Awnings over Public Land

Hornsby Shire Council is introducing an awning safety awareness program to raise awareness of the potential safety issues caused by awnings that extend over public footpaths or public land. Council is encouraging land owners to have their awnings checked by suitably qualified persons to ensure they are structurally sound.

The program involves:

  1. Identifying owners of buildings with awnings over public land (including Council owned buildings) within Council Business Zones
  2. Notifying owners of their responsibilities to keep their awnings in good order in all conditions, including during storms
  3. Advising owners to seek legal advice about liability for failure or collapse of their awning; and
  4. Advising owners that awnings more than 10 years old are more susceptible to failure and should be inspected by a professional engineer for structural adequacy. Please refer to Practice Note No. 18 ‘Inspection and Assessment of Existing Tied Awnings’ for further details of the processes for the determination of awning safety.

The program follows the receipt of the NSW Department of Planning and Environment circulars regarding awning safety in response to deaths in Bathurst and Balgowlah as a result of unsafe awnings collapsing.

Council expects owners to take positive and prompt action to ensure their buildings and the public remain safe. Staff will provide necessary advice and assistance to facilitate this process, especially where repair works are necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is recommended that you have your awning checked by suitably qualified persons to ensure it is structurally sound and maintain your awning by removing leaves and debris from gutters. If your awning is more than 10 years old it is recommended that it is inspected by a professional structural engineer for structural adequacy.

General internet searches may be helpful for locating structural engineers in your area. Also ensure that you only use qualified, licenced engineers.

General internet searches may be helpful for locating shop awning installers in your area. Also ensure that you only use qualified, licenced and insured companies.

Generally only minor building works and repairs may be able to be carried out as exempt development. It is strongly recommended that you contact Council with details of proposed works to check whether any development approvals are needed prior to any works commencing. The construction of any new awnings or replacement of existing awnings must have approval prior to any construction. Approval for awnings is required by a complying development certificate or development approval.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Council’s Duty Town Planner.