of the institute of
structural engineers that warnings and correct guidance for all
temporary support equipment is in place when sold or hired for an
extra increase in their workload.
A prop attachment can be dangerously overloaded with the same amount of ease as their manufacturer’s say it is to use especially when sold or hired without any warnings or guidance. We created the Brick Brace safety tool to increase safety awareness and to reduce the risk of
overloading and we provide instructions of correct use and guidance
with every product we sell.
The fully tested Brick Brace safety tool reduces loads by re-instating
a load-point when lost due to windows above and supports masonry
in-between props when props and attachments are suitable or when using the correct method of props and needles.
The Brick Brace safety system also supports all 91 bricks within the triangle of brickwork within a stretcher bond above a 3150mm opening (approx 14 brick lengths), at any height with no dangerously overloaded props and attachments required and because we provide full instructions of correct use only competent builders that can read and follow instructions use our system. Please read our E-Bay feedback for proof our system is making a difference to the builders that are capable of adapting and completing a task safely.
Due to a severe lack of assistance and wording from the H.S.E it has
become widely acceptable to prop dangerously and with further
assistance from structural engineers as they do not supply adequate written guidance when designing the work place.
It is in the more than capable hands of both parties to take full responsibility and to address these issues.
I am not the enemy! I am someone that looks at a problem from a
different angle, you need my knowledge and different view for progress
and I offer my assistance for free to give an unbiased opinion.
Where you do not take me up on my offer or do not reply and keep me
informed of any progress, my options become limited and I believe I
have a case and if forced I will seek compensation for the loss of
earnings due to the negligence of the H.S.E and the inability of the
“learned” ISTRUCTe to adapt to technical progress through a court of law as the H.S.E and yourselves have falsely eased a dangerous task by not enforcing or providing correct guidance and obviously refuse to admit any fault.
Conflict of Interest!
“Over £69,000000 worth of fines were collected by the H.S.E between 2016-2017”
Something is amiss when a government body is in charge of educating and raising safety awareness and can also benefit from handing out fines to unaware builders that aren’t safety aware due to the insufficient guidance that is provided by the H.S.E.
If a builder caused collapse, injury or death during masonry alterations through a lack of knowledge or through a lack of staff they could be fined or even imprisoned, yet the under staffed H.S.E that have endorsed the Strongboy through their own lack of knowledge and by allowing insufficient and misleading instructions & guidance for over twenty five years receive funding from fines when they themselves should be fined for not carrying out their role correctly in the first instance.
OUR RESEARCH & TESTING
A Strongboy does not have sufficient guidance or a correct procedure for the different tasks of supporting 4″, 9″ and different sized cavity walls, therefore the H.S.E have helped to falsely ease a specialist task.
It is not possible to have a safe working load if exceeding the maximum 215mm eccentricity because it is not safe!
There are now approximately 15 companies and sole traders that sell similar designed products as the “Strongboy” with the majority sold without the correct level of testing and written instructions of which both are required to comply with the provision and use of work equipment regulations act and yet the H.S.E do nothing about it.
The list of new companies and sole traders that manufacture copies will continue to grow and quality will be sacrificed to become the least expensive if no correct testing is required or when the H.S.E do not police the problem in the correct manner.
Due to taking unsound advice from the Temporary works forum and the “learned” IstructE and due to insufficient temporary masonry support knowledge, the inability to adapt to progress, inadequate guidance and misleading instructions, every past and future accident caused by misuse of a Strongboy or any similar designed product is the fault & responsibility of the H.S.E’s temporary works team.
Knowingly or unknowingly, the H.S.E have compromised the safety of the Strongboy user.
When the misleading instructions were changed in November 2015 there were no warning of this sent out to hire associations, retailers or the structural engineers, nothing was provided by the H.S.E, not even an explanation of why the instructions were changed, which we believe is to hide their own lack of competence in this field.
To change the rules and instructions to suit the design of an existing product after twenty five years with no explanation or further research or testing can not be lawful when dangerously endorsing overloading & misuse of which will cause further cases of collapse during alterations.
It is the role of the H.S.E to re-educate the structural engineers, retailers and builders, not to make a task more dangerous by accepting misleading instructions and allowing further eccentricity over the maximum 215mm and hiding the facts and to cover up their predecessor’s old agreements & mistakes.
