RESEARCH

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.

We find it unacceptable that the H.S.E  have allowed inadequate testing and insufficient warnings within the written instructions of the tongued prop attachment which has prevented the end user to identify all of the risks.

Albeit the best recognised health and safety organisation in the world they are failing the individuals that carry out one of the most difficult & dangerous tasks within the construction industry.

_

RESEARCH OF AN ECCENTRICALLY LOADED ACROW PROP

An Acrow prop is designed for loads upon the central axis with a maximum of 25mm eccentricity of which reduces the variable working load by 50%, maximum 1700Kg and reducing further depending on the size of Acrow prop and of the height it is to be used; as seen in the graph below.

acro prop specifications

Vertical & Plumb Acrow props (in the process of being braced)

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research

 

 Visual Acrow guidance explaining how to avoid eccentric loads, 3rd drawing on 4th line.

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 1

 

Testing Arrangement Of A Tongued Prop Attachment, (fitted to a short prop with no pin holes, approximately 400mm long).

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 8

The tongued prop attachment requires the use of an Acrow prop (max height 3metres) of which the test does not include and when used on-site it is not possible to use hydraulic actuators for prop resistance during a task as seen below with the tongued attachments destabilising the structure. The test only proves the attachment can be used upon a 400mm prop with no pin-holes and with an actuator to restrain the prop from movement, nothing more.

IMG 3893

Only tested as a single part and NOT in multiples upon Acrow props or within masonry therefore the test is inadequate due to;

1 Not creating the correct on-site conditions to analyse the results to a satisfactory conclusion.

2 The stability of a structure is unknown due to not testing in multiples upon masonry as loads on-site are not uniformly distributed over an opening.

3 Without warning the product dangerously misuses an Acrow prop and isn’t within the British Standard of Acrow prop use or within the C.D.M 2015 regulations.

4 The generic calculation & assumed working load is not safe as it will vary when used upon different sized Acrow props and the different measurements of eccentricity as explained in previous research. When using the last 100mm of the tongue the working load is less than 200Kg and is not safe as the bendable tongues and different torques on Acrow props can distort & destabilise a structure when attempting to gain more fitting access. Once a tongue bends it only supports the front side of the brickwork which can de-stabilise the structure.

IDENTIFYING NON-TESTED HAZARDS

 Acrow Prop Sizes from left to right; 0, 1, 2, 3 & 4

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 2

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 3

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 4

* Sizes 0 & 1; two 14mm perforations within the Inner tube are situated exactly where the force of the load from the web of an attachment contacts the side of the inner tube, creating a weak point which has never been researched or tested to find out the true safe working load which should include a factor of safety.

IDENTIFYING FURTHER RISKS AS A COMPETENT PERSON

VARIABLE

Oxford Dictionary Definition of the word variable; Not Consistent, not having a fixed pattern; liable to change.

Anyone that has travelled on a major motorway in GB understands the meaning of the word variable due to the warnings of variable speed limits.

When there is no written warning that the working load of a non-tested & misused Acrow prop is variable, it is not safe and becomes dangerous to the unaware user.

Due to a tongued prop attachment dangerously misusing an Acrow prop and no testing ever carried out upon different sized Acrow props, there are four non-researched points where the eccentric load is problematic. The first is explained within the last page and the second is the buckling effect caused by the eccentric loading on to pin holes at the top of the outer tube where contact is made to the inner tube, as seen below.

IMG 3897

The third is in-between the two points mentioned and varies within the many different possible heights of use; the inner tube is peppered with 14mm perforations on two sides for 14 different pin hole heights at 100mm centres, equalling 28 perforations in 1400mm of inner tube of which is liable to dangerously curve and to reduce the height unknowingly during a task, see photo below.

Photo from E-Bay Advert, Selling Prop attachments.

IMG 3898

The fourth area of concern is the welded top plate, as it is only designed for a vertical downward load from the top and not for a pulling downward/upward & sideway motion of which the tongued prop attachment creates when fitted & loaded, also seen in the above photo and as described in the visual guidance provided in page 2 of this research.

From the three sizes of Acrow Props available to use at the height of 3metres, all three are manufactured with the exact same length of outer tube. Another concern is that all three sizes (no 1, 2 & 3) have further pin holes for heights higher than 3metres. As no written guidance is provided at the point of sale/hire this becomes a problem of using a tongued prop attachment with an Acrow prop which elevates higher than 3m and is dangerous and not suitable.

