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  • Freestanding Sign fail, any ideas why you think this happened?

    Posted by Robert Lambie on January 25, 2022 at 10:03 pm

    This sign was made by a sign company local to me.
    as you can see, It has fallen down and this is its current state.
    There are a few things that are wrong with how it has been made which ultimately has led the sign to fail and now be on the ground.
    The only thing missing from this picture is the second post that held it up. everything else is shown, as is.

    Does anyone notice flaws in how it has been manufactured?

    David Stevenson replied 1 month, 2 weeks ago 16 Members · 43 Replies
  • 43 Replies
  • Duncan Wilkie

    Member
    January 25, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    They certainly weren’t engineers. Everything is flimsy. Way under built. I don’t see the base in the pic, but it undoubtedly wasn’t appropriate either. When you aren’t going to hire a structural engineer to design the sign, you need to overbuild to be safe. This sign is a perfect example of what not to do.

    • Robert Lambie

      Administrator
      January 25, 2022 at 11:16 pm

      very true Duncan. totally agree.

      What looks like the top of the sign, is actually the bottom. the steel posts have snapped off.

  • Richard Wills

    Member
    January 25, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    Apart from the flimsy construction, the bridges in the cross members are joined over the panel joints.

    But fatally, someone left an upturned cup of HOT coffee over the connection to the support, so given that this is in Scotland, differential expansion from thermal stress. I believe the same problem can happen in Eastborne in the summer with mojitos. Particularly if the straws snap.

  • David Hammond

    Member
    January 26, 2022 at 6:52 am

    There doesn’t appear to be any mechanical fixings, just VHB holding the rail.

    The silver/mill reverse, perhaps its a cheap hoarding grade ACM

    2 posts, I’d have gone with 3 at least, if not 4.

    Unfortunately I fear we may see more corners cut, with price increases on raw materials we’ll perhaps see some companies taking shortcuts and using inferior products to maintain low prices, rather than passing the cost on to the end user.

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    January 26, 2022 at 9:19 am

    This is the picture I see in my head when I hear a client say “is that your best price? I have had a cheaper quote than that”

    I just hope whoever made this isn’t on here, be bloody embarrassing to say the least. Have to admire the ambition though, “12’ x 8’? no problem, we’ll just stick some 4” acm strips over the joins, it’ll be fine, it’s only going to be in Glasgow weather, world renowned for it’s balmy tropical climate”

    • Robert Lambie

      Administrator
      January 27, 2022 at 11:35 pm

      I take offence at you for ridiculing our tropical climate here in Glasgow! 🤣🤣

      • Kevin Mahoney

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 6:50 am

        I wouldn’t exist without the Glasgow weather mate, my Grandfather was from there & moved to Ireland. I don’t think he meant to leave, just that he was putting his coat on & the wind caught him before he had chance to button it up

        • Robert Lambie

          Administrator
          January 28, 2022 at 11:35 am

          🤣

          too true mate and I’ve been up 45 ft in a cherrypicker the past week!

          • Kevin Mahoney

            Member
            January 28, 2022 at 12:03 pm

            Balls of steel mate, no danger in falling but the sudden stop at the end can be quite risky. My last time on a cherry picker was eventful, after an hour up at full stretch, came down & found I’d not attached my lanyard to the bucket. Would have been an embarrassing conversation for the good lady with the life insurance people

            • Robert Lambie

              Administrator
              January 28, 2022 at 1:16 pm

              🤣 You’re not alone mate.

  • Martyn Heath

    Member
    January 26, 2022 at 10:26 am

    i think the main problem is that perforated aluminium wasnt used 🤓that solves the glasgow weather issues

  • Martin Cole

    Member
    January 27, 2022 at 8:54 am

    That is quite incredible,

    Looks like the wind load is way too much for just TWO x 89mm ally posts by the looks and just snapped them at the base… seen this happen a few times

    but the way it has been made is frightening…

    agree with Duncan always over build a sign like this, I’ve done a few like this over the years and still up looking good🤞

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    January 27, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    It gets worse when you look closer!

    * The Sign is made from Hoarding Board.
    * The joining straps are attached by double-sided tape.
    * the joining straps are made from Hoarding board.
    * Instead of lengths of channel, spanning the full-width of the sign.
    They have used 12 individual pieces and tried to join them with those small bits of L-shape aluminium angle.

  • Craig Thompson

    Member
    January 28, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    Personally I feel they should be reported for making something like that, it is a danger to the public. Always over manufacture for safety…. 😮😮

    • David Hammond

      Member
      January 28, 2022 at 12:42 pm

      I’m curious if that did damage something, or injure someone, and supposing the sign co were insured, would they pay out?

      • Craig Thompson

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 12:56 pm

        I’d hope not for the shoddy workmanship – car garages get done if they don’t MOT a car properly why shouldn’t they for not building a sign safely, makes me angry when there are many a good company not getting jobs because of shortcut cowboys like these.

        I hope they are on here to see these comments….

