Opal Tower residents given all clear to start moving back in this weekend
Propping installed at Opal Tower as ‘precautionary measure’ after more cracks discovered
Residents of the defect-plagued Opal Tower in Sydney will be allowed to start moving back into their homes this weekend, according to building company Icon Co.
Some stabilisation works are due for completion this evening so a “significant proportion” of the 392 apartments in the Olympic Park tower will be given the all clear for tomorrow.
Support struts inside the tower which was evacuated after loud cracking sounds were heard. (Facebook: Nika Khodjasteh)
Those who have been put up by Icon in the nearby Pullman, Ibis and Novotel hotels will have their accommodation paid until Sunday morning, a statement said.
However those whose apartments require minor repair work will be forced to remain in alternative accommodation for around one more week, and those needing major work done will have a wait of around four to six weeks.
A spokesperson said an “overwhelming majority” of residents will be able to return home this weekend, while around 50 apartments will have a longer wait.
The 36-storey building, which only opened last August, was evacuated on Christmas Eve and again three days later after a large crack was found on level 10.
Engineering investigations later found more damage, with cracks also on level four.
The complex was deemed “structurally sound overall” by engineers from WSP despite the damage.
In a resident update issued last night, Icon Co said while they “welcome” the NSW Planning and Housing department’s independent engineering advice, confirmation to re-open the building rested with Icon’s engineers, WSP.
They also said they were awaiting advice from the body corporate’s engineer Cardno, but it was not required.
However the statement followed with: “Ideally, we would like agreement between all parties.”
The tower’s troubles prompted the NSW Government to announce a crackdown on “dodgy building certifiers” through a large compliance operation which would see 25 to 30 per cent of certification work audited every year.
Under a new disciplinary policy, any certifiers found to be corrupt or to have negligently signed off on a building which is unsafe or structurally unsound will be immediately kicked out of the industry.
Certifiers who are found to have breached the industry’s code of conduct on building quality will be banned from working on new strata developments for 12 months.
The NSW Government also launched an investigation into the Opal Tower’s structural integrity, appointing two university professors to write a report which will be made public.
The building, which cost Australian developer Ecove $165 million to build, was given the green light under the Government’s significant development legislation, which gives major developments a way of side-stepping council approval.
The legislation was introduced earlier this decade to address the significant housing shortage in areas such as western Sydney — the area where the tower is located.