Danmar Homes fined over negligence after homes have roofs damaged in 2012 storm

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE builder of two Singleton homes damaged during a storm in 2012 has received a hefty fine.

Osborne Park builder Danmar Homes Pty Ltd and its nominated supervisor Robert George Williams were fined a total of $45,000 plus costs for negligent conduct that contributed to one house’s roof blowing off and another being substantially damaged during the storm.

The Building Services Board determined the company was negligent as it failed to comply with engineering details set out in the approved plans for two double-storey brick and steel roofed dwellings in Singleton between 2008 and 2011.

This resulted in the roofs being insufficiently tied down.

Both buildings sustained significant damage from roof uplift.

The front of one of the roofs was completely blown off and parts of it were found in a neighbouring yard.

Danmar Homes was fined $30,000 and ordered to pay costs of $1500 and its supervisor Mr Williams was fined $15,000 by the State Administrative Tribunal.

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Building Commissioner Peter Gow said people’s safety was put at risk.

“Flying roof debris may have struck and seriously injured or killed residents and damaged property, especially with the storm having occurred during daylight hours,” he said.

“The two properties subject to this particular investigation are located close to the coast in elevated positions, so it is critical that the roof structures were constructed in accordance with the engineer’s approved plans, which did not occur in this case.”

He said the homes’ owners were both insured so repairs to both were covered by insurance.

Further he said the insurer is in the process of recovering its costs from the builder.

An out-of-court settlement in relation to one of the properties had already been reached.

Danmar Homes and Mr Williams have been fined for disciplinary matters before.

The former Builders’ Registration Board (BRB) fined Danmar Homes $2500 for negligence and incompetence in 2002 and $7000 for negligent conduct in 2003.

Mr Williams was also fined $500 in relation to the 2002 matter.

In both cases, the company had failed to ensure that a building licence was obtained prior to the commencement of building work.

Danmar Homes’ unsatisfactory roof construction work was brought to its attention by the BRB on four occasions between 2006 and 2010.

“The Building Commission’s 2016 general inspection report into sheetmetal clad timber-framed roof construction in WA identified that insufficient roof tie-down is an area of construction that needs improving,” Mr Gow said.

Danmar response

Danmar Homes nominated supervisor Robert George Williams said the roofing trusses were designed by a specialist and there were some problems with the trusses themselves.

“There were problems with the specialist and with us. We don’t shy away from that,” he said.

“All insurance costs have been covered for both homes.

“At the end of the day the buck stops here and we have extensive ongoing training for our supervisors and chippies with our engineers.

“Danmar homes has been operating for more than 20 years and we have built more than 5000 homes.

“The earlier instance of negligence was something we fixed immediately when we realised the problem but we paid the fine anyway. We did feel it was unfair to ping that against us. It was a bit abrupt.”