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    January 28, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    This outfit would struggle to defend this job as it suffered a catastrophic failure, & could only be worse if it killed somebody or damaged something, but, who is qualified to regulate the process? If our industry is ever going to be policed I think we’re in serious trouble because it will only ever be somebody’s opinion of how it should be done. Unfortunately, we all know opinions are like arseholes, everybody’s got one. A safe work practice should always be followed without exception but this one could possibly be down to a lack of experience. They dodged a bullet this time because nobody died, but if they learn not to cut so many corners next time then that’s valuable experience. We all say we over engineer but that’s only good until one of ours fails, because after all, it was just still, our best guess

  • Jeff

    Member
    January 28, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    at what point could this sign company have thought that this will be a solid structure capable of withstanding strong wind? that is an accident just waiting to happen!

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    January 28, 2022 at 2:41 pm

    That’s the point though Jeff, if they knew this was substandard but did it anyway, they deserve all the ridicule they get. If on the other hand they were naive & genuinely didn’t know this was a bad method, they certainly know now & hopefully will improve. We have to make mistakes in order to refine processes. I won’t go public with some of the hair-brained howlers I committed as an apprentice coming up through the ranks but every one of them taught me a valuable lesson that I would never get sitting an nvq

    • Craig Thompson

      Member
      January 28, 2022 at 3:24 pm

      I agree with learning as an apprentice, but this sort of sign (post mounted in a public area) should be overseen by someone with a more extensive background. There are many trade sign supply companies that you could enquire with and they would inform you of a safe way also.

      For me, no excuses for a sign that unsafe.

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    January 28, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    I was asked many years ago by an old client for, in his words “a big f off sign”

    We agreed 10′ x 5′ 10mm foam sign (long before acm was readily available). Asked all the usual questions as to where it was going, how high, what type of building construction & all that & he assured me he was welding up a steel frame for his idea & not to worry, he had planned everything. Now the guy was a roofer, so pretty competent at making big things safe for extreme weather right? Well apparently not. Turns out this guy was using 1″ box as a frame, a support through the centre, but then to cap it all off, welded two huge tubes to the base of it to clamp it to the ground with his forklift. Never seen one of them blown over before, quite a sight to behold, but the point is, I had no idea what he was planning to do with it so did that make my work shoddy?

    Only the people who made it originally know if it was supposed to be a post mounted sign to begin with or not or indeed, if they actually installed it (maybe Rob knows more?) but I wouldn’t hang someone for shoddy work till I’d heard the full story. I’d be only too happy to supply 3 cheap acm printed boards for a hoarding but if they said they were to be post mounted, I’d decline. I’d be surprised anyone would tackle that job that badly without getting just a little advice from someone with a bit of experience. Not excusing them at all, somebody could have been hurt but may not be entirely the sign makers fault.

    • Robert Lambie

      Administrator
      January 28, 2022 at 10:12 pm

      Definitely meant to be post mounted Kev.
      It is a directory board wayfinding system with a site plan on the face, at the entrance of an industrial estate.

      • Kevin Mahoney

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 10:59 pm

        I take it all back then, may they burn in hell

        • Robert Lambie

          Administrator
          January 28, 2022 at 11:03 pm

          🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣♥

  • David Stevenson

    Member
    January 28, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    The only reason I can see for them making it with 12 pieces of channel is so it would fit in their van. Other than that the mind boggles

    • Robert Lambie

      Administrator
      January 28, 2022 at 10:00 pm

      Either that or using up their off-cuts? 🤔🤣

      • David Stevenson

        Member
        April 2, 2022 at 9:10 pm

        For all the value of sign channel they must be crazy to try and scrimp on that. Not worth the risk

  • Joe Killeen Killeen

    Member
    January 29, 2022 at 11:22 am

    To be fair sometimes clients do not listen, I fitted a bracket to the wall of a building to hold a temporary mesh banner the other side was tied to an existing lamppost, the banner was up over a year. The guy then asked to make it a permanent sign 16’x4′, I explained the bracket we made would hold but we couldn’t take a chance on the lamppost holding.

    Long story longer and more contrary lost out on the job and he ended up needing a new lamppost and insurance claims for the cars it landed on.

    Walk away if they won’t listen.

  • Karen White

    Member
    January 30, 2022 at 5:22 pm

    it is because i do not know exactly what i am doing that stops me from offering a sign like this to my customers. At least at this sort of size, but even i can see this looks wrong and badly made. i would be too worried that it could come down and hurt someone or damage property.

  • Leslie Anderson

    Member
    February 2, 2022 at 10:59 am

    the sign looks in bad shape, how do you know it didn’t hit someone or something?

  • Andy Thorne

    Member
    February 2, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    Difficult to tell from the photo if it roadside (i.e. on a highway) or in a park (for example) but I thought all these signs (certainly roadside) had to be CE marked and as such made to certain standards so as fit for purpose?

    https://bit.ly/3rkHoyy

    We don’t get involved in these sort of signs but if you do would be worth ensuring your supplier makes to this standard at least I would suggest?

    • Robert Lambie

      Administrator
      February 2, 2022 at 7:49 pm

      Hi Andy

      It is not on a highway or main road, mate. but it is at the roadside within an industrial estate.
      It is also not a traffic sign as such, so it will not require manufacturing or product element certifications.
      Unfortunately, the only time badly made signs are questioned is when it causes damage to property or someone gets killed.

