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An analysis of some recent failures in civil engineering: are there lessons to be learned?

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The use of machinery in civil engineering construction and operation of infrastructure projects is inevitable. This paper describes an approach to civil engineering design as a one off exercise related to individual projects. The wider issues of responsibility for approvals and for health and safety are raised, as is the importance factor when a failure is related to the economy of a small country. Awareness of risk issues and importance factors in construction plant and machinery is emphasized by reference to the failure of a launching girder which is an essential component in the construction of a major bridge structure. Finally, the relevance of inspection and maintenance for facilities which are used by the general public is highlighted by reference to a recent failure of a car parking structure in the UK, and the liability for establishing and selecting criteria to satisfy whole life costing or planned maintenance is introduced as a corollary of this.
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Keywords: CIVIL ENGINEERING; DISASTERS; PROJECT MANAGEMENT; SAFETY MANAGEMENT; STRUCTURAL FAILURE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1998-03-01

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