Bunbury demolition company Picton Civil fined $4000 over unlicensed work

A Bunbury demolition company has been fined $4000 (and ordered to pay $1338.50 in costs) for carrying out work for which it did not have the relevant licence.

Picton Civil Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to performing class one demolition work without having been issued a class one demolition licence and was fined in the Bunbury Magistrates Court on Monday.

Picton Civil is an earthworks and demolition business that holds a class two demolition licence. Its operations manager Kelvin James Roberts is the nominee/approved person on the demolition licence.

Class one demolition work is defined as work that includes:

  • Work comprising the total or partial demolition of a building or structure containing precast concrete elements erected by the tilt-up method; or
  • Work comprising the demolition or partial demolition of a building or structure that involves the use of a tower crane or any crane with a safe working load (SWL) greater than 100 tonnes.

As Picton Civil only holds a class two demolition licence, it cannot perform class one demolition work.

The company was issued with a WorkSafe improvement notice in June 2015, given to Kelvin Roberts, for performing class one demolition work without the appropriate licence.

This notice referred to the removal of precast tilt-up concrete panels and it directed Picton Civil to ensure that any demolition work done at a workplace was done by a person who had been issued with the appropriate demolition licence.

In August 2016, Picton Civil was engaged by Prosser Homes Pty Ltd to perform demolition work at Beacon Lighting in Mervyn Street, Bunbury.

Kelvin Roberts completed the required notification of demolition work, stating that the demolition work was “Class 2”, “removal of concrete panels”.  A number of workers signed onto the prepared Safe Work Method Statement that described the job as “removal of tilt up panel”.

Picton Civil then removed precast concrete panels erected by tilt-up using a 200-tonne SWL crane.  Both the panels and the size of the crane meant this demolition could only be carried out by the holder of a class one demolition licence.

The following day, WorkSafe inspectors attended the premises and saw that the work had already been completed.

While the inspectors were at the site, Mr Roberts rang one of them and said he had made arrangements with a company that had a class one demolition licence to do the work the following week.

However, the work had already been completed by Picton Civil the day before.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said it was important that demolition companies only undertook the work for which they were licenced.

“The whole point of having different classes of demolition licence is to ensure that the more high risk class one work is done by workers who have the experience and the capacity to carry out that work safely,” Mr McCulloch said.

“Work requiring a class one licence requires more experience, training and technical expertise than other classes, and Picton Civil obviously does not have that expertise.

“The operations manager Mr Roberts rang a WorkSafe inspector and told him he had arranged for a company with a class one licence to do this work the following week, but he was not aware that the inspector was standing at the site looking at the work that had already been done illegally by Picton Civil.

“Since the company had already been warned via an improvement notice the previous year that they needed to ensure that demolition work was only done by a person with the appropriate demolition licence, the only course of action was to take prosecution action against Picton Civil.

“This case should serve as a warning to all demolition businesses that they should be undertaking only the work that is allowed under the specific class of demolition licence they hold.”