The manufacturer’s and retailers of the Strongboy (and of similar designed products) have dangerously devalued the correct method of using needles when a needle uses the Acrow prop/s safely and correctly, is at least five times stronger and offers the correct safe working load to prop at 900mm intervals within a typical two storey residential property and also offers a superior and safer fitting work space than what Strongboy’s can safely offer without dangerously removing the opening to the full depth before a permanent support is in the finished position.
A DANGEROUS SHORTCUT
The misleading instructions of the Strongboy increase the risk of the user to dangerously overload and to underestimate the weight of the load and also suppresses the true level of knowledge that is required to alter masonry safely and correctly without risk.
The instructions were changed in November 2015 to suit the length of the Strongboy tongue rather than the maximum 215mm eccentricity permitted as within the very first instructions of use, which is not possible without further research and when the safe working load reduces to an unknown level. And using longer tongued XL Strongboy’s that dangerously increase the eccentricity and reduces the safe working load even further is only a formula to increase the number of accidents not to reduce the number!
The Task That Time & The H.S.E Forgot!
(Or hides under the umbrella of temporary works)
To raise safety awareness and to help prevent/reduce the risk of accidents there are now over 20 H.S.E leaflets available for the “busy builder” which provide up to date guidance from ground excavations to avoiding overhead power lines, however there is”still” no H.S.E guidance available for masonry alterations which is the most difficult and dangerous task within the Construction industry and due to the arrival of the Strongboy in the late 1980’s it is now more dangerous than ever before especially when construction design has doubled the cavity size and increased the width of the steels and when the H.S.E have improved the vast majority of work procedures and other construction industry sectors immensely since then.
The number of accidents during alterations will only reduce when everyone works from knowledgeable and up to date guidance and when knowing a variety of temporary support equipment most suitable for the task is to be used.
H.S.E “busy builder” leaflets website link;
Below is a Link to the H.S.E Scaffold check list, containing 1275 words even though scaffolding is a specialist task and has trade organisations to take care of it but “still” there is not one word of temporary masonry support guidance provided by the H.S.E at this moment in time!
To falsely ease a difficult and dangerous task with no warnings and misleading instructions only makes it more difficult and dangerous during the task. Every past and future accident caused by misuse of a Strongboy or similar designed product is the responsibility of the H.S.E. until tradesmen are warned through correct guidance that propping a wall with a Strongboy dangerously misuses an Acrow prop and the safe working load is reduced by at least 90% at 215mm eccentricity, they would then use with the correct caution and further temporary support equipment that is most suitable for the task and until then the main cause of collapse will continue to be overloading equipment due to the H.S.E.’s severe lack of masonry alterations guidance.
The sentence below was taken from the H.S.E’s main website in 2013 however it was removed in 2014-2015 during our research into the Strongboy instructions.
“The main cause of collapse during masonry alterations is from overloading equipment due to the lack of awareness of the equipment capacity and underestimating the weight of the load”.
This is evidence that the H.S.E knew of the problems but chose to ignore/hide their findings and did not research any further.
No Progress Without Change!
When a dangerous temporary support product suggests it can support 4″ to 9″ walls, one side of a cavity wall and all sized cavity walls safely & correctly and is accepted by the H.S.E, then safer methods will struggle to join the market place because the public assume there isn’t a problem to resolve and we will be stuck with the Strongboy design and the main cause of collapse will continue to be overloading due to a lack of further temporary support equipment.
We “know” through research and testing that a Strongboy or any similar designed product is designed to be misused and the H.S.E have accepted the fact due to either a cover up, ignorance, lack of knowledge and/or their inability to address the issues without accepting fault.
The H.S.E have prevented us from teaching the unaware builder safely and correctly.
A class system is in place;
No Architect, Structural engineer or Strongboy retailer has ever been fined or imprisoned for improper temporary masonry works.
To please their clients, architects have artistic freedom and can design & draw any size opening they wish within existing masonry with a few lines and a rubber and with not a care of how it is done in real life, a structural engineer can then endorse a product & provide a method of which he/she has clearly not researched correctly and which does not offer the correct fitting work space for every task without overloading itself, the contractor then purchases or hires Strongboy’s to reduce internal wall damage of which is sold by a vast majority of retailers with zero masonry alterations knowledge and is then supplied without written guidance to falsely ease a difficult task purely to gain more sales and when the obvious accidents of overloading continue to reoccur only the contractor is at fault and fined or even imprisoned for corporate manslaughter if collapse causes fatality!
KEEP IT SAFE, BRICK BRACE!