The long-awaited findings of the coroner regarding the deaths of three people killed in the tragic Swanston Street wall collapse will have far-reaching implications for any landowners considering building works on their land without a valid building permit.

In the investigation into the Swanston Street wall collapse, the State Coroner found the site owner responsible to ensure the structural integrity of the boundary wall at its site.

The fatal collapse of the wall on 28 March 2013 has shone the spotlight on construction site safety. Significant media and public interest was seen in the prosecution of the site owner, developer and parties involved in the installation without a permit of timber cladding along the site boundary wall.

In considering recommendations for the prevention of future deaths in similar circumstances, the State Coroner found such ‘prevention matters’ were addressed by amendments to the Building Act 1993.

Section 16 of the Act prohibits building work (as defined in the Act) without a building permit. Prior to July 2016, section 16 was limited to making it an offence to carry out building work without a building permit or other than in accordance with the permit, the Act and building regulations. Special Counsel and accredited specialist in commercial litigation with Parke Lawyers,