When eccentrically used at the maximum height of 3metres the most suitable sized Acrow prop is No3 however Strongboy Ltd only sell size No1’s within their multiple contract packs for wider openings with further loads above.

 Further testing and research into a reduced working load with a further factor of safety must be carried out, so not to continually compromise the safety of the user, the public and clients.

 CONTRADICTION;

 From the five sizes available, structural engineers say that the size no4 is not suitable for using with a tongued prop attachment yet at a 3.19m working height it is the only size with a 375mm longer outer tube & without any perforations showing above the outer tube. If the H.S.E and structural engineers can explain why the size no4 isn’t suitable, then the answer/explanation would be the same for all sized Acrow props.

OLD OR NEW ACROW PROPS?

The strength of an erected scaffold is calculated differently whether it is brand new scaffold or already used scaffolding parts. The assumed difference between old and new is calculated at a 10% deduction in strength when scaffolding is erected from already used parts.

No similar calculation is in place for old and new Acrow props even when the vast majority of Acrow props are stored outside all year round in the same manner as scaffolding. All scaffold tubes require a finish to the metal which is usually galvanised to prevent rusting or manufactured from aluminium however the vast majority of Acrow props are only sprayed with one coat of paint.

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 5

A galvanised scaffold tube is 48.3mm in diameter and has a minimum wall thickness of 4mm & 5mm if the tube is manufactured in lighter aluminium.

An Acrow props inner tube is also 48.3mm in diameter but only has a wall thickness of 3.2mm which is 20% less than a scaffold tube and more prone to internally hidden rust due to being peppered with 14mm perforations. The circumference of an Acrow prop inner tube is approx. 152mm with the two 14mm pin holes reducing the strength by 21.5% at every pin-hole height throughout 1400mm of inner tube.

Holes are not recommended/permitted within scaffold tube as it would have no purpose, yet there are up to 28 holes (diameter 14mm) within the Acrow prop inner tube of sizes No 1, 2, and 3. See previous chart.

An independent scaffold has an inner scaffold board fitted eccentrically (with transoms a maximum 900mm apart & closer) inner board is for foot traffic only and is supported at a minimum of two points by regulated requirements and is an overall 325mm eccentric from the centre of an Upright tube and connected to a number of further uprights.

Typical independent scaffold lay-out

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 6

Typical All-Year Round Storage Of Acrow props

IMG 3901

An Acrow prop is not fixed to anything when fitted with a tongued attachment and solely relies on the eccentric friction between the tongue under the propped masonry down to the foot plate at ground level. There are many different scaffold organisations in GB and no specialist temporary masonry support organisation, only the H.S.E with a little help from Istructe. Clearly shown within the research above; the individuals in control of scaffolding are more knowledgeable and safety conscious and aware of the risks than the individuals in charge of temporary masonry support who are at least 30 years behind due to not accepting the responsibility of the faults created in the mid 1980’s by past colleagues which did not identify the hazards of eccentrically propping from one side of a wall upon a dangerously misused Acrow prop.

  Except for bracing a structure, no scaffolding tube is recommended to be used for temporary masonry support due to the strength issues however a dangerously misused Acrow prop with so many defects have been given the green light for masonry alterations by the H.S.E. when it should not have been.

Upon their website, the HSE provide more written advice and guidance of legislation for scaffolding than temporary masonry support even though training & registration with an organisation is required to carry out an erection of a scaffold and yet nothing is required for masonry alterations which is far more dangerous and difficult when carried out by someone that requires no registration or training.

H.S.E website guidance word count for Scaffolding= 1236 words.

 Masonry Alteration word count = 335 words. 72% less Advice.

CONCLUSION

My researched & professional opinion is that the main causes of collapse during alterations is due to;

 Inadequate and manipulated test results accepted when not even seen by the HSE and when the test only proves the working load of the product is variable,

Moving goal-posts to make a product more desirable for masonry alterations to save time and money during a project which has dangerously eased a specialist task and cost life in the process.

The H.S.E not understanding the dangerous relationship between the unknown & variable safe working load of the different heights of the four sized Acrow props and the further decreasing working load of increased distance from wall to prop when eccentrically propping with tongued attachments.

A severe lack of research of the hidden dangers for the end user to identify the hazards on-site correctly.

Inadequate guidance and 2 generations of the less knowledgeable teaching the next generation.

