Residents of Sydney’s Opal Tower remain evacuated as structural investigations continue on the building, which was found to have a series of cracks.
An interim briefing report conducted by two engineering experts commissioned by the State Government has revealed a series of faults, some of which will require further investigation. At this point, all they have confirmed is that there do not seem to be any structural issues with the foundation of the building.
The investigation is being led by the building’s design engineers, WSP, engineering representatives of the builder, Icon, and the above-mentioned government-appointed experts, professors Mark Hoffman and John Carter from University of NSW and University of Newcastle.
Meanwhile, the building’s body corporate has engaged an independent expert, Cardno engineer Doug McMillan, to investigate the building, but residents claim that WSP and Icon have not been cooperating.
“WSP and Icon are not cooperative with [the] engineer appointed by body corporate,” the residents claim in a 1000-word letter written to planning minister Anthony Roberts.
According to the residents, WSP and Icon have denied McMillan access to “equipment and drawings the facilitate his works”.
“They also fail to address issues raised by Mr McMillan at a few on-site examinations and joint meetings,” reads the letter.
The letter also details residents’ concern that the investigation is biased.
“To our knowledge, neither the [government] experts nor Mr McMillan are the lead and driving force of this investigation. There is a conflict of interest that WSP and Icon are investigating their own work, which could be the contributing factor to the major construction failure.”
With more faults continuing to be discovered, the cause has yet to be determined, although Australian Subcontractors Association spokesperson Louise Stewart told The Daily Telegraph that workers were employed at “bargain basement prices” and claim they were not paid on time.
Icon Construction has refuted these claims.
In the midst of the investigations, many residents have expressed fury at the now-dishevelled state of their apartments, and the significant loss of value they can expect on their property. Some have also claimed that even if the tower is deemed fit for purpose, they will not be returning to their homes.
NSW premier Gladys Berijiklian has “wholeheartedly” encouraged residents to explore their legal options against whoever is found to be responsible for the building’s faults.
Image credit: realestate.com.au