Structural – Awning Safety Inspections & Certification

Council Crack Down On Awning Safety

Following a tragic incident that occurred at Sydney’s Northern Beaches some years back, Councils have continued to crack down on ageing, unsafe awnings by implementing a ‘Awning Safety Program’ to addresses their potential failure or collapse.

The program has seen a significant number of Council notices issued to business owners, instructing them to have their street front awnings inspected and assessed by a registered professional engineer as a matter of urgency. Following the inspection, the engineer is required to submit a 5-year safety certificate certifying the structural integrity and safety of the awning.

Our Expertise

As a result, our team has recently seen an influx in Council stipulated requests and is providing this service to an array of clients – having recently completed awning assessments to 80 awnings for the City of Sydney.

CORE Consulting Engineers is a multi-disciplinary firm armed with the knowledge and expertise of the industry’s leading engineers. For more than 20 years, our team has delivered outstanding, 360°engineering solutions to a range of clients across all major property sectors Australia-wide.

An awning’s age along with recent weather conditions are some contributing factors to structural failures and can pose a significant public safety risk.

Awning inspections include a condition assessment and are then followed by a structural assessment to confirm the awnings are compliant for gravity, imposed and wind loadings. Sometimes, awnings need to be strengthened to comply with current codes of practise.

Having your awning inspected and assessed by a RegisteredProfessional Structural Engineer is critical to confirming that there are no underlying safety issues.

Typically, Councils require awnings to be reassessed every 5 years.

Key Process Stages

  1. Where an awning is a closed structure, we undertake opening up works with the contractor, typically by lifting roof sheets at key locations to facilitate visual inspection of the internal framing to assess condition and measure up the members. CORE can engage a contractor to conduct opening up works under CORE’s direction and also facilitate access to the awning roof.
  2. We then conduct a risk assessment of the awning to establish whether an awning can be accessed by the public, either via openable windows above the awning, from adjacent accessible awnings, by ladders from ground level or other means such as adjacent structures.
  3. Awnings can be subject to high imposed loads due to unauthorised access by the public, such as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest in July 2021, when a large number of people climbed onto the Woolworths Building awning.
    Australian Standards require varying application of imposed loading to an awning depending on its access risk level.
  4. CORE then undertake a condition assessment and structural loading assessment to ascertain if any remedial works or strengthening works are required to achieve structural adequacy for load compliance and also ensure the awning is structurally sound.

If an awning is determined to be structurally adequate and does not require major repair, we will provide a structural certificate, valid for 3 to 5 years. Where strengthening or major remedial works are required, we can assist with the design and specification of any upgrade works before CORE undertake a final inspection and then provide final certification.

67 Ocean St, Woollahra, NSW

CORE was engaged to conduct a site inspection and condition assessment of 36 units and balconies at 67 Ocean St, Woollahra – a 1967, 7-storey, brick-facade residential/strata building.

Inspection findings…

During the inspection process, the CORE team identified numerous issues ranging from:

  • Non-compliant balustrades
  • Defective balcony soffits with non-functioning drip-grooves
  • Inadequate primary drainage systems causing extensive water ponding and significantly reducing the service life of waterproofing membrane
  • Blocked and non-compliant secondary overflow outlets
  • Leaking downpipes
  • Concrete spalling
  • Drummy balcony and skirting tiles
  • Balcony doors and windows installed with inadequate separation between external and internal areas causing water ingress

Detailed reporting to inform decisions…

Upon completion of the inspection, a detailed balcony condition assessment report was submitted to the Owners Corporation (OC) along with recommendations on how to resolve root causes, address internal consequential damage and achieve a long-term solution for the owners.

