FCM were employed as Clerk of Works by the client from the commencement of the contract. The client wanted to ensure that the contractor kept to ER’s, specs and drawings as per the contract documents as they had specified a 60 yr life span to student accommodation. The ground floor slab was being extended to form a retaining wall. There were no proprietary spacers available so the sub-contractor decided to improvise with paving bricks and lengths of scaffold tube. This was not 5 minutes work and must have been seen by the main contractor’s site team while it was being carried out. The spacers also did not give the specified cover.
When it was pointed out, we were told that it was just temporary until the correct spacers arrived.
The problem was that the sub-contractor had wired in the “temp spacers”. They had the distinct appearance of being permanent.
This was a retaining wall being built to some 2+m high. The scaffold tubes and incorrect spacers could be a cause of a weak spot and contribute to an early failure as the scaffold tubes rusted in the concrete.
Fortunately we were on site and able to spot it in time. The correct spacers were installed and so avert the possible early failure of the retaining wall.