Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Building Excavation Not Good Enough

This morning I visited John Wade at his Engine Fit business in Nicholson Street Brunswick. His workshop has collapsed due to excavations next door. The damage is so great that it will almost certainly put him out of business for a year, threatening a 40 year family business.

But it could have been worse. If his son had not alerted everyone inside when he heard the wall cracking, enabling them to flee the building, there could have been injury or deaths.

This is not the first time Melbourne has seen building excavations causing chaos for next door properties. It raises two important questions. First, whether we should continue with the privatised system of building surveying introduced by the Kennett Government in the 1990s. Are building surveyors, who nowadays work for builders and developers, doing their job properly? Secondly, in our rush to cram more people into Melbourne in general and Moreland in particular, are we permitting high rise buildings that are not suitable for the land they are being built on?

I will await the findings of WorkSafe and Moreland Council, who are investigating the collapse, with great interest. Small family businesses like John Wade's deserve better than to be the innocent victims of developer greed and inadequate regulation.

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