Scaffolding�What Can We Do? (Available only in Structural Engineering Special Issue)

by Jason P. Heroux, P.E., (M.ASCE), Sr. Engr.; Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., Arlington, MA,
Raymond W. LaTona, (F.ASCE), Principal; Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., San Francisco, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1998, Vol. 68, Issue 4, Pg. 2A-6A

Document Type: Feature article


Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. investigated a construction site scaffolding collapse at a West Coast hotel which permanently injured three workers. The engineering investigation proved that a poorly repaired truss triggered the collapse. The damaged truss was installed as a result of poor erection practices and maintenance procedures. In addition, the structure was underdesigned and the typical trusses were loaded to yield before the broken truss collapsed. This accident and the resulting investigation prove that there is a role for engineers and contractors in helping to prevent similar collapses for happening again. Contractors or Engineers of Record (EOR) could require that a Professional Engineer (PE) seal all scaffold designs. The EOR could require that scaffold designs be submitted for review prior to erection. In addition, the Contractor should require scaffolding inspection form submittals and submission of erection details.

Subject Headings: Falsework and scaffolds | Trusses | Structural failures | Contracts and subcontracts | Site investigation | Labor | Construction sites

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