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Company that signed off on Sydney’s embattled Opal tower were previously fined by watchdog

The directors of the company that signed off on the structural integrity of the embattled Opal Tower have been previously fined by the building industry watchdog it has been revealed. 

Independent certifiers Mckenzie Group, who were responsible for assessing the tower met all building standards and codes, have a history of being reprimanded by the Building Professionals Board, according to The Daily Telegraph. 

Director Mark Cogo received disciplinary rulings from the board a total of six times between 2004 and 2009, while co-director Stephen Natalli was cautioned by the board twice in 2005. 

The directors of the company that signed off on the structural integrity of the embattled Opal Tower have been previously fined by the building industry watchdog it has been revealed 

Further cracks have been discovered in the external cladding of the tower and residents have been evacuated for the second time 

Further cracks have been discovered in the external cladding of the tower and residents have been evacuated for the second time 

Mr Cogo was fined $11,000 in 2009 after he authorised a fire safety plan in a warehouse development that was found to be deficient – having ignored advice from NSW Fire in favour of a consultant that was found to be inadequately qualified. 

He was also fined $11,000 the previous year for certifying a residential development that was inconsistent with the approved plans. 

The role of certifiers in assessing construction developments while they are employed by the companies running the projects has previously been questioned by the NSW government. 

Daily Mail Australia does not suggest impropriety from the directors of the McKenzie Group in regards to the Opal development. 

All residents in Opal Tower have been evacuated for the second time in three days over fears the 38-storey building could collapse.

Builder Icon Construction told residents of the brand new $165million high rise in Sydney Olympic Park they couldn’t return for at least 10 days.

Angry residents crashed a press conference outside the building on Thursday as the company tried to explain itself and reassure them.

Angry residents crashed a press conference outside the building on Thursday as the company tried to explain itself and reassure them

Angry residents crashed a press conference outside the building on Thursday as the company tried to explain itself and reassure them

‘You ask us to move back now you ask us to evacuate again,’ one resident said as she confronted Icon’s NSW Director Julian Doyle.

‘You ask us to move all our valuable things out, it’s impossible and the (temporary) accommodation is terrible. 

‘Nobody is responsible for anything, if it goes missing in our apartments, will there be any compensation?

‘Nobody has mentioned anything and I’m asking why. How long should we wait for final results and can we have some fair treatment in the end?’

Nearby, other residents spoke to the media of their experiences since all 392 apartments in the 117m tower were first evacuated on Christmas Eve.

‘Of course I’m scared, everyone is scared,’ Delsa Daryaei said, adding that she was forced to keep paying rent while forced out.

Icon's NSW Director Julian Doyle couldn't reassure residents about exactly when they would be able to go home as the company needed to investigate what went wrong

Icon’s NSW Director Julian Doyle couldn’t reassure residents about exactly when they would be able to go home as the company needed to investigate what went wrong

Mr Doyle insisted the tower's construction was not rushed and kicking residents out was simply to 'expedite' investigations and repairs

Mr Doyle insisted the tower’s construction was not rushed and kicking residents out was simply to ‘expedite’ investigations and repairs

‘They forced the people on the first night to move in and today they said ‘no, everyone has to move out’. You cannot be calm. It’s not normal.’ 

Mr Doyle couldn’t reassure residents about exactly when they would be able to go home as the company needed to investigate what went wrong.

‘No, I can’t guarantee the residents will be back in 10 days,’ he admitted.

Mr Doyle insisted the tower’s construction was not rushed and kicking residents out was simply to ‘expedite’ investigations and repairs.

‘If we leave the residents in place then we’ll be still trying to get access to various areas of the building for the next three months,’ he said. 

‘We’re spending a lot of time and energy with a team of the country’s best engineers to try and understand why this actually took place 18 months after it was installed.

‘Getting it right is most important and looking after the residents is most important.

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

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

Residents were initially advised they would have to evacuate a second time in an email from Icon earlier in the afternoon advising them they had to leave for 10 days

Residents were initially advised they would have to evacuate a second time in an email from Icon earlier in the afternoon advising them they had to leave for 10 days

‘I think ultimately the building will be as it was designed to be. It’s never happened before.’

Mr Doyle said the same panels were in use in 16 other areas where the crack was running through the wall.

The panels were believed to be all from the same batch manufactured by Evolution Precast in Rooty Hill.

Icon promised to compensate residents during their displacement and said the damaged section had been reinforced.

Engineering firm WSP, one of the investigators being employed by Icon, said the building was structurally sound.

‘I’m very comfortable standing right here below the building,’ chief executive Guy Templeton told reporters.

