Incorporating CROSS and SCOSS
Structural-Safety combines the activities of CROSS and SCOSS to work with the professions, industry and government on safety matters concerned with the design, construction and use of building and civil engineering structures. It:
- collects confidential data on the concerns of structural and civil engineers and others
- provides comments in relation to these concerns
- maintains a data base of reports
- collects data from public sources on failures, collapses and relevant incidents
- considers whether unacceptable risk exists, or might arise in the future
- promotes a positive attitude to learning from experience
- helps to influence changes to improve structural safety.
Structural-Safety is headed by an advisory panel composed of representatives from the three sponsors, IStructE, ICE, and HSE, and CROSS and SCOSS. The SCOSS committee functions as a learned society and CROSS handles confidential reports. The advisory panel determines and monitor policy.
Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety is the scheme established by SCOSS in 2005 to improve structural safety and reduce failures by using confidential reports to highlight lessons that have been learnt, to generate feedback and to influence change. Reports sent to CROSS are completely confidential and neither personal details nor information that could be used to identify a project or product are seen by anyone other than the CROSS director. CROSS has established a successful confidential reporting system based on those used by the aviation industry and publishes Newsletters containing de-identified reports with comments from a panel of experts. Published reports are held on the data base.
Support is given by major organisations, including the Health and Safety Executive, the Department for Communities and Local Government, Highways England, Network Rail, and the Scottish Building Standards Agency. The Local Authority Building Control organisation which represents all building control departments in England is also a supporter as are many firms and representative organisations.
Anyone involved in the building and civil engineering professions, but especially civil engineers and structural engineers, can report to the scheme. Complete confidentiality is maintained and there are procedures to ensure that this is strictly complied with. Anonymous reports will not be accepted because the contents cannot be verified. and advice cannot be provided on urgent matters.
The Standing Committee on Structural Safety is the independent body established in 1976 to maintain a continuing review of building and civil engineering matters affecting the safety of structures. SCOSS aims to identify in advance those trends and developments which might contribute to an increasing risk to structural safety.
The prime function of SCOSS is to identify in advance those trends and developments which might contribute to an increasing risk to structural safety. To that end, SCOSS interacts with the professions, industry and government on all matters concerned with design, construction and use of building and civil engineering structures.
SCOSS liaises with the Chief Executives of the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Institution of Civil Engineers. Its Reports are published biennially whilst Bulletins, Alerts and Topic Papers are published from time to time to draw attention to SCOSS's recommendations and to encourage the collection and dissemination of experiences likely to foster the avoidance of structural failures and a greater measure of structural reliability.
Whilst concentrating on matters relating to the United Kingdom, SCOSS maintains an awareness and contact with construction events worldwide. In so far as its resources enable it to do so, it seeks to obtain information from overseas experience by appropriate contacts with the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering and other international associations.
Topics for consideration by SCOSS arise from many sources; relying upon information derived mainly from the experience of others. SCOSS seeks information on how structures actually perform in practice. It identifies where risks are thought likely to be unacceptable and then seeks changes of practice which will maintain safety. It is itself a feedback mechanism and encourages other, more comprehensive, modes. Feedback is received through the day-to-day interaction of SCOSS members with the professions, industry and government. Feedback on topics which are considered particularly relevant is actively sought. More than a hundred topics have been closely studied at some time in the last 40 years. Many of these topics are, by their nature, fundamental and ongoing. Others are relatively detailed and result from incidents reported to SCOSS as potential problems. Not all topics drawn to the attention of SCOSS are necessarily pursued. Once a topic has been addressed, SCOSS aims to leave the matter unless it decides that there are ongoing structural safety issues which are not being adequately addressed elsewhere.
Funding is provided by the two Institutions and the Health and Safety Executive with support services provided by the Institution of Structural Engineers.
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