Why Do Buildings Collapse?

Here at Freyssinet, we’re experts in slope stabilization, concrete tank repairs, cathodic protection and other civil engineering specialities to help keep the UK’s infrastructure in excellent working order. But sometimes, accidents do happen, wear and tear is inevitable, so today we ask, why do buildings collapse?

Foundation failure

If the foundations aren’t strong enough to hold the structure up, building collapse is likely to happen. During the construction phase, civil engineers must look into both the heaviness of the structure and its contents, as well as the solidity of the ground.

Faulty construction

It’s vital to use skilled and qualified workers and tradesmen in construction to ensure that everything is done as it should be. It may be cheaper to employ unskilled workers but the consequences could be dire.

Heavier loads

The purpose of the building in question must be considered before construction in order to determine the materials used, where it can be positioned and so on. If the purpose of that building changes in the future, it’s possible it will not be able to bear the load – and thus, will collapse.


One of the major causes of structure failure is instability, whether this is down to design, geometry or material choice. This often takes place at stress points like squared corners or if bolt holes are positioned too close to the material’s edge.

Manufacturing error

If materials are not selected correctly, have been heat treated improperly or are not the correct size, structures can fail – at any time and typically unpredictably.