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A two-year-old boy has died after being found floating unconscious in a backyard pool in Sydney’s north west this morning.

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Acting Fair Trading Commissioner Robert Vellar today announced a new NSW guide on balcony and deck safety (PDF size: 387kb) and encouraged homeowners to do regular inspections and maintenance.

Mr Vellar said there had been a number of recent incidents in NSW and other states involving balconies and decks that had resulted in injury or death.

“Outdoor living is a popular part of Australian life and home owners have a responsibility to check their decks and balconies are safe for use and to prevent serious accidents,” he said.

“Like all parts of the home, decks and balconies can deteriorate over time. Exposure to weather, insects and heavy loads such as barbecues, pot plants and even people can cause structures to weaken.”

Fair Trading has produced a practical maintenance and safety guide for timber, concrete and masonry decks and balconies, covering topics such as:

  • What can affect the safety of a deck or balcony?
  • How do I keep my deck safe?
  • What if there is a problem?
  • Who are the experts?
  • Buying into, or renting a home with a deck or balcony; and
  • Building a new deck.

The guide also contains a maintenance checklist on the Deck and Balcony Safety page on the NSW Fair Trading website.

Mr Vellar recommended having structures inspected by a qualified expert and only using an appropriately licensed tradesperson to undertake repairs.

Check if a tradesperson is licenced and holds the right type of licence with Fair Trading at Fair Trading website or by calling 13 32 20.

Under NSW tenancy laws, landlords must provide and maintain rented premises in a reasonable state of repair.

Any maintenance concerns or damage should be noted in the condition report, which both parties are required to complete and sign at the beginning of a tenancy.

New balconies, decks, balustrades and railings must be built to meet the requirements of the Building Code of Australia and relevant Australian Standards. The Building Code requires the structure and materials used to build a balcony or deck withstand the loads and stresses that would be reasonably expected to be placed on it. Older buildings should have been built to the relevant codes and standards in force at the time they were built.

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Media contact: 0407 529 553

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Up to 12,000 balconies and decks across Australia could be at risk of potentially deadly collapse, architects say.

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Five people have been taken to hospital, including two with suspected spinal injuries, after a balcony collapsed in a coastal town north of Perth.

Ten people were on the balcony of the two-storey beach house in Lancelin on Sunday afternoon when the structure gave way.

Four ambulances were called to the town, 130 kilometres north of Perth.

Two people have suspected spinal injuries while a third person has a fractured leg.

Another two patients were being treated for shock.

It was not immediately clear what caused the balcony to collapse.

The chief executive of the Shire of Gingin, Jeremy Edwards, said a building inspection of the property will take place this week.

“We’ll have a look at the building files and we’ll actually have a look at what was put in to be built on that property and our building manager will go up there first thing on Tuesday morning,” he said.

The ABC reported earlier this year that up to 12,000 balconies and decks across Australia could be at risk of potentially deadly collapse

An ABC investigation found there is no system for mandatory inspections of decks across Australia and rules vary from state to state.



A two-year-old Central Coast boy is in a stable condition after falling through a window onto concrete yesterday.

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THERE is lucky and then there is two-year-old Liam Dewinter, who survived a 2.5m fall on to concrete virtually unscathed yesterday.

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A three-month old boy has died after he and his mother fell from a second-floor balcony on the central coast.

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A toddler has died in Sydney’s north-west after she became entangled in a blind cord while she slept in her cot.

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Consumer Protection and the Building Commission have issued a joint warning to landlords and tenants insisting pool fences and safety barriers must be properly maintained to keep children safe this summer.

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