Engineers are assessing whether the unique ‘gardens in the sky’ of the embattled Opal Tower could be the cause of structural damage within the building.
The 36-floor building in Sydney Olympic Park boasts sky gardens in the middle of the now crumbling tower – which were deemed a selling point for the luxury apartments.
But the structural integrity of the gardens is now being questioned by an independent panel of engineers who have been appointed by the NSW government to determine the cause of cracks inside.
Engineers are assessing whether the unique ‘gardens in the sky’ of the embattled Opal Tower could be the cause of the structural damage within the building
A shocking photo from inside the building showed a plaster wall collapsed in a heap and a crack down the length of the wall. Yellow tape was on the door handle
The retiree never saw any visible damage in the building and as a renter, did not receive any emails or text messages about the crisis
Professor Mark Hoffman and John Carter are two engineers tasked with examining the material, news.com.au reported.
They will investigate whether the precast concrete method had any implications on the building’s structure and reliability.
‘There’s clearly some very notable damage there but the issue we’re all grappling with is the cause of it, we have to inspect a lot of other parts of the building as well,’ Professor Hoffman, a Dean of Engineering at the University of NSW, said.
‘The first place you’d look at is the design of the structure because it’s unique, it’s a little bit different.’
Developer Ecove released a statement on Boxing Day where director Bassam Aflak blamed the builder Icon Construction and described the Opal Tower (pictured) as a ‘high quality building’
Further cracks have been discovered in the external cladding of the tower and residents have been evacuated for the second time
In total, 16 concrete panels in and around the sky gardens will be examined.
The independent investigation comes after the building company responsible for the property hired their own engineers to determine the cause of the faults.
The two examinations will run concurrently with one another until the matter has been resolved.
The new line of inquiry comes after the developer of the Sydney high-rise apartment building said he was ‘stunned’ by the structural defects, which left many residents homeless.
Instead, he insists any blame must placed on Icon, the construction company that built the luxury tower.
On Christmas Eve, as many as 3,000 residents from the Opal Tower and surrounding streets were evacuated and made to sleep at nearby Sydney Olympic Park
Up to 3000 residents were evacuated from Opal Tower and neighbouring buildings at Sydney Olympic Park on Christmas Eve after those living in the recently completed building heard and saw cracking in a wall.
The building’s developer Ecove released a statement on Wednesday where director Bassam Aflak described Opal Tower as a ‘high quality building’.
‘Ecove has delivered a project that is well above the industry standard,’ Mr Aflak said.
‘The important fact is that there is absolutely no danger for the residents. We’re confident this localised issue can be fixed.’
The $165million building was completed in March and opened in August.
Two-bedroom apartments are on sale for $934,000, while one bedroom units are going for $620,000.
ICON CONSTRUCTIONS’ APOLOGY LETTER
I am writing today to thank you for meeting with myself, Opal Tower’s builder Icon and their engineers WSP Australia, to hear about the latest update on the status of Opal Tower.
Before recapping the current situation, on behalf of Ecove, I wanted to first extend our deepest sympathies for the difficulties, upset and inconvenience you and your families have endured in the past 72 hours as this quite incredible situation has unfolded.
I regret that this has not come to you sooner, but I had hoped to have accurate information before communicating with you – regardless, it’s unacceptable that you have had to wait on that. We will do better, as we work through this evolving situation together.
Today our builders, Icon, and their engineers WSP Australia have informed us that they will need full access to every floor and every apartment so they can conduct their thorough investigation as quickly as possible. This will require a relocation of residents into temporary accommodation for at least 10 days.
They have reassured us the building is structurally sound, so the decision to relocate you is simply to do the work that needs to be done with as little disruption to you as possible.
We completely appreciate that having to move out of your home is awful, but we are determined to see this issue addressed as quickly as possible and we are deeply grateful for your cooperation during this time. We know that you will have many questions, and everyone’s personal situation is different.
We have been assured that Icon’s Opal Support Team are putting together a comprehensive information kit and a process to help you through this time. We remain very confident that with time, and the intensive attention from several engineers including one specifically appointed independently by the Owners Corporation, the building – and most importantly – your home, will be as it was always intended.
Through this period a range of different groups will be in touch with you, including us, via either a daily email or sms or the Waterpoint building management App. If you have specific questions, you can send a message via the App, or call the Waterpoint resident helpline on 1300 980 430 from 8am to 5pm.
We expect that line will be very busy the coming days, so please leave a message if you can’t get through. This has been a very confusing time for everyone, and we understand that trust is low right now. We hope to rebuild that with you in the coming days, and want to reassure you that your wellbeing is our top priority.