The City of Melbourne has been called on to commission an independent structural engineers report of the design, construction and layout of the Swanston Street CUB "Swanston Square" development site
Anthony van der Craats, community activist and blogger, said "An independent review should determine the full impact of the site conditions and the design and construction of the fixed plywood hoarding fencing. The site analysis should include a wind tunnel test to ascertain if the placement of the ship containers used as an advertising bill board concentrated wind forces on the hoarding and masonry wall"
The review should also consider the role of the City Council's statutory building planning permit administration so as to ensure that all legal requirements and procedures had been complied with and if need be recommend any changes to local laws to ensure public safety on construction sites.
"There is ongoing concern that the design and construction of the wooden hoarding had facilitated the collapse of the masonry wall which killed three pedestrians in Swanston Street on Thursday".
City of Melbourne guidelines list a maximum height of 2.4m for building site hoardings. Any hoarding and temporary construction should be able to withstand a live wind loads in accordance with design standard AS 1170.2
The hoarding in place on the Swanston Street site was reported to be 3m high and may have been constructed without the necessary permits or Council inspection . The Southern edge of the masonry wall was not adequately supported to withstand lateral forces to prevent its collapse.
The design and height of the wooden hoarding, its faxation to the masonry wall, and the placement of the ship containers could have all worked in conjunction to concentrate wind forces on the wall causing it to collapse.
Wall of Silence
The Council must respond to community concerns,. The media, in attempting to contact Council Officers seeking answers to questions in relation to the sites administration, have been meet with a wall of silence as the council administration goes into lock down amidst concern that the City of Melbourne may be subject to litigation and a compensation claim.
The City of Melbourne has a greater responsibility to the safety and the general public than its professional standing. Being proactive in commissioning an independent report would be the first step to restoring public confidence in the council's administration
If the Melbourne City Council is at fault putting its head in the sand will only make matters worst