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Verulam

Building regulations control Several members have written about diferent aspects of such control. Ian Anderson has written at length, drawing on his experience of checking calculations. Working for the local authority he found that authorities in his neighbourhood varied very considerably in their capabilities and staff numbers, with budgets often inadequate. Problem areas include calculations, often prepared by inexperienced persons who rely on the local authority to identify possible errors. Basic concepts are too frequently ignored. Loft conversions are often carried out with little awareness that the walls being removed also assist overall stability and, in the case of terraces, the last house in the terrace may require framing to avoid creating a mechanism. Steel beams were often assumed to have their top flange fully restrained without any connections to the supported pool; and floors are assumed to provide diaphragm action without any supporting evidence. Too frequently single members are calculated with no assessment of the interaction of a structure in total. Walls are taken on trust with no wind calculations provided and even tall boundary walls are frequently left unchecked. Mr Anderson continues: The subject of design certificates came up as a solution to minimise costs of checking, but the problems of professional indemnity insurance and quality assurance have yet to be ironed out both for designers submitting calcs and for the local authority who takes responsibility for approval. Verulam