A paper presented to the Society of Construction Law at a meeting in London on 7th February 2017
Central to preventing catastrophic failures in the construction sector is a knowledge of their underlying causes. However, construction and engineering are by their very nature technical professions, and there can be a temptation to relegate the causes of these failures as being purely technical in nature. But is this the case or do human beings play a bigger role? This paper examines the interaction between technical and human factors in failure causation, and concludes that while failures stem from technical issues, it is human fallibility that allows these issues to culminate in catastrophe.
Introduction – Two failures: technical causes – The Quebec Bridge: technical cause – The Quebec Bridge: human causes – Two failures: human causes – Closure.
The author: Sean Brady is a forensic structural engineer who specialises in identifying the cause of defects and failures in the construction and engineering sectors; he is managing director of Brady Heywood Pty Ltd.
Text 12 pages.