Australia: THOUSANDS of buildings could have the same issue that made Opal Tower crack - and an obscure law means taxpayers could have to pick up the bill - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaTHOUSANDS of buildings could have the same issue that made Opal Tower crack - and an obscure law means taxpayers could have to pick up the bill

09:06  11 january  2019
09:06  11 january  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Opal Tower has 'design and construction issues', engineers find

Opal Tower has 'design and construction issues', engineers find Some residents are concerned they'll be asked to move back into Sydney's Opal Tower apartment building, with engineers still investigating "a number of design and construction issues" with the building, which has remained vacant since a crack formed in concrete before Christmas.

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Thousands of buildings have the same defects that forced the evacuation of Sydney's Opal Tower, an industry expert has warned.

The startling claims comes amid revelations taxpayers may foot a potentially multi-million dollar bill to compensate homeowners in the cracked Homebush complex.

THOUSANDS of buildings could have the same issue that made Opal Tower crack - and an obscure law means taxpayers could have to pick up the bill © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Michael Lambert, who was appointed by the NSW government to file a 2016 report on building industry standards, said 'there are thousands of Opals out there'.

'Nothing to do with each other': Company clarifies it did not build Opal Tower

'Nothing to do with each other': Company clarifies it did not build Opal Tower Icon Construction Group, which shares a name with construction company Icon Co, has been forced to clarify it did not build the scandal-ridden Opal Tower.

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'The Opal Tower happens to be on a very large scale but there are so many smaller-scale buildings with problems that haven't been in the papers,' Mr Lambert told the Australian Financial Review.

THOUSANDS of buildings could have the same issue that made Opal Tower crack - and an obscure law means taxpayers could have to pick up the bill © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Thousands of buildings have the same defects that forced the evacuation of Sydney's Opal Tower (pictured) , an industry expert has warned

'Defects are cheap if they can be fixed before the building is completed... I hoped that the Opal Tower would be a wake-up call for the government but I'm running out of hope now.'

The newly-built tower in Sydney Olympic Park was evacuated on Christmas Eve after cracks found in the building sparked fears it would collapse.

THOUSANDS of buildings could have the same issue that made Opal Tower crack - and an obscure law means taxpayers could have to pick up the bill © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Some residents have spent every night since in temporary accommodation awaiting the all clear.

Opal Tower: Construction vet says crackdown 'a joke'

Opal Tower: Construction vet says crackdown 'a joke' It was sold as a sparkling residential gem at Sydney's Olympic Park, but the structural defects that have beset in this so-called jewel has put the entire construction industry under the microscope. The troubles at Opal Tower are just the tip of the iceberg in an Australian construction industry with crumbling standards. Craig Walker, a construction industry veteran of 38 years, believes the NSW government's promised crackdown on dodgy building certifiers in the wake of the Opal Tower fiasco is a joke. “We've got ministers in portfolios that have no idea what they are doing,” Mr Walker said.

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Developer Ecove, which has previously said the building is high quality, said on Wednesday remediation work could take weeks.

THOUSANDS of buildings could have the same issue that made Opal Tower crack - and an obscure law means taxpayers could have to pick up the bill © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Michael Lambert, who was appointed by the NSW government to file a 2016 report on building industry standards, said 'there are thousands of Opals out there'

Tower builder Icon has full liability on the design and construction, meaning it has led the repair works.

But it has since emerged the Berejiklian government - not the developer - could be sued by Opal apartment owners because of an obscure land ownership law.

The state government's Sydney Olympic Park Authority [SOPA] owned the land on which Opal Tower was built, The Australian reported, meaning any successful compensation claims could be passed on to taxpayers.

Construction law experts told the paper the NSW Home Building Act dictates that a developer sued over a building with defects is, by law, defined as the entity which owns the land where it was built.

Builder faces angry Opal tower owners

Builder faces angry Opal tower owners The builder of Sydney's cracked Opal Tower has met with angry owners as expert reports dispute whether it is safe for residents to return home.