      • Andy Thorne

        Member
        February 3, 2022 at 9:00 am

        Thanks for the clarification Rob. Unfortunately the “race to the bottom” culture some companies have to win the work at any cost (and then make to said cost) is the main problem here I think. Signs should be upsold on the merits they bring to your company (or estate) not undersold to win the work and then scratch your head as to how to make for the price. Maybe just my opinion but I would rather sleep well at night and over engineer then under?

  • David McDonald

    Member
    February 2, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Rob

    I think we’ve come across 2 more signs they exported to Lancashire. We attended an emergency call out to demolish what was left of them during recent high winds.

    See the photos – batch of two signs, one still ‘intact’ and the other missing all the panels and a post. Overall sign face 6m width x 3m height made from 4x portrait 10*5’s, base of panels to the ground 2m’s, overall height then at 5m’s. Each post had 3 or 4 random widths of sign rail on and unconnected to any rail on the adjacent posts/panels. The panels were butt joined and held together with strips of ACM D/S taped in place over the joins with the only mechanical fixings being a couple of self-tappers top and bottom of each strip. Come to think of its possible the sign rails were just taped and had no mechanical fixings – Can’t remember but most likely based on the rest of the construction. They’d used 89mm steel posts and a fair amount of post mix, however the incredibly steep fall angle of the land immediately behind the sign meant there was effectively no bracing to the rear of the signs – any leverage from the front would tip the posts. It was quite stormy when we went out but to be honest if a cow had farted in the next field it would have knocked them down.

    Must have been the same company – surely there can’t be two out there working to these high standards!

    Cheers

    Dave

    • David Hammond

      Member
      February 2, 2022 at 6:59 pm

      I’m going to hazard a guess its not a million miles away from the M61 either if its near Bottany Bay🤨

      Do you think part of the problem is, the ease to buy in printed panels from some of these “trade” suppliers? Then just whack some half arsed attempt of a fixing on the back?

      Perhaps it’s sub contract fitters?

      I’ve sub contract fitted for a large national company, and some of the problems we were handed and told to just make it work was beyond a joke, they were charging top dollar too. A reason we no longer work with them.

  • Chris Wilson

    Member
    February 2, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Least they didn’t extend the post height with sticks like poop to join another piece (true story).

    Did they have a lot of cuts of sign channel.. never understand why folks do this. Surely it’s quicker and easier to attach one length. Same with signs. I’d rather fit one or two big panels than 5 panels of miss match Skybond off cuts.

    Maybe they went as far as to recycle old posts from a sign taken down 😂😩

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    February 3, 2022 at 11:42 am

    A possible solution to this situation is to attach a copy of our insurance certificate with the quote. It could possibly make the more enlightened client pause for thought & maybe realise you can’t have ‘the cheapest, the fastest, the best quality’ You can maybe pick two from the list but you can never have all three. I spend far too much time explaining to clients that they risk far more than a few pounds when they hunt around for the lowest bid.

  • David McDonald

    Member
    February 3, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    Kevin, good idea.

    When being asked to install signs in a dangerous fashion, onto a rotten fascia etc, we decline and give them a quote subject to installing onto a rebuilt fascia, pointing out that they would be liable for damage and injury caused otherwise, I guess if they knowingly engage a contractor without insurance, or fail to request insurance then they’d be equally liable?


    Cheers

    Dave

    • Kevin Mahoney

      Member
      February 3, 2022 at 5:16 pm

      I believe if the installer is uninsured then the liability passes to the client, & the plea of ignorance or the head buried in the sand approach doesn’t cut any ice. I guess only those who want to know actually go & find out, far easier to assume your sign maker is adequately insured, I’ve never been asked to prove it. Me personally, although I’m assured Sign Elite are a decent outfit, I’d rather not test them by doing a dodgy install with acm that you can read the newspaper through. And a watering can & post mix? Great if you want 3” of concrete & 2 foot of powder, but being from a very large family of Irish navvies, I’d never make it out alive unless I’m on the butt end of a shovel knocking up a proper mix.

      Glad to hear your van turned up in the end mate, I’m assuming the old bill are crawling all over it now looking for dna & fingerprints? Or more likely sat in the van with a radar gun catching real criminals

  • David Hammond

    Member
    February 3, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    If you are employing subies, you should ensure your insurance covers you should their insurance not be adequate.

    At the very least, a copy of their insurance, whether it covers working at height etc is another matter.

    Regardless I can see it getting dragged out.

    Who specified the sign?

    Who told the fitters the depth of the foundation? If they didn’t why not? If they did why that depth? If the fitters ignored it why? The questions could be endless!

    A signed disclaimer, doesn’t absolve anyone of their statutory obligations. I used to sign a disclaimer when racing, but it didn’t stop someone successfully sue a club for not taking necessary H&S precautions.

    Some companies do it properly, to the best of their abilities, to minimise risk, where others are playing the odds game that it won’t happen to them.