Falling glass fears for city pedestrians


FOUR glass panels have shattered and fallen from the 52-storey former Bankwest tower in the past six months — prompting an inquiry and the installation of covered scaffolding to protect pedestrians.

Brookfield, the owner of 108 St Georges Terrace, said no one had been injured by falling glass but an investigation was under way into what caused the breaks and whether any other panels were at risk.

The company also warned neighbouring St George’s Anglican Grammar School to temporarily close its open rooftop recreational area.

Building Commissioner Peter Gow said yesterday the incidents were concerning and there was clearly a risk if “glass falls out of the sky”.

But he said he was told it had not been whole sheets of glass falling out but rather toughened glass panels had shattered in their frames and the pieces had fallen.

“If you get a large chunk of glass coming out of the sky from many storeys up, it’s clearly potentially lethal,” Mr Gow said. “However, if what you’re getting is toughened glass shattering in situ into little small pellets and they fall down, it’s unlikely to kill anyone.

“But obviously you could get cuts, bruises and abrasions, so it’s not to be taken lightly.”

media_cameraA temporary covered walkway has been erected to protect pedestrians. Picture: Danella Bevis.

He said Brookfield appeared to be taking the matter seriously by installing the gantry last month to protect pedestrians and launching an inquiry.

While such incidents were not common, toughened glass was known to be vulnerable to defects and the Building Commission had received reports about similar incidents with windows, balustrades and shower screens, Mr Gow said.

He said he was not surprised it had happened to several panels in one building because it was likely the glass had come from the same batch.

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