Friday, January 20, 2006

Gaff of the week

Property: rather swanky apartment in 18th century, Grade A listed, Edinburgh New Town Crescent.

Brief: Client wants new loo on the opposite side of the flat to where the drains are.

Problem: Only way to get soil pipe across flat to link in with drain is to drill large hole through the main structural beam that holds up the entire floor.

Solution: Structural engineer designed a rather clever steel plate arrangement that would strengthen the beam locally therefore allowing the pipe to pass through the beam without total collapse of the building.

Gaff: On visiting site today my colleague Zoe discovered the builders had drilled the 120mm diameter hole through the beam, leaving only a few centimeters of timber to carry the load.

Zoe's heart started to race:

'Where are the steel reinforcing plates?' she asked.
'Oh, we haven't made them yet, we wanted to drill the hole first so we could see what size we have to make the plate' they replied.
'Have you propped up the floor downstairs?'.
'er... no. Do you think we should?'.

Needless to say Zoe moved quicker than I've ever seen her move. Within 2 hours, after lots of angry phone calls, the plates were fabricated and fitted, and collapse of one of Edinburgh's most expensive addresses was narrowly averted.


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