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THOUSANDS of buildings could have the same issue that made Opal Tower crack - and an obscure law means taxpayers could have to pick up the bill © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Tower builder Icon has full liability on the design and construction, meaning it has led the repair works

'If Sydney Olympic Park Authority owned the land during construction, then the government - via SOPA - is definitely on the hook,' construction law expert Paul Jurdeczkaz from Chambers Russell Lawyers said.

THOUSANDS of buildings could have the same issue that made Opal Tower crack - and an obscure law means taxpayers could have to pick up the bill © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited It has emerged the Berejiklian government - not the developer - could be sued by Opal apartment owners because of an obscure land ownership law

'If the position is that Ecove was not the landowner or the builder, it's clear on the current state of the law that Ecove will not have any liability under the Home Building Act.'

The land the troubled tower was built on wasn't owned by Ecove, according to the NSW Land Registry Services, but was handed to SOPA at the time of its 2001 establishment.

THOUSANDS of buildings could have the same issue that made Opal Tower crack - and an obscure law means taxpayers could have to pick up the bill © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited THOUSANDS of buildings could have the same issue that made Opal Tower crack - and an obscure law means taxpayers could have to pick up the bill © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

A spokeswoman for Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean wouldn't speculate on liability because the causes of the tower's problems were under investigation.

More work, more info needed on Opal tower

More work, more info needed on Opal tower A NSW government-commissioned investigation is yet to uncover the exact reason why cracks appeared in the structure of the 36-storey Opal Tower in Sydney.

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Engineering experts Mark Hoffman and John Carter, who have been commissioned by the state government to conduct an independent investigation, are expected to release their final report on Friday.

Engineers said on Friday the building is nearly ready for some residents to re-occupy, although other individual units may not be ready for weeks.

SOME OPAL TOWER RESIDENTS SET TO BE BACK IN THEIR HOMES WITHIN HOURS - BUT OTHERS WILL HAVE TO WAIT WEEKS

Some residents of the cracked Opal Tower in Sydney could be back in their homes as early as Saturday after engineers declared the building safe for occupation once stabilisation works are complete.

The newly-built tower in Sydney Olympic Park was evacuated on Christmas Eve after cracks found in the building sparked fears it would collapse.

In a letter sent to residents on Thursday, the tower's builder Icon said design engineer WSP and a third party engineer had confirmed the building is safe for reoccupation following the completion of stabilising works which are due to finish on Friday.

While apartments requiring no work will be safe to occupy from Saturday, other apartments needing minor works will not be ready for another week and those requiring remedial work will not be ready for between four and six weeks, the letter says.

Opal Tower investigation and report confirms 'likely causes' of cracking

Opal Tower investigation and report confirms 'likely causes' of cracking The Opal Tower interim report, written by some of the state's most senior independent engineers after a more than two weeks of investigation, went some way in giving residents answers as to what went wrong.

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Icon added the caveat that it was still waiting on advice from Cardno, the body corporate's engineer, regarding the relocation of residents back to the building.

Some residents have expressed concerns the building is not safe, despite Icon's assurances.

'Of course, it's not safe since we haven't received any clearance from the government,' one resident told AAP on Friday.

It comes ahead of an expert report on the tower being handed to the state government.

Engineering experts Mark Hoffman and John Carter, who have been commissioned by the state government to conduct an independent investigation, are expected to address rectification plans and the safety of the building.

AAP understands Planning Minister Anthony Roberts' office could receive the report late on Friday.

Last week the pair said they'd found no evidence of issues with the foundations of the building.

Some residents have spent every night since in temporary accommodation awaiting the all clear.

Developer Ecove, which has previously said the building is high quality, said on Wednesday remediation work could take weeks.

Icon last week defended gutting some apartments in order to allow equipment to prop up the concrete slabs separating each floor.

Opal Tower effect to hit Sydney's new apartments as negativity reigns in housing market.
Property analysts are predicting the Opal Tower effect to hit the value of Sydney's off-the-plan apartment market in the coming months.

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