City of Melbourne admits it did not issue a permit for the CUB hoarding that collapsed killing three people

The Melbourne City Council today admitted that it did not issue a permit for the hoarding at the former CUB Swanston Square site that collapsed liking three people.

In  its carefully crafted public statement the City of Melbourne said  “we can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall” The Council deliberately going out of its way to avoid calling the “structure:” a hoarding. The reason is simple. If it is considered a hoarding then the council is responsible of overseeing its design and construction.

The plywood “structure” that collapsed and was attached to the masonry wall was most defiantly a hoarding and any attempt by the City Council to try and reclassify it will come unstuck.

There was a 22 meter section of 3m hoarding to the left of the collapsed wall that was a lightly supported structure designed to fence off the building site from Swanston Street.  This fence can not be seen as anything else but a hoarding and falls within the definition of a hoarding as outlined in the Council local laws and Construction Management guidelines.

The plywood hoarding was attached to the brick wall which collapsed when a gust of wind caused it to topple.  There is wide speculation that the hoarding contributed to the walls collapse

The City of Melbourne has a statutory duty and obligation to ensure that all  building sites, within the City of Melbourne, are inspected and do not pose a risk to public safety.

The accident which killed three innocent people on Thursday March 28 is currently the subject of an investigation by the  Coroner, WorkSafe and the Building Commission.

It is unclear if either investigation will examine the role and responsibility of the City of Melbourne.

The City Council today refused to consider a request for an investigation into the City Council’s role and obligation surrounding this accident.  Cr Steven Mayne in reply claimed that “calls for an investigation was just grandstanding

Engaging in pass the baton, failing to acknowledge responsibility or refusing to be held accountable does little to restore confidence in the Council’s administration.

One thought on “City of Melbourne admits it did not issue a permit for the CUB hoarding that collapsed killing three people

  1. Tuesday, 9 April 2013

    The City of Melbourne continues to assist the Coroner, WorkSafe and the Building Commission as they investigate the Swanston Street wall collapse.

    While assisting those inquiries remains our priority, we can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall.

    There are four relevant legislative frameworks – Planning, Building, Occupational Health and Safety and Local Laws. There are intricacies in the way in which these interconnect and overlap. These complexities are likely to be considered by the investigating authorities.

    In general terms, the City of Melbourne oversees the interface between building sites and public space.

    With regard to the wall collapse in Swanston Street, it should be noted that the wall was on private property.

    The Swanston Street CUB site is a Comprehensive Development Zone. As a result of this designation, the Minister for Planning is the Responsible Authority for the issuing of planning permits relating to the site.

    The Minister has issued a planning permit for the development of Swanston Square (building 5) and the Maltstore building. That permit required the developer to file a Construction Management Plan (CMP) with the Minister as the Responsible Authority. The Minister’s permit required that the CMP be prepared in accordance with the City of Melbourne’s CMP guidelines.

    The purpose of the CMP is to set out how a site will be managed to minimise impact on the surrounding area. The CMP was reviewed by the City of Melbourne and was found to meet the requirements of the guidelines. The CMP covers Stage 1 of the development of the CUB site which is south of the area where the wall collapsed.

    A CMP does not replace the need for Planning, Building or Local Laws approval for specific works. These must be sought separately.

    The City of Melbourne does not intend to make any further comment at this time.

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