Structural Appraisals – Learning from Building Failures

Short course

In London

£ 230 + VAT


  • Type

    Short course

  • Location


  • Duration

    1 Day



Start date

See map
7 Warwick Court, WC1R 5DJ

Start date

On request

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Course programme

Structural Appraisals - Learning from Building Failures


The vast majority of buildings in the UK outperform the expectations of their designers and builders, lasting longer, and often needing far less maintenance than originally intended. However, dramatic failures do occur. The partial collapses of Ronan Point tower block in 1968, Rock Ferry School gymnasium in 1976, Pipers Row car park in 1997, and Hyde Park Gardens terrace in 2002 are extreme reminders that the fitness for purpose of existing structures needs to be checked from time to time.

In order to spot defects and make an accurate appraisal, Engineers need to know details such as when Woodwool Slabs were used, where the Bookend-Effect might occur, whether HAC Concrete is still a threat, what the symptoms of Snapped-Header brickwork are, and why the Regent Street Disease is still growing.

Course Content:

  • Session 1: Introduction and setting of course objectives
  • Session 2: Structural Surveys
    • Types of survey
    • Risk assessment
    • Survey techniques
    • Movement monitoring.
  • Session 3: Causes of Structural Movement
    • Inadequate strength
    • Discontinuity
    • Material decay
    • Dimonesional instability
    • Foundation / subsoil problems
    • Lateral instability
    • Alterations and misuse.
  • Session 4: Georgian and Victorian Problems
    • Unbonded wall junctions
    • Snapped-header brickwork
    • The bookend effect
    • Iron cramp failure
    • Cantilever stone stairs
    • Fireproof floors.
  • Session 5: Edwardian and Inter-Wars Problems
    • The Regents Street Disease
    • Reinforced concrete.
  • Session 6: Delegates Group Exercise
    • Diagnose building movement
    • Prescribe repairs.
  • Session 7: Post-War Defects
    • L. P. S. Buildings
    • HAC concrete
    • Woodwool slabs
    • Unbraced roofs
    • Flat slabs
    • Partial chimney breast removal.
  • Session 8: Course review and conclusion.


Clive Richardson, BSc, CEng, FIStructE, MCIArb

Clive Richardson is a Technical Director of one of the UK's top ten engineering consultancies, with many years of specialist experience in the appraisal, repair, and development of buildings. The tutor is also visiting Lecturer in Structural Movement at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London and the RICS/College of Estate Management, Reading. His daily work spans residential, commercial, and institutional property, to the continuing care of arguably the greatest church in England, Westminster Abbey. He is also author of many technical works, including "The AJ Guide to Structural Surveys".

Structural Appraisals – Learning from Building Failures

£ 230 + VAT