CORE’s engagement continued as per the OC’s request for the delivery of technical specifications and approval to proceed with tendering the works inclusive of a:

  • Balustrade upgrade
  • Stormwater drainage system upgrade
  • Balcony waterproofing works
  • Balcony sliding door upgrade
  • Concrete spalling repairs

In relation to the balustrade upgrade, CORE provided several options for the OC’s consideration – taking both the building’s aesthetic and project budget into account. Indicative design mock-ups were issued, enabling owners to
envision the end result for each option and make a more informed decision on how to proceed.

Overall, the project required the expertise of CORE’s Remedial, Facade, Structures and Hydraulic divisions.

Preparing for the construction stage…

The next stage saw CORE tender out the works to 3 remedial contractors within our preferred partner portfolio.

It is important to note that CORE’s Contractor portfolio has been established and vetted over many years – developing and maintaining relationships with the most reputable and reliable Contractor groups in the industry.

Prior to the works contract being signed, CORE team met with all owners and the OC to provide a detailed brief of the issues, upcoming works and to provide an opportunity to answer any questions they had.

All eyes on safety and communication…

CORE believes that both safety and communication play a critical role throughout our projects and are crucial to achieving a successful outcome.

Prior to any works being formalised or contracts signed, the CORE team met with all owners to provide a detailed brief of the building issues at hand along with upcoming works.

Upon commencement of works, CORE delivered weekly progress updates and ensured remediation was carried out with minimal disturbance to residents.

The project was compliant with the new DBPA requirements and Certificates of Practical Completion were delivered. The project was completed in October 2022.

Electrical – Switchboard Reviews & Upgrades

Our Expertise

CORE has been delivering switchboard upgrade consultancy services for an array of long-term partner portfolios such as: City of Sydney, MBM, Investa and AMP Capital and has also supported electrical upgrades for a broad host of clients across several industries and sectors.

Our team has extensive technical experience and an intimate understanding of the integration between the main switchboard (MSB) and other interfacing electrical elements and building services. Known for our expertise in existing buildings, our team have successfully implemented MSB upgrades for buildings of various ages and at different stages of their lifecycle for compliance and capacity purposes.

Our approach to all MSB upgrades is to ensure our recommendations align with future building plans, seeing us offer long-term value and MSB solutions that support each asset’s requirements for years to come.

Imperative to providing our clients with customised and cost-efficient solutions, CORE has developed a strong understanding of the extensive MSB and distribution board market and its suppliers.

From evaluating your building’s requirements through to sourcing optimal equipment and managing upgrade works all the way to completion, our engineers deliver a robust solution to switchboard upgrades.

Some of our most recent switchboard upgrades include:

  • Coronation Hotel – Park St, Sydney
  • 9 The Crescent – Annandale, Sydney
  • Bay St Depot – Ultimo, Sydney
  • Victoria Park Pool – Camperdown, Sydney
  • SDN Surry Hills Long Day Care Centre – Surry Hills, Sydney
  • Reginald Murphy Activity Club – Elizabeth Bay, Sydney
  • Rex Community Centre – Elizabeth Bay, Sydney

MSB impact on building safety and performance…

It’s important to know the age and condition of your main switchboard along with any supplementary distribution boards powering your building to ensure they comply with current BCA standards.

Non-compliant MSBs can restrict accessibility, limit the ability to carry out maintenance services and can also pose a significant safety hazard to users – carrying serious risks such as electrocution, particularly when the expected lifespan for circuit breakers is reached or close to expiry.

Switchboards that are newer to the market are equipped with ‘earth leakage detection’ safety mechanisms, enabling minor current leaks to be detected and trapping the circuit immediately.

When not upgraded, the MSB can also damage cables and other distribution boards having a costly, flow-on effect to other electrical components and in turn, impacting a building’s overall performance – an issue that can be managed and avoided.

When was your building’s last switchboard review?

It is recommended that an electrical assessment, visual inspection and subsequent report be completed every 5 years. This is especially important prior to any building services upgrades/maintenance being implemented as the impact on the MSB must be considered.

