Woman's balcony fall blamed on "spontaneous failure" of glass

Owners told to get advice on balcony dangers.
A woman was seriously injured when the glass balustrade at the Quest Apartment shattered and she fell two storeys onto a rocky garden. Photo / Steven McNicholl
A woman was seriously injured when the glass balustrade at the Quest Apartment shattered and she fell two storeys onto a rocky garden. Photo / Steven McNicholl

An investigation into a balcony fall in August which left a young woman seriously injured says the incident could have been the result of a "spontaneous failure" of a glass balustrade.

The glass balcony at the Quest Hotel on Ponsonby Rd shattered and resulted in the woman falling two storeys onto a rocky garden.

Owners of other apartments have been told to get professional advice and make "minor modifications" to reduce the risk of a similar incident.

Auckland Council investigated the balcony failure and found the glass balustrade complied with the building code.

Ian McCormick, general manager building control, at Auckland Council said there was no inherent issue with other balconies in the building and put the incident down to "spontaneous failure."

"On occasion, glass can spontaneously fail, and it is probable that happened in this instance," McCormick said.

"To reduce any other risk of failure we have recommended that the property owners make a minor modification to the balustrades as recommended by glass experts."

Just months before the woman was injured the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment amended the building code regarding glass barrier requirements.

From June, frameless glass barriers were required to have an interlinking rail unless the barrier is laminated safety glass and has features to retain panes of glass in the event of breakage.

Australia banned simple toughened glass a decade ago and uses glass that stays rigid if broken.

Because the Quest Hotel was built prior to the amendment to the building code the old balconies still comply.

McCormick wished the woman, who received broken bones in the fall, a full recovery.

"We appreciate that this has been a difficult time for the woman injured and her family, and we extend her our best wishes."

- NZ Herald

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