Council is implementing a program to raise awareness of the need to monitor the safety of awnings over public land. This advice follows a circular to Council’s from NSW Planning and Environment expressing concern over the safety of these structures.
NSW Planning and Infrastructure Planning Circular – Safety of awnings over public land
Awnings are owned by the building owner to which the awning is connected. They remain the responsibility of the building owner despite overhanging a public footway.
The program seeks to raise awareness of these safety issues to ensure that users of the footways within the Shire are protected from injury that may result from the structural failure of awnings. Awning failures generally occur as a result of there being no regular inspection and maintenance regime.
Awnings may look fine on the outside but could have rust and corrosion on the inside or on the supports which could cause a failure in the awning. Building owners are encouraged to have their awnings checked regularly by a suitably qualified person, such as a Structural Engineer, to ensure they are structurally sound. As part of awning maintenance Owners also should be removing leaves and debris from gutters to ensure maximum performance during storm events which will reduce the risk of damage or overload leading to a potential fatal collapse.
It is the building owners’ responsibility to ensure that appropriate action is taken to avoid the risk associated with potential collapse or failure of awnings.
All building owners with awnings attached to their building or overhanging a public place are encouraged to take appropriate action. This may include seeking legal advice on the potential liability for any failure or collapse of their awning.
Sutherland Shire Council Awning Safety Awareness Program