THE TASK THAT THE HSE FORGOT!

“To raise new questions to old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advance”

Albert Einstein

1779-1955

OUR RESEARCH INTO HOW OVERLOADING & UNDERESTIMATING THE WEIGHT OF THE LOAD OCCURS

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(The temporary supports toolkit part 10 recommended/assumed Calculation for temporary support)

The above calculation of temporary support during masonry alterations is an assumption of a permanent lintel calculation, which is incorrect and out of date.

The calculation for a permanent lintel support is for newly laid masonry, it doesn’t take into account that the lateral strength of older masonry during alterations is unpredictable & varies upon every task of which depends upon the length of the opening, the mortar mix, the age and quality of the masonry and also does not take into account that all existing propping methods weaken the structure above a proposed opening when fitting.

The 45 degree angle of the load triangle and the 60 degree angle of the interactive zone are also completely different within temporary support works and varies upon block or brick and the bond.

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440mm x 215mm block work is a 45 degree angle.

A typical common house brick 215mm long x 65mm high within a Stretcher bond is a 35 degree angle and a 25 degree angle in an English or Flemish bond.

Below is an example of a 35 degree load angle within a brickwork stretcher bond

 

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Example of a 25 degree angle within a Flemish bond

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When all three points of the triangle are in place (load-point intact), the 60 degree angle of the interactive zone doesn’t come into play as the only masonry that could collapse is this smaller triangle of masonry.

When any of the three corners of the load triangle are not in place (no load-point intact), then the calculation would include all of the masonry above the proposed opening, including further roof, live, static & dynamic loads when they apply & not just the 60 degree angle due to the variable & unknown lateral strength of the masonry.

All existing propping methods rely upon the unknown & variable lateral strength of the masonry to work safely and is the one of the main causes of collapse during masonry alterations.

CONCLUSION

The calculation of a permanent support is an incorrect assumption for temporary support and should not be used  unless the Brick Brace safety tool/system is also fitted to strengthen the masonry, to help reduce the weight of the load and to ensure further stability during alterations.

MASONRY ALTERATIONS

THE TASK THAT THE H.S.E FORGOT!

To prevent/reduce the risk of accidents there are 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” not one word of H.S.E guidance available for masonry alterations, which is the most under researched, difficult and dangerous task within the Construction industry.

Propping a masonry wall during alterations is far more difficult & dangerous than using a ladder, so why do the H.S.E think it’s acceptable to provide a seven page leaflet on how to use a ladder and yet they do not provide any masonry alterations guidance when the vast majority of residential extensions require masonry alterations and when they have improved the majority of simple work procedures since the 1980’s, is this due to their lack of temporary masonry support knowledge or is it their inability to correct the situation without accepting the responsibility of the fault of which they have helped to create by allowing misleading Strongboy instructions and also allowing incorrect and misleading procedures for over thirty years?

H.S.E “busy builder” leaflets website link;

http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/areyou/builder.htm

“Safe use of ladders” H.S.E PDF link; 

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg455.pdf

WARNING!

A Class System Is In Place;

To please a client an architect has the artistic freedom to design & draw any new opening size they wish within existing masonry, with a few lines and a rubber and with no care of how it is done in real life.

A structural engineer can then provide the method of using Strongboy’s by using an assumed, out of date calculation that doesn’t cover the stability of the existing masonry, this may save time by cutting corners but also compromises the builder’s safety as the method doesn’t also give the correct fitting work access without dangerously overloading itself due to too many different factors which can’t be calculated.

 the builder/contractor can purchase or hire Strongboy’s which are supplied with no written guidance and are sold by a vast majority of retailers with zero masonry alterations knowledge, and when the obvious accidents of overloading continue to reoccur only the builder is at fault and fined or even imprisoned for corporate manslaughter when collapse causes a fatality.

We recently asked the institute of structural engineers;

“How is it possible for a 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 used, which pin-hole height is used, how tightly the Acrow prop is fitted, how plumb and how far the Acrow prop is fitted from the centre of the wall”?

&

“Can you confirm that the new instructions of a Strongboy are acceptable and do not require any revision? And can you also 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”?

THEIR WEAK RESPONSE

“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.”

The temporary works forum, C.R.O.S.S, I.C.E, HAE, CITB and the H.S.E also refuse to answer our questions.

Not commenting on the dangers of a Strongboy is why collapse is such a reoccurring theme on site. Endorsing and promoting the Strongboy by designing temporary works with the product when they’re not suitable for a task and not providing warnings or correct procedures in writing to the paying contractor and also allowing misleading instructions is far from a science or an art form, only dangerous & incompetent.

The values of The Institution Of Structural Engineers

Professional standards

We endeavor to ensure that our members are highly skilled and work to the highest level by maintaining a commitment to professional standards within structural engineering.

We strive for continued technical excellence; advancing safety and innovation across the built environment.

A qualified structural engineer didn’t attend university to design inferior temporary support works so why have IstructE, I.C.E and the H.S.E made it strangely acceptable to prop the rear of a property on a number of over loaded mild steel bendable tongues that sit eccentrically upon a misused Acrow prop and when the obvious accident’s continue to reoccur it’s only ever the unaware builder that’s at fault?

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Back in 2013 the H.S.E website stated that the main cause of collapse during masonry alterations was from overloading equipment due to the lack of awareness of the equipment capacity and underestimating the weight of the load.

