Coroner recommends changes to building act

FOLLOWING an inquest into the death of a Sale boy last year, a coroner has recommended permits be required for the construction of all walls and facings.

Coroner Clive Alsop also recommended bricklayers be required to certify in writing that appropriate ties were used to attach bricks to internal walls.

The findings came after an inquest into the death of five-year-old Tye Sunderland, who died after a bricks fell on him in the family’s rented home in Sale last year.

Delivering his findings and recommendations on Friday morning at Sale Court, Coroner Alsop said he had determined Tye died of head injuries he sustained when a masonry wall fell on him and his seven-year-old sister on October 4, 2011.

The boy and his sister were playing when he climbed onto the mantle above an old fireplace.

Mr Alsop said the house had been subject to a pre-rental inspection before being occupied by the Sunderland family.

It was noted in the report there were defects in the property, notably cracks in window panels, marked and cracked walls and doors and some areas of mould.

Mr Alsop said the report indicated that while the property could be best described as being in poor condition, there was no overt indication of any structural inefficiency in the fireplace and mantelpiece.

Wellington Shire Council assistant building surveyor Josh Hillman had told the inquiry he was not aware of any similar structural failings, but suggested random inspections of older properties to check the safety and stability of brickwork would be advantageous.

Civil engineer and building surveyor Brian Ross inspected the house at the request of the letting agents and prepared a report on the property.