Poor building processes at Alkimos home where roof detached – Ben Trager Homes Pty Ltd and Ben Trager

  • Roof of a two-storey Alkimos home detached during a storm in Easter 2019
  • Inadequate systems and procedures led to insufficient roof tie-down connections
  • $15,000 fine for company and reprimand for Mr Trager following SAT mediation

The State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) has fined Perth builder Ben Trager Homes Pty Ltd $15,000 and reprimanded its nominated supervisor Ben Trager for not properly managing and supervising building work at an Alkimos house.

Ben Trager Homes finished construction of the two-storey house in late 2017. During a night storm in April 2019, the upper roof detached from the unoccupied home and landed on a road around 200 metres away.

Following mediation at the SAT, Ben Trager Homes (BC13876) and Mr Trager (BP14411) admitted that particular systems and procedures during construction were inadequate. This included a failure to develop an appropriate solution or obtain additional engineering advice prior to the installation of key roof components and fixings.

Specifically, there was a failure to:

  • seek advice from an appropriate engineer regarding the connection of the ribbon plate to the top plate over the balcony beams and bulkhead beam on one side of the house;
  • use an adequate method to connect the ribbon plate to top plate over the beams;
  • ensure the manufacturer’s specifications were followed for the fixing of timber framing connectors; and
  • make sure the correct screw fixings were used.

The SAT noted that Ben Trager Homes and Mr Trager had cooperated with Building and Energy’s investigation and they had not faced other sanctions during their 10 years in the building sector. Mr Trager also advised that 335 roofs had been inspected after the incident to ensure they were properly constructed.

Building and Energy Acting Executive Director Sandy Randall said it was incredibly fortunate that no one was injured when the roof failed.

“The lack of proper management and supervision of building work resulted in critical connections required to hold down the roof being inadequate,” Ms Randall said.

“The community rightly expects builders to have robust systems in place to ensure buildings are safe and work complies with relevant codes, standards and manufacturers’ instructions.”

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Media contact: Sarah Roberts – 0466 409 828 – BEmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au

Note: BC and BP numbers refer to registration as a building contractor or building practitioner. The registers of building service providers are available at commerce.wa.gov.au/buildersearch

Building and Energy image: The detached roof after it was cleared from the road.

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Building and Energy
Media release
09 May 2022

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