A Melbourne building firm fined over a fatal wall collapse should have known the freestanding structure could be dangerous, a court has heard.
Carpenter and father-of-two Michael Klanja died in June 2014 after strong wind felled a brick wall at a Brighton East construction site where he was working as a contractor.
Bilic Homes, the company overseeing the project, was fined $300,000 on over the deadly incident.
Victorian County Court Judge Jane Campton said the firm – which pleaded guilty to one count of failing to maintain a safe working environment – should have been aware the wall posed a risk.
The structure’s lack of bracing meant collapse was foreseeable on a windy day, and it wouldn’t have been complicated to secure the wall, Judge Campton said.
A single length of timber, staked to the ground at one end, could have been used as a prop.
The freestanding wall stood for about 10 days before it collapsed and killed Mr Klanja on June 23 two years ago.
On that day, severe weather including strong wind was predicted.
Mr Klanja, 30, and another tradesman were working at the back of the construction site when a gust of wind brought the wall down on Mr Klanja.
His workmate tried to save him, but Mr Klanja died in hospital, the court heard.
Bilic Homes’ director, Stanko Bilic, had visited the construction site regularly after the wall was erected, but did not ensure the structure was braced, Judge Campton said.
She said the wall was a risk to anyone on the site, but also acknowledged Bilic Homes’ genuine remorse and lack of any prior convictions.
The court heard Mr Bilic was devastated and distressed after the incident.
Mr Klanja’s wife, Isabel Klanja, was in court for sentencing.
Her victim impact statement, read at a previous hearing, revealed her devastation over Mr Klanja’s death.