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Rise In Falling Debris From Property Façades Increases Public Injury Risk.

17th December 2013
Accidents and subsequent injury claims sought as a result of items of debris falling from height during renovations on a building site or in a public thoroughfare are not infrequent. Despite strict regulation aimed at preventing any accidentally dropped tools or materials from falling to the ground below and inflicting serious or fatal injury on fellow workers or members of the public, injury compensation for suffering this type of injury is still common.

Between 2011 and 2012, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report that the construction industry sector recorded 2230 major injuries received from all types of accidents. In addition, there was a 7 per cent increase in all non-fatal injuries, up from 7120 in 2010/11 to 7621 in 2011/12.

A dramatic and tragic example of the fatal consequences of falling debris occurred in August 2012, when a woman was crushed to death by collapsing masonry from a window frame as she walked past a building in central London’s Hanover Square.

However, a combination of extreme weather conditions in recent years and the continuing economic austerity seems to be generating a potential set of new problems as instances of falling debris from building frontages across the UK are increasingly being reported.

According to the property and construction industry, a reduction in maintenance spending by property owners has led to a rise in stone-cladding failures on building façades, weakened by the last few years of severe cold and wet weather.

The increased likelihood of falling debris and the risk of injury to the general public could also see a rise in fatalities and horrific injuries as owners cut back on property maintenance during the ongoing economic climate.

In many instances, and according to individual policies, only if a strict maintenance and inspection procedure has been regularly undertaken can an insurance policy be deemed valid for legal liabilities. The issue becomes more critical when the age and condition of the building is also taken into account.

Owners of business properties need to be made aware of the possibilities of a disintegration of cladding, brickwork or masonry (including roofing or guttering) as a result of the recent years of hard weather and to take preventative measures at the earliest opportunity.