Managing Structural Safety – Condition Surveys , Seminar Part Three

Condition Surveys

Our third speaker for the day was John Staves, Managing Director at Michael Aubrey Partnership. John is a Chartered Structural Engineer and has worked in the Telecoms industry for over 30 years.

Specialist Telecoms Knowledge

He could be described as a “poacher turned game keeper” as initially, John’s specialist knowledge was gained through working with the mobile operators – he understands the Telecoms market and it gives Michael Aubrey Partnership a unique stand point when representing the Fire and Police Services – providing them with independent, unbiased advice.

John opened his presentation talking about what the drivers were for structural safety, with reference to BS8210 2012. He talked about how British Standards are moving away from being prescriptive to acting more as a “prompt” to think. Allowing you to set out a framework – more of a risk management approach where you;

  • identify hazards
  • identify who could be at risk
  • eliminate, reduce or control the hazard and
  • train those affected by it

Telecoms Condition Surveys

John shared his experience talking through a recent case study where Michael Aubrey Partnership were asked to undertake detailed condition surveys on 65+ drill towers and ancillary structures across the UK.

Masonry drill tower







Using a traffic light system of categorisation he was able to help the Fire Authorities identify which structures were in urgent need of repair.

  • 13% of drill towers were identified as being “red” and having defects so serious that they required immediate action
  • Over half of drill towers required maintenance within 12 months

Maintenance Schedule

Ordered by priority, a maintenance schedule was generated which allowed the Fire Authorities to plan their maintenance project around this.

Economies of scale were able to be achieved with contractors, as maintenance programs could be carried out in a methodical, planned way.

Importance of Routine Maintenance

John also talked about the importance of regular routine maintenance.

Whilst unexpected deterioration, damage or failures may still occur, with a regular maintenance cycle you will minimise the need for major refurbishment and repairs

Structures deteriorate over time and will continue to deteriorate if regular routine maintenance is not carried out. Minor repairs and preventative maintenance, should minimise future problems and ensure your structures remain in peak condition.

In summary;

  • Adopt a risk based approach
  • Set your maintenance policy in line with the British Standard BS8210: 2012
  • Adopt a tier based approach with regular inspections and reporting by users, annual reporting by your estates department and specialised surveys every 3 years

When was the last time you carried out a detailed inspection of your property portfolio? If you did, would you find your sites in the Red or Green category?

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