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The risks to human life in buildings arising from structural inadequacy are very low,
especially compared with those now accepted in other fields such as transport. Nonetheless, the Institution supports the philosophy underlying the Building Regulations which were framed as part of successive Public Health Acts, i.e. the maintenance of health and safety for the public. This report deals with the structural
engineering aspects of the Building Regulations and also with the broader question of
building control as it affects the structural engineer. The present position is that building control is vested in the State acting through the local authorities. Recently, the Secretary of State has postulated that responsibility for structural safety should be returned to the developer and any subsequent owner, who would be required to assume this responsibility by means of any necessary insurance against third-party claims on matters relating to public health and safety.
The seventh in the series of Surveys undertaken by the CEI was conducted in the summer of 1979. The results as applying to all chartered engineers, etc., were published in December 1979. Copies of the full Survey can be obtained from the CEI, 2 Little Smith Street, London SWIP 3DL, price £5. Corporate members and Graduates of the Institution were invited to complete and return survey questionnaires distributed with The Structural Engineer in May 1979. A sample of Associate-Members received a separate questionnaire at about the same time. A total of some 28 000 questionnaires were processed. Because the response from chartered engineers and Graduates in each institution was not strictly comparable to the size, a simple weighting procedure was again adopted to correct any imbalance.
In recent months a great deal has been written about the reduction of snow loads on large areas of roofs, and it now seems clear that the reduction is in conformity with the intentions of CP 3: Chapter V. Mr. C. S. Westbrook adds to these comments:
With reference to Mr. W. G. Ellis’s comments in the November issue, I too am aware that certain commercial organisations are interpreting the anomoly in CP 3: Chapter V: Part 1: Loading to their advantage and not in the interest of their clients, or what I feel was anticipated within the formulation of the Code.