‘But we need to be able to get access so specialist engineers can work right through the building and check out all the similar structures throughout all of the floors.’

Mr Templeton said it was an issue ‘specific’ to the building but the cause of the problem was still not known.

The building’s developer Ecove refuted suggestions there was a pattern of substandard work in the construction industry.

‘The city’s ‘development boom’ has not led to cutting of corners. There has been no cutting of corners,’ director Bassam Aflak said.

All residents (pictured) n Sydney's Opal Tower are being evacuated for the second time in three days - and have just 24 hours to leave following fears the 38-storey building could fall 

All residents (pictured) n Sydney’s Opal Tower are being evacuated for the second time in three days – and have just 24 hours to leave following fears the 38-storey building could fall 

NSW Planning and Housing Minister Anthony Roberts appointed specialist investigators to conduct an inquiry into the matter with the results made public.

Two engineering professors will lead an investigation into the cause of the failure and suggest immediate steps to ensure the safety of the building. 

Residents were initially advised they would have to evacuate a second time in an email from Icon earlier in the afternoon advising them they had to leave for 10 days. 

It said developer Ecove had advised them they would be ‘progressively relocating residents over the coming 24 hours’.

This would ‘enable comprehensive investigations to continue into the cracking of a pre-cast panel that occurred on Christmas Eve’. 

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 or with relatives and friends.

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 

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 

Icon told residents on Thursday afternoon that developer Ecove had advised them they would be 'progressively relocating residents over the coming 24 hours' and kept away for 10 days

Icon told residents on Thursday afternoon that developer Ecove had advised them they would be ‘progressively relocating residents over the coming 24 hours’ and kept away for 10 days

On Christmas Eve, residents reported hearing loud cracks coming from the 10th floor through the morning and raised the alarm about 2.45pm.

Firefighters and public works engineers found a large crack along an internal support wall after the building moved one to two millimetres.

A shocking photograph, taken on level 10, showed a collapsed plaster wall and a crack down the full length of the wall. 

On Thursday, Icon Construction said the damaged section of the building had now been reinforced ‘as a precautionary measure’. 

Global engineering group WSP and senior engineers from the Japanese Kajima Corporation are investigating the structural integrity of the building. 

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'

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’

In a statement, Icon Construction said the building was structurally sound.

‘The temporary relocation is a precautionary measure to allow engineers to work around the clock to investigate and remediate the site in the quickest time possible, without any further disruptions to residents,’ it said on Thursday.

Opal Tower is only months old 

The 117m Opal tower has 392 apartments over 38 storeys along with a childcare centre and other businesses and amenities.

Brand new high rise was built alongside numerous other similar blocks in Olympic Park as it transforms into a major population centre.

The building was only completed in March and opened in August, and cost $165 million to build by developer Ecove, which built many of the others nearby.

Two-bedroom apartments are on sale for $934,000 and one bedrooms for $620,000.  

A resident of the building, who attended the meeting with Icon Construction on Thursday afternoon, told Daily Mail Australia the builders were ‘trying to calm people down, but people are angry here’. 

Developer Ecove released a statement on Boxing Day where director Bassam Aflak blamed the builder Icon Construction and described the Opal Tower as a ‘high quality building’.

‘We, like the residents, are anxious that the builder defines the problem and resolves it as soon as possible,’ he said.

The 117-metre high Opal tower has 392 apartments along with a childcare centre and other businesses.

The brand-new high-rise was built alongside numerous other similar blocks in Olympic Park as part of a major urban renewal project.

The $165million building was only completed in March and opened in August.

Developer Ecove which had also built other nearby residential complexes.

Two-bedroom apartments are on sale for $934,000 with one bedroom units going for $620,000.

Residents of the affected units were escorted back to gather their belongings from Christmas Day

Residents of the affected units were escorted back to gather their belongings from Christmas Day

Residents in all but 51 high-risk apartments in the complex were progressively allowed to collect their belongings from Christmas Day, under escort from firefighters. 

They were given accommodation at the Novotel and Ibis hotels in Olympic park. 

New South Wales Opposition Leader Michael Daley on Thursday vowed Labor, if elected in March, would change the law so developers would have a certifier allocated to them, rather than allowing them to choose a private engineer. 

‘What people have recommended in various reports… is have what they call a cab rank rule,’ he told Sydney radio 2GB. 

Two-bedroom apartments in the Opal Tower are on sale for $934,000 with one bedroom units going for $620,000

Two-bedroom apartments in the Opal Tower are on sale for $934,000 with one bedroom units going for $620,000

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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