Wednesday, 20 January 2010 00:00
David Hallett, Victorian State Manager of Archicentre said Victoria has gone through a long drought which has seen the stability of brick walls and fences damaged, often by the roots of large trees seeking water and the shrinking of clay soils as they dry out.
"This circumstance can cause cracking or leaning, especially of single brick fences or walls, which can be up to two metres high.
"Bricks are heavy and dangerous when they fall and because of their shape and sharp corners, they can become deadly."
Mr Hallett said people can be lulled into a false sense of security by the solid appearance of brick structures, which are only as strong as the cement and the construction methods used to build them.
"Dangers can occur when the walls have been nudged by motor vehicles, have been used to attach basketball rings where children slam dunk, and where building is taking place on the boundary of the property, especially where there is excavation and heavy machinery involved.
Mr Hallett said Archicentre is increasingly being called in to assess situations where brick walls have started to lean into public areas such as footpaths and in commercial areas where workers are involved, as owners become concerned about public safety and their legal liability.
"We would urge all home owners who have leaning or cracked fences and walls, or anybody considering buying a home to conduct a safety audit and where required have the structure professionally assessed.
"We would also be suggesting that where people are having construction taking place next door up to boundary they have their structure assessed before and after to ensure they have a record of any damage caused," Mr Hallett added.
David Hallett Victorian State Manager Archicentre (03) 9819 4577 Mobile: 0439 439 115
Ron Smith Corporate Media Communications Archicentre (03) 9818 5700 Mobile: 0417 329 201