The retailers deceiving with visual marketing of strangely permitted further eccentricities, including false Acrow prop readings to make the tongued prop attachment suitable when it’s not suitable, only more dangerous. The drawing below of which I believe to be beyond the rules of caveat Emptor.

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 7

The H.S.E setting a very low precedent within the manufacturing/retail of temporary masonry support equipment, allowing anyone with an ability to weld with no knowledge of the task to easily supply and sell masonry alterations equipment and not policing the problem to an acceptable level due to insufficient number of knowledgeable staff.

 The tongued prop attachment being designed and calculated by personnel that have probably never carried out a task of altering masonry and do not understand the many dangers involved from true experience. Not providing an agreed maximum opening size when first on the market.

A structural engineers generic assumed calculations of using a maximum safe working load for every project when the working load is variable and the H.S. E’s lack of masonry alteration knowledge and inability to change the mindset of the builder and incapable of addressing these issues without accepting responsibility of the faults and authority without the correct level of knowledge being dangerous to the public.

 All other causes of collapse derive from these un-acceptable mistakes.

Further Option

To resolve the problem of misusing an untested and non-suitable Acrow prop, a newly designed & strengthened variety of different sized props with a different sized top plate should be manufactured, tested and made available with fewer holes to ensure the height restrictions of 3m and to reduce the higher risk of overloading, of which I have a design!

The law states that competence and knowledge is required to carry out masonry alterations yet no competence or masonry alteration knowledge is required or shown by the manufacturers, retailers or by the designers which dangerously assume temporary support calculations (structural engineers) or even the H.S.E that should be more knowledgeable and capable of accepting their wrong doings which has cost human life.

 

Builders will only ever be as competent as the temporary support equipment allows them to be and as knowledgeable as the teacher wants them to be. The teachers have hidden the faults so they can’t be identified on-site by the end user; through not ensuring the correct level of testing and not supplying the correct level of masonry alteration guidance or adequate written product instructions.

The HSE Website States:

IMG 3903

  Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 9

IMG 3906

RESEARCH

2b of regulation19.

“Temporary support must only be used for the purposes for which it was designed”.

 An Acrow prop is not designed for eccentric loading of more than 25mm from the centre of the inner tube, therefore it should not be used with a tongued prop attachment to support a structure. As a competent person I believe it is the duty of the H.S.E to identify all of the risks involved by ensuring adequate testing and sufficient guidance within the instructions which cover the risks with appropriate warnings, this will prevent the builder from not identifying the risks on-site. 

Please Note;

 An existing company (Heaton Products) manufactures a stronger variety of size 1 Acrow prop (M.O.A.P) which is designed for eccentric propping with an increased inner tube size of 60mm+ and an increased outer tube frame of approximately 76mm. Should the construction industry take this route to reduce the number of accidents when eccentrically propping from one side of a wall? However, no test results are available for this product which needs to be examined more carefully especially when increasing the measurement of eccentricity to an amount of over 400mm. The manufacturing of this product also proves there is an underlining danger of using existing, non-tested eccentrically and weaker sized Acrow props.

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 10

Curriculum

There will be no progress as no organisation is capable of taking temporary masonry support under their wing when it is so dangerously un-organised due to the mistakes created in the past and the vast majority of the education of altering masonry is only available through other builders and structural engineers of which both parties only make generic and dangerous assumptions of the variable working load as an eccentrically loaded Acrow prop can’t be calculated correctly; this is where many of the bad-habits and dangerous short cuts are taught.

No Progress Without Change

With the FMB, CITB, HAE, ISTRUCTE, BRE, ICE, CROSS & CIRIA refusing to comment on any of my previous research and the H.S.E also unable to answer any of my questions or to comment or even research due to being detrimental to themselves, masonry alterations is stuck in the 20th century due to a dangerous market monopoly of a product that is overloaded with the same amount of ease as it is to use and this is when all other sectors of the construction industry have made changes to increase the safety of the construction worker.

 Any person involved within the construction industry that assumes no progress is required within temporary masonry support is not knowledgeable enough to be involved in such a task let alone comment or give advice. I am also astounded that the HSE staff do not understand the dangerous relationship between the variable safe working load of different sized Acrow props and the further decreasing working load of different distances from wall to prop when eccentrically propping with tongued attachments.

When fitted with a tongued prop attachment an Acrow props safe working load decreases by at least 90%, from 3,400kg down to an assumed maximum of 340kg and can even reduce down to 0kg of which depends on the size & the working height of the Acrow prop, how plumb, how tightly fitted and how far the Acrow prop is positioned from the centre of the wall. 

