The construction of buildings and structures using precast or tilt-up concrete elements or panels can be a complicated process involving a range of employers and workers.
Workers or the public may be at risk of being struck or crushed by falling concrete elements if elements:
- fail while being lifted or erected
- collapse once erected due to poorly designed, installed or maintained temporary bracing systems, or premature removal of temporary bracing systems.
Before commencing work, the builder, principal contractor or erector should confirm who is responsible for the various aspects of the design and erection of precast or tilt-up concrete elements or panels.
Ideally, a suitably competent person, such as an engineer with relevant experience, should be engaged to develop a safe system of work (erection design) for the erection of precast or tilt-up concrete elements or panels.
The formulation of the erection design should include systems that ensure elements, panels, inserts, panel braces, and supporting structures are able to resist any potential static, dynamic and impact loads during:
- removal of the element from the form or casting bed (suction loads)
- handling and transportation (impact and dynamic loads)
- erection (lifting/rotating/bracing loads)
- temporary bracing (wind loads)
- subsequent construction works (any loading of the element, panel, or bracing system due to the construction sequence, eg concrete floor construction, partial roof installation).
In the absence of an engineer or other competent person, the builder or principal contractor should not assume that the project design engineer, precaster or erection crew have formulated the erection design.
Guide to managing risk in construction: Prefabricated Concrete - Safe Work Australia