Category Archives: Construction

Coal Yard Couture

Ho ho ho here I am in chi chi chic Coal Yard London, so hipsterly couture you need fingerless hands in your fingerless mittens to fit in. It is so shallowly pointlessly hard-stoop erstatz inspired it gently appalls. My father owns the sheep on a thousand hills and as regards the rest, well I lived in real designer land for 30 years, so for me their fabulous Tomorrowland is so passé. This place is gentrified to the point of desertification. The Kingdom of Heaven on the other hand, is the real thing, whereas this place is just the sad worldly imitation.

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Disappearing Cambridge

Here is another “episode” of Disappearing Cambridge, again in Mill Road – place of my birth. In a private courtyard at the end of the road near the centre of town, just about opposite the swimming pool, there were two mosaics. Sadly one is almost completely worn away and the other is in a very poor state. Given the condition of this art I think it will not be there much longer. They were commissioned from a world-renowned specialist mosaic artist in 2004. I can find no photograph of them in original condition online. Here they are as of now, sadly. Based on the one still visible, I think they had real class.

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Bury St.Edmunds – before it’s gone

The N2S building at the junction of Newmarket Road and Western Way in Bury St.Edmunds is an occupied building, and one must assume very well-protected security-wise. It looks like it’s 1960’s construction and probably has all the 60’s problems that one would expect, including being riddled with Asbestos – unless it has been removed. It’s the sort of place that may well not be listed and that one can easily envisage suddenly disappearing, so I’ve snapped some pictures now, just in case it’s gone suddenly one day when I next pass there.

I seem to recall that the red venetian blinds have always been part of the building, that I have passed by numerous times over the last 50 or so years, and that they have faded over the decades. As they were almost certainly bespoke and costly to replace, I imagine my memory of this may well be correct. The visual effect, unintentionally, has always been to make the place look like a fire station with big red doors for the engines.

I wonder when exactly it was built, what was it’s original purpose, and of course who were the architects. I really like this building. I think it has bags of character and looks like a very “Gerry Anderson” kind of film-set. If anyone knows more about this building please do contact me via the comments facility.

Amazing Building

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Isleham Baptist (High Street Church) new Church building “The Ark” is approaching second fix stage – interior ironmongery, lights, switches, although there is still some panelling/ dry-lining/ partitioning to do.

Started around 2009 on donated land, built in English vernacular wooden-frame style (Tudor!) wholly hand-made from New Forest hand-picked individually felled 150-200 year old Oak trees, without officially any architect, all designed by volunteer master carpenters. Everything is hand made bespoke. Basically only some sanitary-ware and second fixings are proprietary.

It is  about three to four stories high with double and treble hammer-beam almost gothic roofing. It is HUGE. The car park is gigantic. There are many large classrooms (enough that it could be school), 2 huge refrectories (eating rooms) and a full size commercial kitchen. There is of course a baptismal pool. There is room after stunning room, balconies, a courtyard, cloisters and minstrel galleries. All wired CAT6 for ITC. Check out the herringbone brickwork. This is Hampton Court (Royal Palace) level work, just a half-century later!

The price is so low due to donations and volunteer work that my Quantity Surveyor friends cannot believe it is so far only £3m. This is about as incredible as the mosque I am working on and about the same size, but around order of magnitude less cost. Wow!

Enjoy a few pictures. Remember all is hand-made bespoke.

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All photography in this article is my own Copyright©2018 kevintangodance not to be used without my prior permission.

FIU Miami Bridge Collapse questions

I was interested to look at pictures of the recent tragic bridge collapse. Here are what it seems to me may be of significance and some questions to be answered. First lets look at what is where before it happened.

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This photo is before the collapse taken from the side on which the central reservation chevrons face away from the camera on both sides of the bridge, which at this stage is still being moved into position. Note that in the central highway lane on the side of the highway that has lighting poles along the outer margin, there is no crane where I have arrowed down. Along the top of the bridge there are various areas where apparently bolts go through the roof to the upper side. I have circled a couple of these areas. These bolts presumably hold the supporting diagonal braces in position. It appears as if the tension and compression forces in the supporting diagonal braces are either compression or tension and may be directed as per the arrows I have drawn on them, I say appears, I am not an engineer.

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You can check out in the view above  that there is no crane of the side of the bridge on the side to which the central reservation chevrons point. There is some sort of yellow/orange crane boom arm just visible on the opposite side in the top left corner of the photo, but no crane on the right. The bridge is being rolled into position above the main reinforced concrete legs.

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Now look at the still approaching from the side to which the chevrons point, immediately before the collapse. On the left of the still you see the white boom arm of a crane. It was not there when the earlier pictures were taken during the positioning of the bridge onto its legs, and the white boom arm is different to the small area of yellow/orange arm pictured earlier standing on the opposite side to the crane that is shown on the immediately preceeding collapse image above.

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Here above we see the white boom arm crane closer, immediately before the collapse. See it is doing something on the roof of the bridge, near those important bolts.

