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Structural inspection and conditions assessment of awning structures - heritage buildings

Awnings, especially on heritage building should be regularly inspected as part of periodic building maintenance program. Awnings are part of the buildings to which they are attached and are an essential aesthetic and practical building element.

If a structural certification is required to confirm the adequacy of an awning structure, the recommended procedure is as follows:

Stage 1 - initial inspection and appraisal

An initial inspection entails to determine the dimensions, likely age, external configuration, existence of main support walls, drainage from the gutter and any other relevant information.

Stage 2 - second inspection after opening up

It is considered essential that a second detailed inspection is undertaken following on from Stage 1.

  • The awning will need to be propped at the front edge. This will require Council approval and will require barriers to be installed. It is good practice to ensure that the props are tied down against wind uplift which will involve concrete weight blocks. The Council is likely to require information on the length of time the barriers will be in place, measures to be taken to protect the public, and certification of the barriers to withstand vehicular impact. Such propping and its certification should undertaken by specialist providers who are familiar with the requirements;

  • Areas of roofing and/or lining will require removal to allow determination of the sizes and condition of the structural elements.

  • An area equivalent to 4 to 6 bricks of the parapet/front wall masonry will need to be removed around the areas where the tie-rods penetrate the masonry;

  • Access scaffolds and ladders complying with Worksafe requirements will need to be installed to allow the structural engineer to carry out an inspection;

  • The Client would need to engage a licensed Builder to carry out the work, including the engagement of the specialist firm to supply and certify the propping;

  • The detailed inspection of the opened-up awning can then be made. This will involve the following:

  1. sketching the framing of the structural elements;

  2. measurement of the member sizes and level of corrosion on the structural steel;

  3. sketching and measuring the connection details for the structural steel;

  4. measurement of the size and level of corrosion of the tie-rods;

  5. sketching and measuring the connection details for the tie-rods, top and bottom;

  6. measuring the connection plates and fixing details within the masonry;

  7. assessing details of the masonry and condition of the masonry ties.

Stage 3 - reporting and detailing of any rectification requirements

After the second inspection, any necessary calculations will be carried out using AS 4100, AS 4600 and AS 3700 as required. Allowance can be made for corrosion of steel elements by using the net thickness remaining of an element at the time of the inspection less a further corrosion allowance based on the remaining design life as advised by the Client.

At this point a report will be prepared advising the Client of the status of the awning and of any repairs to strengthening of or replacement of structural elements that are considered necessary.

Detailed instructions will be prepared for any rectification work including corrosion protection. Substantial rectification works may require a Development Application to be submitted to Council.

Stage 4 - final inspection

A final inspection will be carried out on any rectification work and on the making - good work in order to ensure that the structural integrity of the works is to the required standards and is accordance with all drawings, sketches, specifications and instructions issued by the engineer.

Stage 5 - certification

Certification with regards to structural adequacy can be issued once the final inspection has taken place.

If you have any questions about building & structural engineering inspections in Perth, get in touch with us to discuss your requirements and to obtain a free quote (blog image courtesy of

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