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News around the world: Australia News around the world: Australia
07.03.2012

Awning warning: New round of inspections.

BATHURST Regional Council’s duty of care to residents when it comes to awning safety in the city is about to see a new round of inspections carried out by civil engineers.

It’s been a decade since a blitz on all awnings was completed.

That original initiative resulted in a cloud being cast over more than a dozen of the structures.

Concern over the integrity of the awnings had been created when one collapsed outside a business in William Street next to the Westpac Bank several years ago.

As a result new heavy duty posts were installed, replacing old infrastructure on some of the awnings.

However, council has strict safety regulations when it comes to awning safety.

This has been reinforced in recent times after recommendations from a coroner’s report into the death of a Sydney man who was crushed to death in 2007 when an awning and brick facade fell in Balgowlah.

As a result the Department of Planning will push all councils to introduce regular inspections, safety certification, and review whether owners of older, double brick buildings should be encouraged to install more modern awning fixtures.

Council’s director of environmental planning and development David Shaw said yesterday they are proactive in ensuring local awnings make the grade.

“We engage civil engineers to check all the awnings on our behalf,” he said. “We did this about 10 years ago and are gearing up to do it again.

“There is a fee charged to each of the building’s owners of about $250 for the inspection, but it’s important as part of our duty of care to residents.

“The awnings cover public land which are the footpaths and we have a duty of care to anyone on those footpaths to be as safe as can be expected.”

 
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