Approximately a 1-day engagement for inspection and reporting, CORE conducts visual evaluations of an asset’s electricals including but not limited to: power, lights and switchboards – evaluating their expected lifespan and notifying
Building Managers of all findings and any identified defects. A report is then provided, detailing item prioritisation and recommendations with indicative costs and information on whether further testing is needed to verify potential defects.

For what is a critical piece of infrastructure, that is often overlooked for inspection and maintenance, the switchboard inspection and testing process is a relatively quick, low-cost exercise that can prevent future faults or problems, and ensure your building and its people are well protected.


Sinclairs of Berry – 24 Prince Alfred St, Berry, NSW

Collaborating on numerous successful projects over the years, CORE was engaged by Hilton Residential to deliver end to end structural engineering consultancy services for the redevelopment and extension of a charming 2-acre farm right in the heart of Berry.


6 months – design and construction

Experts in structural engineering – residential

Responsible for the delivery of new building specifications and certifications, external retaining wall works and the design of an external pool and studio, CORE worked closely with the client from design through to construction to see a truly bespoke vision brought to life – resulting in the creation of one of Berry’s finest, luxury farm stays.

The secluded two-storey farmhouse and luxury cottage has 8 boutique bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and accommodates 18 adults in pure comfort and style. Beautifully designed and built with quality details and finishes, the picture-perfect home is filled with character and offers a rare sense of peace and serenity.

“The original house was a red weatherboard with a red tin roof. The layout was very dysfunctional; there was no way to fix it without adding an extension,” said owner Caroline.

“Today, many people walking past the house think that the new extension is actually the old part of the house, and the old two-storey part is new. We love this – it means the house is perfectly balanced.“

With structural engineering a key component of the project, CORE is proud to have contributed our expertise to this extraordinary home and are happy to see another family’s vision brought to life.

To explore more of what this beautiful farm stay has to offer, visit:

One Sydney Harbour – Watermans Quay, Barangaroo, NSW

Featuring three striking residential towers (Residences One, Two and Watermans Residences) designed by Pritzker Prize winning master architect Renzo Piano in collaboration with Lendlease, One Sydney Harbour is the final piece of Barangaroo South’s transformation.

Our team’s strong relationship with Lendlease over the years, combined with our expert knowledge in BIM coordination and REVIT modelling, saw CORE selected as a partner of choice for the design of Electrical Vehicle (EV) infrastructure spanning 4 luxury car park levels at this impressive location.


3 months – design development
2023 – scheduled installation

EV Charging Stations: the answer to future mobility

Being the last building services design component for One Sydney Harbour, it was imperative that all existing services were considered and integrated into our proposed EV infrastructure solution, with impeccable coordination one of the key
drivers of success.

Boasting a total capacity of 844 car spaces across 4 levels, CORE thoughtfully designed a 2400 Amps supply solution that allows for the installation of a charging station at each car bay supported by a strategically specified load management system that secures and maintains electrical services whilst managing energy consumption.

A solution that future proofs requirements in line with Government predictions that foresee 50% of new car sales being electric by 2030.

Accurate 3D modelling (LOD400) was a critical component of this project as upon completion, all building services management and maintenance schedules will be carried out via a 3D management system.

It has been an honour to apply our expertise to a project of this stature and most importantly, to design electrical infrastructure in support of an eco-friendly approach to future mobility.

Project Remediate, NSW

Project Remediate is a large-scale, three-year program introduced by the NSW Government in 2020 to see the removal of combustible cladding from high-risk, residential (Class 2) apartment buildings across the state.

The program has been implemented to protect NSW residents from high-rise building fires exacerbated by combustible cladding such as the incident at Grenfell Tower, London and follows Australian legislative changes that have taken place as a result.


3-year program, commencing in 2020.

Trusted experts in cladding remediation

With more than two decades experience in facade remediation and design, having completed over 6,000 projects across Strata (residential), Government, Commercial and Industrial sectors throughout Australia, CORE were selected to deliver combustible cladding remediation consultancy services for Project Remediate.

