The role of decision support systems in preventing structural collapse

Unexpected incidents involving complete or partial structural collapse during
refurbishments carry the potential to claim several lives at once. These events
can be prevented by sound judgements influenced by decision support systems. An
research project report, funded by the British Health and Safety Executive
(HSE), "Avoiding Structural Collapse in Refurbishment: Decision Support System"
has generated recommendations to supplement those of the earlier study - Health
and Safety in Refurbishment Involving Structural Instability and Partial
Demolition, the former has reviewed current strategies adopted for avoiding
structural collapse, established the end-user requirements for a decision
support system in this area, developed a new refurbishment process model and
developed a decision support system for context-specific guidance at all stages
of the refurbishment process.

Conclusions and recommendations from the research project include:

  • careful and detailed consideration is necessary for partial demolitions and
    structural alterations that may interfere with the structural stability of the
  • there is a need to improve the decision-making process in refurbishment
    projects by providing information on structural safety and integrity,
    highlighting the key problem areas;
  • detailed structural appraisals should be carried out by competent structural
  • refurbishment projects involving partial demolition activities and/or
    structural alterations require the appointment of competent and qualified
    professionals who can ensure the integrity of the structure at all stages;
  • the use of a Decision Support System to prevent structural collapse can
    enhance safety in refurbishment projects while also facilitating collaborative
  • there is a need for a Refurbishment Process Model describing a structured
    sequence of activities during the refurbishment project life-cycle.

Further info

AplusA-online.de - Source: Health and Safety Executive