Reports of a third steel bolt falling from the 47-storey landmark Leadenhall Building in London, commonly known as “the Cheese Grater”, bring into sharp focus the unusual, and always headline grabbing, issues that accompany the new era of London skyscrapers, and their sometimes entirely literal impact on their surroundings.
In this case, British Land announced that the issue has been attributed to “hydrogen embrittlement”, a fault in the manufacturing process of the bolts by which hydrogen atoms diffuse, combine, apply pressure and eventually break the metal. Two bolts had broken in November last year, with one plummeting to the ground below. The building has approximately 3,000 of these bolts, measuring just under a metre long each. Clearly, the risk of further failures raised an extremely alarming prospect, from a public liability perspective. Read more.
Article first published in Property News in March 2015.