Sydney Driveway Collapse blamed on Weather and Workmanship

Bad weather and shoddy workmanship are a dangerous combination as the driveway collapse on a Sydney building site recently proved.

The accident involving a portion of a building site and a driveway collapsing into a construction pit was caused by poor workmanship and bad weather, according to an engineer. Following the collapse reports stated continued wet weather was still hampering efforts to stabilise a three storey unit just a few metres from the pit.

The 3 storey Collaroy unit block was evacuated due to a gas main being ruptured during the collapse. Residents of the block were only allowed to return the following day because of safety concerns.

Geotechnical Engineer David Dickson explained:

242710-rain-causes-sydney-building-site-collapse“It’s unfortunate that this continuing wet weather appears to have softened the ground around and they’ve had a collapse due to inadequate shoring,” geotechnical engineer David Dickson told the Seven Network.


According to reports fire crews and engineers were on the site all day assessing it and the builders were instructed to backfill under the collapsed driveway. Police were also on the scene.

Poor workmanship is one of the factors that is said to have contributed to this incident, this is something that needs to be addressed with the site supervisor and workers involved however bad weather and its effects on construction are something that all construction workers need to be aware of and prepared for.

Rain particularly heavy rains or prolonged periods of rain can be detrimental not only to construction but also safety, worker safety and the safety of the public.

Obviously heavy rains are unpleasant to work in but the presence of heavy or torrential rain will reduce visibility for the drivers of construction vehicles, and will turn the ground into mud which poses its own risks to the health and safety of all site workers.

Construction site operators not only have a duty to look after the health and safety of their own workers, but also towards the general public who may be affected by their operations. In this case the driveway collapse could have resulted in a member of the public falling into the hole created.

Also employers must be proactive in preventing mud or other debris from leaving the construction site and possibly hampering the safety of the public on the road.

Employers often neglect the need for tyre and undercarriage cleaning systems to wash off mud and debris which vehicles leaving the site need to go through before they exit.

Employers also need to be aware that structures under construction are more susceptible to collapse during heavy rainfall such as the driveway that collapsed in the incident above, workers need to be protected from the possibility of being injured during structural collapses.

It is also important that we are aware that our weather patterns are changing. Rainfall patterns are also therefore varying, some areas which weren’t prone to heavy rain are receiving dangerously high volumes and other areas are getting rain during times of the year when it is usually dry seasons. Employers should not be caught off guard because of climate change and the changing rainfall patterns.


Posted by Construction Safety News Admin
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