Awning Safety and Building Maintenance Program

Council is undertaking a safety audit of all awnings and other relevant structures in the Fraser Coast Region that overhang Council's footpaths. Additionally, the appearance of buildings is also being assessed for any signs of deterioration that affect the visual amenity of the area and surrounding buildings.

Awning Safety Audit

The awning safety audit involves conducting a preliminary inspection of every awning, undertaking a risk assessment, and writing to relevant property owners to make them aware of the audit and the recommended steps that should be taken to ensure that these structures do not pose a safety risk.

Simply, it is recommended that the owners of these buildings or structures obtain verification from a suitably qualified builder or engineer to confirm that the building or structure is safe. Where the builder or engineer identifies work that is required to be carried out, the owner of the building or structure is responsible for ensuring the necessary work is undertaken and engaging an engineer to certify that these works have been satisfactorily completed.

The awning safety program follows a past safety alert ‘Awning Collapse’ from WorkSafe Queensland highlighting the risks associated with any awning or similar structure that may collapse. This was followed by an alert to ‘Check Shopfront Awnings Ahead of Wild Weather’.

There are approximately 1,000 shop awnings as well as other major structures that overhang a road or public footpath within the Fraser Coast Region. Most of these structures were built in the late 19th and early 20th century; hence regular inspection and maintenance is vital.

Council expects owners of these buildings or structures to take positive and prompt action to ensure they are compliant with applicable legislative requirements and to protect public safety. Council Staff will provide necessary advice and assistance to facilitate this process, especially where repair works are identified by the assessing builder and/or engineer.

Where Council identifies that an awning or similar structure may pose a safety risk, Council may direct the owner of such to complete all necessary works and failure to do so may result in enforcement action.

Building Maintenance Program

In addition to the above, Council’s inspection program will also include an assessment of the maintenance of the appearance of buildings in relation to visual amenity. Where the appearance of a building, or part of a building, is determined to be detracting from the amenity of the designated area and/or surrounding buildings due to deterioration, Council may direct the owner of the building to take all appropriate actions to ensure the building appearance is of an acceptable standard. This may include removing an accumulation of dirt and grime and/or repairing and repainting defective surfaces.

If you have any questions in relation to the above matters, you can contact Council on 1300 79 49 29.

Further information is also provided below.

What should I do to ensure my building/structure is safe?

Council will contact all relevant building owners in writing. In response to this correspondence, it is recommended that building owners take the following steps to ensure their building and/or structure is compliant and to protect public safety:

  1. Engage a qualified builder or engineer to inspect the awning, balcony, or other relevant structure and any structures/building elements required to support such, to confirm:
    •  The structural integrity of the awning, balcony, or other relevant structure and any structures/building elements required to support these; and
    •  The adequacy of any awning stormwater drainage systems, where applicable.

  2. Ensure the engaged builder or engineer provides consideration to the information contained within the ‘Shop Awning Inspection Guideline’ when assessing the compliance and safety of the structure.

If repair works are identified by the builder or engineer, the builder or engineer will generally require the owner of the building or structure to do the following:

  1. Engage the services of a Registered Professional Engineer Queensland (RPEQ) to inspect the awning or balcony and any structures/building elements required for its support and provide a rectification report.
  2. Cause the required works outlined in the rectification report to be undertaken after approval by a Building Certifier.
  3. Upon completion of all works outlined in the rectification report, obtain certification that the awning, balcony and any structures/building elements required for their support are structurally sound, fit for purpose, and are adequate.

Note: A copy of all relevant certification should be retained and made available to Council upon request.

Questions and answers

  • Generally, to ensure compliance with legislative requirements and protect public safety, it is recommended that you engage the services of a suitably qualified builder or engineer to confirm the structural integrity and adequacy of the awning or other relevant structure and the effective operation of any associated stormwater system. There may be other matters specific to individual buildings and these will be identified by Council to assist owners and their consultants as required (e.g. other parts of the front of the building may be damaged or require repairs).

  • An internet search for "builders" will reveal a number of businesses that service the Fraser Coast Region that may be able to assist you. Only use qualified, licenced and insured companies to maximise your consumer rights and ensure the work is of an appropriate standard.

  • Professional bodies representing the engineering profession (such as Engineers Australia) or general internet searches may be helpful for locating suitably qualified and experienced persons to assist you.

  • In relation to general building maintenance, you should inspect the appearance of the building and rectify items of disrepair or deterioration; ensuring the exterior of the building is clean and that paint work is in good condition.

  • Building certifiers manage the building approval and inspection process with all relevant practitioners. They can also advise whether a building approval is needed, as some minor building work may not require an approval (i.e. accepted development). You can check with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) for the accreditation history of a private or local government building certifier. As many shops are also heritage affected, it is strongly recommended that you contact Council with details of the proposed works to check whether development approvals are needed.

  • If your contractors need to block the road or footpath or dig up the footpath or road for drainage works, you will need to apply for approval from Council by submitting an “Application for Approval to Conduct Works in Council Road Reserve/s”

  • The Queensland Heritage Register is a list of places that have cultural heritage significance to the people of Queensland. A search of the Queensland Heritage Register provides information about those places entered in the register, including their heritage significance and values, history, description and location. Before considering changes to a heritage place, read the Queensland Government Guideline: “Developing heritage places – Using the development criteria”. This will help identify the requirements relevant to your specific situation and help guide and record the development decisions you make.

    The Local Heritage Register will provide a level of protection for heritage places within the Fraser Coast Region Local Government Area, whilst recognising the changing times and the need to provide flexibility and adaptability with regard to their ongoing use.

    Applications may be required to be lodged with Council for development to occur at a heritage place. Property owners/developers of a heritage place should contact Council as part of their initial planning process. In the vast majority of instances, solutions can be arrived at which facilitate or enable development at a heritage place, while retaining the heritage significance of that place.

  • Council strongly recommends owners of an awning or other structure that overhangs a public footpath, road, road reserve or space hold an appropriate insurance policy with coverage to the value of $20 million. Where prescribed activities such as dining and/or displaying of goods are to occur on a Council footpath, road reserve or other public space over which the structure overhangs, the insurance policy will also need to list Fraser Coast Regional Council as an interested party and must be provided to Council as part of the approval application and renewal processes, as prescribed under Fraser Coast Regional Council Local Law No. 1 (Administration) 2011.