Building surveyor fined over swimming pool barrier plans for Iluka home

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A BUILDING surveying company and its director have been fined $7500 after certifying plans that resulted in a non-complying swimming pool barrier at a home in Iluka.

The State Administrative Tribunal also ordered Western Australia Building Certifiers and Assessors and its sole director John Phillip Greenwood to pay $3000 costs.

The tribunal found that Mr Greenwood, who has been contacted by Community News for comment, engaged in misleading conduct and failed to properly manage and supervise a building service when he signed a certificate of design compliance (CDC) in 2016 for extension plans that included doors which would open on to an outdoor pool area.

Under WA’s building regulations, such doors must be separately approved by the permit authority – the City of Joondalup.

In 2017, a City inspection found the unapproved and non-compliant doors had been installed.

Mr Greenwood was fined $4000 and the company $3500.

The recent finding resulted from the company and Mr Greenwood seeking a tribunal review of an April 2018 decision by the Building Services Board, which had imposed fines of $5000 in relation to the same conduct.

In what is believed to be the first tribunal proceeding for a building surveying disciplinary matter, the tribunal’s decision now supersedes the board’s earlier findings.

The tribunal said Mr Greenwood and the company “failed to properly understand their significant duties and obligations”, and Mr Greenwood had misled the City of Joondalup by not adequately addressing his “mistaken understanding” that the CDC could serve as a type of application for permit authority approval of the doors in question.

The SAT also stated: “Mr Greenwood and WABCA do not act for the client when completing a CDC… [they] act under duties imposed on them by the Building Act as a registered building surveying practitioner and building surveying contractor respectively.”

Building Commissioner Ken Bowron welcomed the Tribunal’s findings.

“The strict compliance rules for pool barriers reflect their essential role in preventing drowning tragedies, particularly for young children,” Mr Bowron said.

“This case reinforces the obligations of registered certifiers when signing off on compliance, particularly when this authorisation potentially impacts on community safety.”