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Many shops and commercial buildings have awnings that hang over a public footway. It is important that these awnings are adequately maintained to avoid any collapses.
Building owners are responsible for awnings attached to their buildings. Therefore building owners should have awnings inspected and maintained regularly. Owners should also seek legal advice on the potential liability for awning collapse or failure.
Things building owners can do
Awnings may look fine on the outside but could have rust and corrosion on the inside or on the supports. This may cause the awning to fail. Awnings more than 10 years old are more likely to fail. There are some things you can do to reduce the risk.
We encourage building owners to:
- have awnings checked regularly by a qualified person, such as a Structural Engineer to ensure they are structurally sound
- remove leaves and debris from gutters - this helps reduce the risk of damage or overload during storm events
- maintain the awning in a good and safe condition
Using footways under existing awnings
We may ask you to submit a report on the condition of an awning if you apply to use the footway under an existing awning. This includes footway dining and any other use that increases traffic on a footpath. The report should come from a professional structural engineer and confirm that the awning complies with the relevant performance requirements of the Building Code of Australia.
We may also ask for a report on the condition of the awning if you make changes to the building (including alterations, additions and/or change of use).
This advice is provided in accordance with the circulars to Councils from NSW Planning and Environment expressing concern over awning safety:
Building owners should ensure awnings are inspected and maintained on a regular basis to reduce the risk of awning collapse.