Through our own professional research the causes of collapse during alterations are also due to the following;

1, The user making assumptions of correct use due to not understanding the misleading Strongboy instructions or verbally misinformed of how to use the equipment safely.

2, Unknowingly decreasing the safe working load when removing a Strongboy from the wall to avoid internal wall damage and/or to gain further fitting work space as no warning of this is in place.

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3, A Strongboy being recommended, endorsed and permitted by structural engineers even when the device doesn’t give the correct fitting work access without dangerously overloading itself and using an assumed out of date calculation of a permanent support for temporary support of which is totally different.

4, No written guidance for Acrow props, Strongboy’s or Genie lifts are provided by retailers to falsely ease a dangerous task to gain more sales and also misguiding videos on you tube where Strongboy’s are being overloaded and dangerously misused by so-called experts.

5, The user making assumptions of correct use due to no warnings or guidance being provided at the point of sale or hire by the majority of retailers.

6, No correct procedures of using a Strongboy are in place for the many different tasks of supporting 4″, 9″& 13″ walls or for the different sized cavity walls and also due to a severe lack of temporary masonry support information & guidance provided by the H.S.E.

7, Using Strongboy’s upon larger openings when the props and needles method is far more suitable as they offer the correct fitting work access with fewer impeding Acrow props without dangerously overloading & without having the need to remove the opening to the full depth before a permanent support is in the final position.

8, Compromising safety to save time and to reduce costs by propping dangerously from only the external side to avoid internal wall damage upon finished 1st floor rooms.

9, A lack of temporary masonry support knowledge by not knowing how to safely plan a task prior to commencement and taking unnecessary risks due to not  using a variety of temporary support equipment most suitable for the task.

10, Insufficient testing and research of the Strongboy and of similar designed products.

11, Rushing  a task through not pricing correctly.

12, Not seeking expert temporary support advice when in doubt.

13, No drawings of correct use are provided and no Acrow prop guidance supplied at the point of sale or hire by retailer’s.

14, the H.S.E allowing misleading instructions for over twenty five years and allowing a product to be sold without any warnings or guidance.

15, The market monopoly of a product with a brand name that implies strength but reduces the safe working load of an Acrow prop by at least 90%  without any warning or any testing upon the different sized Acrow props and is overloaded with the same amount of ease as the manufacturer’s & retailers say it is to use.

16, A product that is designed to deceive and to be misused and also increases the risk of overloading due to the long bendable tongue that easily exceeds the maximum 215mm eccentricity without any warning.

17, The Strongboy manufacturer making false claims and devaluing the safer method of props and needles for over thirty years.

18, Misleading new instructions that have increased the propping eccentricity from centre of Acrow to centre of propped wall by over 50% without any further testing, warnings or explanation.

19, The lack of awareness that every task is totally different and not knowing that a variety of temporary support equipment is required to tackle the many different tasks of masonry alterations safely and correctly.

20, The HSE & Istructe not having the ability to address the issues without accepting the responsibility of the fault of which they have both helped to create by allowing misleading instructions which have caused anti competitive practice within the market place.

21, Structural engineers not recommending the use of the fully tested Brick Brace safety tool which increases the unknown lateral strength of the masonry and to maximise the unknown variable safe working load of all the existing propping methods to reduce the risk of minor and major collapse when propping.

 Authority without the correct level of knowledge is dangerous to the public!

In their own words, the role of the H.S.E is to provide advice, information and guidance, to raise safety awareness, to Inspect, investigate and to take enforcement actions.

The H.S.E have failed on every account within temporary masonry support works and future generations are also only one lesson away from misusing Strongboy’s as they are taught by misleading instructions and by the majority of structural engineers, retailers and builders that think it’s acceptable to overload & misuse Strongboy’s to dangerously avoid internal wall damage upon finished 1st floor rooms.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST!

“Over £69,000,000 worth of fines were collected by the H.S.E between 2016-2017”

Something is amiss when a government body is in control of raising safety awareness and can also benefit from handing out fines to builders and contractor’s that aren’t safety aware due to the insufficient information they provide and which also allow the misleading marketing & incorrect instructions of the Strongboy and of the many similar products that are now available due to the Strongboy design patent expiring.

TWENTY ONE QUESTIONS THE H.S.E, ISTRUCTE, I.C.E, C.R.O.S.S, THE Twf & THE H.A.E REFUSE TO ANSWER!

1:

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?

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2: Can you confirm that the drawing below is the correct way to support a cavity wall when using a Strongboy?

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3:

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 the smaller size one Acrow props through mail order due to their lower weight?

acro prop specifications

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?

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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 this 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 recommended eccentricity of an Acrow prop is 25mm, maximum?

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%” ?

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” walls 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 overloading 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 smaller builder.

20: Can you confirm that if  Strongboy’s do not require a maximum opening size or a correct procedure then no other temporary masonry support equipment requires it either or to reduce the number of the same reoccurring accidents should all temporary masonry support equipment be supplied with instructions 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 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 inadequate 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 wrong?

 

When the same accidents continue to reoccur they become the responsibility 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.

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 within 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?

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 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.

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 when recommending 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.

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 best 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 they are 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.

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 matter 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 world is a dangerous place to live; not because
of the people who are evil, but because of the
people who don’t do anything about it”.
ALBERT EINSTEIN
1879-1955

KEEP IT SAFE, BRICK BRACE!

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