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Now above we are maybe less than one second away from the collapse. Is that a guy up there  at the hook end of the crane on the roof doing something? It looks like there is something large and so possibly heavy on the end of the lifting cable.

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Now above the moment of collapse. Whatever the crane was holding swings violently as the bridge beneath it collapses. Below, is that a man falling?

Below, a frame later, what/whoever is falling has fallen down further in relation to the boom arm. The person or object is definitely lower and so is falling.

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Above you can see finally dangling, whatever is left of something large on the end of that crane hook. It is as wide as the supporting diagonal inside the bridge. Maybe quite heavy then. See the chevrons by the way?

So, below now we are after the collapse. There is no sign anywhere of the crane with the white boom arm. There is a green mobile elevating work platform which was not there during the collapse.

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Here are my questions:

What was the white boom arm crane doing?

Did someone fall with the roof from on top where the crane was working during the collapse?

Why has the white boom arm crane been removed, surely this is vital evidence and needs to be left in place for forensic investigation?

Did the directions of forces transmitted in the strangely asymmetrically braced bridge design have any bearing on the collapse?

And of course there is that phone call voicemail about cracks from the engineer that wasn’t collected until the day after the collapse. But please don’t let that be the main question, because as I show above, there are other questions also.

 

Woodwork

Here is some pretty and large woodwork. This section is about 10 meters across and sits about 10 meters high. It is just one of many sections that will support a huge roof. A 100 tonne crane does the lifting.

No-one will ever have the chance to see the sky through this woodwork again once the roof goes on, and most people are highly unlikely to get access onto this site currently under construction. So my photo here is just about unique. Enjoy.

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Ely Cathedral Octagonal Lantern

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In church architecture, the circle represents Heaven and the square represents Earth. Thus many steeples on churches are octagonal, representing that the church is midway between Earth and Heaven, pointing the way for the believer to follow. Ely Cathedral has an octagonal lantern atop its transept for a similar reason. A very good book about the symbolism and meaning of church architecture by the way is called “How to read a church” by Dr.Richard Taylor.

I consider Ely to be one of the finest Cathedrals in the world, having visited about 40 of them. Here is my somewhat abstract photograph of Ely’s lantern and a view of the nave, which I consider to have at each end the two finest Norman arches in Europe.

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Here are three nice movies about this ancient building, an edifice which I am blessed to see every day as the view from my home.

 

Crane Collapse fine

UK crane company Falcon Crane Hire Ltd has been fined 750k UKP (about 1.1m USD) because of a crane collapse that killed 2 people.

What I find noteworthy in this is that the deaths occurred in 2006, the fine was just announced in 2016. The accident was  technically complicated because it involved bolts shearing because of metal fatigue and factors such as bolts previously shearing and what systems had been used to investigate things. So this case is a good example of the awful long drawn out consequences of a serious accident.

Ten years in court. Can you even imagine the legal costs to the company that had the accident? They also had to pay 100k UKP in legal costs for the other side. Maybe the company is insured – that’s highly likely – but do the insurance company pay all the costs or is there a limit reached after which…? It dragged on for TEN YEARS. And maybe they will appeal, maybe it might even not be over yet!

Then there is damage to their business, big customers that maybe say let’s go somewhere else, less embarrassing. People like me, who in their professional roles influence purchasing of services like cranes might just say play it safe, go somewhere else just in case. Then maybe there is compensation to the victims’ families, which could also involve more legal fees. That part for all I know may not even have started yet. The ten years of management time occupied by the case = what did that cost. Future insurance premium fees – will they go up?

People use a phrase very readily when they say “The true cost of an accident.” This particular tragedy looks set to be one of the court cases that enters the safety training textbooks.

Notable also is that the accident was prosecuted under sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974. It was apparently not prosecuted under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations which are subsidiary Regulations to the 1974 Act. As a senior UK Health and Safety Inspector (HSE) told me, he doesn’t worry too much about detailed subsidiary Regulations (so-called in the UK Statutory Instruments), he just goes the for nice wide general 1974 Act, a law that basically says just make everything safe as far as is reasonably practicable. It’s a wide net, so it leaves little opportunity for fancy lawyers to wriggle out. “The law says it must be safe and there was an accident so clearly it was not safe,” is the crudely stated but essentially correct, perfect hindsight starting point that means health and safety prosecutions in the UK usually succeed.

Link to the full report at Safety and Health Practitioner website <– click

In all this technical interest and professional analysis, let’s remember that for everyone involved in the human and technical failings that led to a tragedy, it was not anyone’s intention for people to die in a terrible accident that would damage the company and leave people grieving. Whatever the human factors and motives that led the people and organisation to this terrible situation, people did not on that day believe there would be an accident. The problem is that neither did they on that day believe there was a reasonable chance there could be an accident. Nobody set out to cause harm, but inadequacies led to it anyway.

None of us are perfect except through Christ.  …he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone… (extract from John 8:7 KJV)

Prayer:
Jesus please help us to do our best very day to be safe and keep everyone else safe in their work too. Amen.