Tall buildings: research reveals risk areas

Tall buildings: Research
Image: Unsplash/Lawless Capture

Analysis of five years’ worth of inspections of tall buildings across the UK has revealed the most common risk areas and trends in construction details.

A new report by warranty provider Premier Guarantee examined data from inspections of 883 buildings of six storeys and above over a five-year period.

It found that more than a third of issues raised by risk management surveyors during inspections related to external walls.

Risk areas

Across all issues identified by Premier Guarantee’s risk management surveyors during construction:

  • 35% relate to external walls, with steel frame showing a disproportionate number of issues identified during construction;
  • 9% account for roofs;
  • 5% for internal walls;
  • Foundations and basements total 4% each;
  • Balcony issues have fallen from 8% share in 2019 to 2% in 2022.

Premier Guarantee noted an uptick in construction issues during construction found through the height of the Covid-19 lockdowns, but the number identified by surveyors has since fallen close to 2018/pre-pandemic levels.

Premier Guarantee subsequently closed all issues considered for the report’s data, showing that site workers rectified the construction details to the satisfaction of surveyors and the warranty provider’s technical standards.

Impact of MMC

The report also considers the growing trend to consider risk at earlier design stages, the rising influence of modern construction methods, and the impact of the Building Safety Act on risk management and regulatory compliance in taller buildings.

Liam Devaney, managing director of Premier Guarantee’s warranty inspection services, said: “As a warranty and building control provider, Premier Guarantee has a vital role to play in the construction sector, not just during the construction phase, but for the completed building and its eventual occupants.

“As an industry we have been presented with monumental challenges over the past four years, many of which are discussed by my knowledgeable colleagues in this paper.

“Working with the industry we must help shape the future by building safer, compliant and high-quality tall buildings.”

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