Eccentricity & S.W.L of Acrow

Evidence below; taken from my previous research to explain why the team of individuals at the HSE do not understand the dangers of overextending an Acrow prop and hiding the risks so the end user cannot identify.

No 4 OF OLD INSTRUCTIONS (including in-correct grammar)

  1. On normal cavity walls, the maximum distance from the the centre line of the ‘acrow’ prop, to centre line of the cavity wall or is 215mm ( 9″ inches). Or using the leading edge of the hammer plate as a guide. Measure 150mm to the centre of the cavity….

My expert Interpretation of instruction drawn below

hse 1

NEW INSTRUCTIONS NOV 2015 (including in-correct grammar)

The Strongboy can be use on single or double skin walls where each leaf is up to 4 ½” (112mm) thick. If double skin, the maximum cavity is 2” (50mm). Ensure the blade of the Strongboy is fully supporting the second skin.

My expert Interpretations of new instruction drawn below

IMG 3908

RESEARCH

 The 340kg safe working load of the traditional Strongboy is calculated from the maximum eccentricity of 215mm which is the maximum measurement from the centre line of the Acrow prop to the centre line of the cavity wall.

Where the eccentricity is more than 215mm the working load reduces to an unknown quantity. Within the new instructions there is no mention of the maximum eccentricity. Strangely, all measurements within the new instructions are taken from the end of the oversized tongue, “If” this was a correct method to measure eccentric loads it is actually safer to support a 100mm cavity wall, (which is now not permitted) rather than supporting a 50mm cavity wall (which is permitted) as the measurement from the centre line of the Acrow prop to the centre line of the propped wall is 55mm greater on average and can be a staggering 150mm greater when using the XL Strongboy.

Total Eccentricity from centre of Acrow prop to the centreline of the 50mm cavity is now a staggering 365mm which is 150mm more eccentric than the old instructions and without any further testing or explanation.

The three top drawings below show the correct way to prop masonry within the old instructions and the three lower drawings show how the new XL Strongboy will be used within the new instructions.

The eccentricities are increased by over 50%;

 9“wall = 75mm further eccentricity

 50mm cavity wall = 140mm further eccentricity

 4” wall = 135mm further eccentricity

 Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 11

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 12

 

CONCLUSION

The less knowledgeable HSE staff member maybe satisfied however they have failed their duties of care due to 25 years of misleading instructions, weak intervention of tightening up instructions after complaint by increasing eccentricity of a prop, still allowing inadequate testing results, permitting the dangerous misuse of an Acrow prop without any warning, providing minimal written guidance or advice, allowing structural engineers to use manipulated, generic out of date and assumed calculations and attempting to hide their faults & mistakes which in return has prevented the unaware builder (who in good faith purchase and hire the product from reputable retailers) from identifying the hazards when carrying out masonry alterations of which has created anti-competitive practice within the market place. The H.S.E accuse me of exhausting their complaints procedure when they haven’t attempted to address the issues of which the issues have caused many avoidable accidents and deaths and left a nation of un-aware builder’s still dangerously misusing Acrow props which are not designed for eccentric loads.

  

My Recommended Changes to the Tongued Prop Attachment Instructions

 The only thing that matches the Strongboy instructions with the actual product is that they are both as weak as each other and both are designed to dangerously ease a specialist task which has supressed the true level of knowledge required to carry out masonry alterations safely with hidden dangers which can’t be identified by the end user.

To reduce assumptions of correct use and to ensure the user can identify the hidden risks and is also aware that the guidance of a structural engineer is recommended if in any doubt, I recommend that written instructions with detailed drawings of maximum eccentricities are to be provided at the point of sale and to include Acrow prop guidance, different task scenario information, warnings of reduced and variable working loads and a warning that the product misuses an Acow prop. The research from the C740 should also be added within the instructions including the maximum opening guidance they describe as the informed should also inform the un-informed which is what instructions of correct use should be for.

C740 WORDING (which is not available through google, Bing or Yahoo search engines)

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 13

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 14Please note; the above boxed wording was written by myself but re-arranged by Keiron Tulley of CIRIA.

Structural Engineers Calculation For Masonry Alterations

The test results clearly show variable safe working loads even when tested without the use of an Acrow prop however a structural engineer uses the maximum safe working load of 340Kg with no factor of safety even though it is variable.

