Structural failure refers to loss of the load-carrying capacity of a component or member within a structure or of the structure itself. Structural failure is initiated when the material is stressed to its strength limit, thus causing fracture or excessive deformations and the structure or building may even collapse entirely or in part. In a well-designed system, a localized failure should not cause immediate or even progressive collapse of the entire structure. Ultimate failure strength is one of the limit states that must be accounted for in structural engineering and structural design.
After any incident which affects a structure or building such as fire, earthquake, severe flooding and storm damage it is recommended that the structural safety be examined by a qualified engineer before (re)occupation or utilisation of the structure or building. The City of Cape Town’s Planning and Building Management Unit will form part of the investigation after any significant incident where structural damage has occurred.
By drafting your own Family Emergency Plan and identifying all your risks, including those hazards affecting your own environment, you can make a positive contribution to preparedness.