Falling Masonry

A bus passenger was injured after a piece of masonry fell onto a bus in Edinburgh when a piece of masonry blew off a building and fell through a near-side window on the vehicle’s upper deck.

Masonry Fall in Edinburgh – the cause of this failure has not been determined at this stage.


This again highlights the issue and the Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety for Scottish Buildings (SCOSS) work carried out between August 2005 and August 2007 collected information from Local Authorities in Scotland on materials and debris that fell from buildings, and concerns about materials or components that might fall.


Twenty five Local Authorities provided 1,275 reports and short descriptions of incidents were given in many of the reports. Some examples, such as falls of masonry were potentially serious, and illustrate the risks of personal injuries or deaths to passing members of the public.


The age of buildings was an important feature with over 80% being estimated as at around 100 years old (therefore deemed as traditional buildings).


There was a standard list of categories for materials concerned and 65% of incidents involved stone walls or roofs.


Buildings most at risk of deterioration have been found to be: 100 or more years old, built with stone walls and a slate roof, have 3 or 4 storeys, and be in private or shared ownership.


The Scottish Housing Condition Survey 2014 stated 72% of Scotland’s traditionally built homes (pre 1919) had disrepair to critical elements ” Critical element disrepair: this refers to disrepair to building elements central to weather-tightness, structural stability and preventing deterioration of the property.”


On top of that, 39% had disrepair to critical elements which were deemed as urgent!


You are starting to get the picture of the potential for masonry and roofing failures which could result in injuries to the public and the overall condition of Scotland’s traditionally built homes. There is a real need to ensure that homes and wind, watertight and structurally sound to minimise incidents of masonry failures.


It has to be stressed that we do not know the cause of the latest such masonry fall.


On top of that, a home cannot be energy efficient if it is not wind and watertight.



John McKinney

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