To date, the CORE team has completed the very first tranche of triage inspections on 30 buildings including:

  • A full review of Council documents to help inform the planning and pre-inspection stage
  • Identifying cladding panels for intrusive investigation – to gain the most design benefit while ensuring efficient and cost-effective use of resources
  • Intrusive investigation of nominated cladding panels to help determine existing condition, structural adequacy and latent defects
  • Laboratory testing, assessment and review of combustible materials within the facade to inform the implementation of suitable risk mitigation strategies
  • Preparation of comprehensive cladding investigation reports detailing existing cladding systems that would form the basis of the new facade design.

Our team is proud to be a part of the program and look forward to supporting further stages of the program as we know this work is critical to life safety and gives purpose to what we do.

7 Commonwealth Parade, Manly, NSW

This impressive, 1900s heritage-listed building was experiencing significant water ingress across the entire southern facade as well as severe concrete spalling to the eastern facade. Having built a strong relationship with Strata Title Management over the years, and having previously worked at this location, CORE were engaged to undertake detailed investigations and reporting, prepare technical specifications and to manage the tendering a construction phase for the project.


Stage 1 ‘high-risk’ works: initial investigation through to construction – 18 months

Stage 2: in progress

Experts in existing buildings: delivering safe, long-term solutions

CORE was initially engaged to investigate and identify the root cause behind water ingress and concrete spalling issues to the southern and eastern building facade.

Upon completing an inspection of the southern facade via ropes access (enabling a more thorough and cost efficient inspection), it was found that the building’s original lintels were failing, and required full concrete replacement – the main source of water ingress.

On the eastern elevation, a concrete beam supporting the majority of the eastern facade and internal flooring had corroded resulting in the building’s structural capacity being significantly compromised and posed a high-priority
safety risk to residents. During the investigation stage, general spalling to other areas was also found (locations not initially flagged as areas of concern). Upon further detailed investigations, the concrete spalling was significantly more deteriorated than expected with lintels on the eastern facade also failing with multiple structural beams in need of urgent replacement.

Due to the additional, critical findings, it was determined that the project could not be addressed within one scope as originally intended, and that works would need to be staged in multiple phases with high-risk items prioritised.

To date, CORE have delivered a complete in-house structural design solution for the building, managing the project into the construction phase to see all high-risk works completed on time and to budget. Stage 2 works are currently in progress.

361 Military Road, Mosman, NSW

Faced with excessive stormwater issues causing internal leaks throughout several apartments, Executive Strata needed the support of a trusted partner to conduct a thorough assessment of the site. Signs of significant water ingress with the building’s passenger lift shaft was of additional concern.
Previous assessments by other parties had indicated a new roof and downpipes would need to be installed on top of existing structure as the existing drainage system was not visible from the building’s exterior.

The Challenge: finding the best solution

Executive Strata engaged CORE to investigate the building’s stormwater and water leakage issues and advise on remedial action.
Going beyond the brief, CORE conducted a thorough whole-of-site inspection to assess and identify other potential areas of concern and impact over and above the affected areas.

CORE’s due diligence proves critical

In addition to the lift shaft, the CORE team uncovered previously undetected water ingress within the building’s car lift and oil room where electrical and hydraulic cabling was at immediate risk of short-circuiting, deterioration and posing a danger to residents.
CORE then sought to obtain the plans of the existing drainage system installed by stormwater/hydraulic consultants. This due diligence was of paramount importance as it revealed that Executive Strata could repair, rather than replace, the existing system saving them a significant amount of time and money.

The Outcome: CORE’s holistic approach mitigates risk and delivers savings

CORE’s rigorous approach to this project located the root cause of each issue and enabled the team to deliver a comprehensive assessment report, providing Executive Strata with a complete view of the issues at hand.
Importantly, a long-term solution could now be undertaken, providing the assurance of reduced risk on future issues while saving money, time and impact on residents’ safety.