Homeowner to sue over deadly deck collapse (Brisbane Times)

   Marissa Calligeros      Date August 23, 2011
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Brisbane Deck Collapse 

The owner of a Brisbane home at which the balcony collapsed during a school mothers' function, killing one woman three years ago, is suing the property's building inspector.

Annette Lee Spencer, 48, died when the timber deck of the Upper Lancaster Road, Ascot, home, owned by Tim and Belinda Biggs, collapsed during an end of Year 12 mothers' luncheon for the Anglican Church 'Churchie' Grammar School on November 20, 2008.

As many as 70 women were attending the annual function when the timber deck plunged to the ground, injuring 25 people and trapping several.

Ms Spencer suffered head injuries and died the next morning in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

Mrs Biggs has lodged documents in the Brisbane Supreme Court in April seeking damages, reported to total more than $750,000 against Australian Building Inspection Services Pty Ltd, which she claims found no fault with the deck upon their assessment in 2005.

It is understood the company carried a "standard property inspection report" at the home in Brisbane's exclusive northern suburb on April 7, 2005, for Mrs Biggs, a then-prospective buyer of the five-bedroom house.

Mrs Biggs soon after purchased the property for more than $1.7 million.

She is suing the inspection company for damages relating to breach of contract or negligence after it failed to detail any defects in the home, including the deck, in its final report.

At an inquiry into the deck collapse last year, Coroner John Lock found the incident was caused by "there being little or no bearing of some of the joists of the deck".

Mr Lock recommended all pre-World War II homes have their wooden deck or balcony checked for structural integrity.