Further manipulation of test results advertised by the HAE (Hire Association of Europe)

Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 15

 

Further Recommendations

To reduce accidents from the dangerous use of an eccentrically loaded Acrow prop, a competent Structural engineer must calculate each task separately and include the following recommendations/instructions;

A, Know the Exact height of which the Acrow prop is to be used from a suitable base and provide the guidance of the most suitable sized Acrow prop and include a factor of safety sum.

B, New guidance of the inner tube not extended more than half way from the outer tube of which reduces the higher risk of curving the inner tube and unknowingly overloading and de-stabilising the structure above. Where the S/E assumes the correct sized prop will not be used a further 50% reduction of the working load per prop should be calculated for a factor of safety.

Acrow prop Height Guide or similar

Size 0 Acrow Prop Maximum Height 1.6m

Size 1 Acrow Prop Maximum Height 1.95m

Size 2 Acrow Prop Maximum Height 2.65m

Size 3 Acrow prop Maximum Height 3.0m

C, When calculating and planning a task, a structural engineer/ temporary works designer must give a detailed description of the dimensions and size of steel/permanent support and the maximum measurement of fitting access from propped wall to Acrow prop to ensure the user does not reduce the working load of an eccentrically loaded Acrow prop to a dangerous level. It is not possible to support both skins of a cavity wall externally as the majority of the load rests on the internal skin.

D, A reduced working load is to be used per prop upon wide openings with larger loads above and where the number of impeding props become un-controllable a more suitable method must be used such as props and needles and using the Brick Brace to reduce the load upon bonded brick work and where suitable.

 

DANGEROUS ENDORSEMENT

There is no certification, British standard or kite mark available for any temporary masonry support equipment as it’s not a permanent fixture, however scaffolding and Acrow props are also not a permanent fixture and yet both have a British Standard.

There is nothing more dangerous than endorsement from all parties involved making an agreement and moving goal-posts so that a tongued prop attachment does not require any British Standard or correct and validated testing. Yet again collusion has outweighed whistle-blowing at high level when the H.S.E have not seen any further tests to research.

 Under a labour government the H.S.E was established on the 1st of January 1975 for the purposes of enforcing regulations in the workplace, except those regulated by local authority. This was provided to protect the worker and was not a money-making scheme to enrich the lives of structural engineers and greedy manufacturers of half-baked ideas of temporary support design at the expense of the builder’s safety.

Below are the changes within construction design of which I explained in detail to the HSE back in 2015 and for some un-explained reason the H.S.E permitted further eccentricities to counter-act the design changes of which has compromised the end user’s safety even more and without any further testing being carried out.

 

The traditional tongued prop attachment was designed in the mid 1980’s when the typical rooms & openings were smaller and a cavity only 50mm, but due to changes in construction design a cavity has doubled in size and over 150mm upon new properties for further thermal value and with open plan living accommodation vastly increasing opening sizes within a typical residential rear extension; therefore attempting tasks which require longer & wider steels with welded top/bottom plates for larger openings and wider cavities and still only using the out-of-date tongued attachment is where more cases of collapse occur due to overextending even further from the wall to gain enough fitting access.

 Eccentrically loaded Acrow prop research 16

It is wrong for so called professionals to allow such dangerous practice on our homes and work place. The neglect & incompetence which the HSE staff have shown is also un-acceptable when it’s their duty to protect life and to minimise risk. Why have no lessons been learnt after Grenfell which caused 72 Deaths from manipulated product test results and also cost the tax payer 3.5 Billion GBP+? The issues need to be addressed through-out the construction industry to ensure the correct level of safety is provided to the worker and to the public.

IMG 3916

_____________________

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

IMG 0514 2

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

The above generic 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.

 –

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

IMG 0542

Example of a 25 degree angle within a Flemish bond

IMG 0563

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 generic 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.

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 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  give the correct fitting work access without dangerously overloading the structure due to a variety of different factors of which can’t be calculated safely.

 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 accidents of overloading continue to reoccur only the builder is at fault and fined/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 due to misuse of an Acrow prop, 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 did not 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?

IMG 0836

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.

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 the structure above and using a generic, 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 having to make 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 due to a severe lack of 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 the need to remove the opening to the full depth before a typical 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, Not knowing how to safely plan a task prior to commencement of a task and taking unnecessary risks due to not using a variety of temporary support equipment most suitable.

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 maximises 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?

hse 2

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

hse 1

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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?

hse 3

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?

——

 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

Strongboys do 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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