The cracks and the chaos: Opal Tower’s long list of flaws are revealed as residents face MORE uncertainty over whether they can move back in
- Residents of Sydney’s cracked Opal Tower face more uncertainty going forward
- Department of Planning interim report has revealed faults with structural beams
- It recommended a series of repairs at Sydney Olympic Park apartment complex
- Report was released four weeks after cracks forced Christmas Eve evacuation
Residents of Sydney’s Opal Tower face more uncertainty after an interim report declared structural beams are faulty.
The report, commissioned by the New South Wales Department of Planning, has made a series of recommendations into the troubled 36-storey high-rise apartment at Sydney Olympic Park.
It did not say when residents of the newly-built western suburbs complex could move back in, four weeks after their Christmas Eve evacuation.
Residents of Sydney’s cracked Opal Tower face more uncertainty after an interim report into the building did not find whether it was safe for people to move back in
Sydney’s 36-floor Opal Tower was previously evacuated twice because of the cracks found in the concrete panels (pictured)
The interim 17-page report, released on Tuesday, said hob beams needed to be repaired and strengthened.
‘Further analysis should be undertaken on the structural design of the hob beams and associated structural members with similar details and consideration should be given to strengthening them wherever they occur throughout the building,’ it said.
It also found most of the damage had occurred from the fourth to the tenth level, where cracks were initially observed on Christmas Eve.
Cracking was also observed on a floor plate between the third and fourth levels.
The independent report by engineering group Unisearch found the concrete building was structurally sound but would require ‘significant rectification works’.
‘While we have isolated the probably cause to localised structural design and construction issues, we need more information to make definitive conclusions about the cause or causes of the damage,’ the report said.
‘More work is also needed before we can provide recommendations on what needs to happen to avoid incidents like this in the future.’
The report ruled out environmental factors and poor quality materials as the causes of the cracks.
The team of professors, who visited the site multiple times during their investigation, suggested a number of things be checked before major rectification works begin and residents move back in.
‘We recommend that independent and qualified structural engineers be engaged to check final proposals in detail before major rectification works begin,’ they said, adding it is difficult to say how long that could take.
Another theory argues that the grouting – a dense fluid of water, cement and sand mixtures used to fill gaps – of both the panels and support beams led to the cracks.
Reports were handed to Planning Minister Anthony Roberts on the specifications that Icon Co, the Opal Towers’ builder, followed.
The investigation team includes Rincovitch Partners, WSP, a third party hired by Icon and engineering firm Cardno.
The NSW government also appointed University of New South Wales Dean of Engineering Mark Hoffman and University of Newcastle’s School of Engineering John Carter for the investigation.
Around 300 people were forced out of Opal Tower on Christmas Eve after a loud sound was heard and a large crack appeared in a panel on the tenth floor
A remediation and reoccupation plan for the building has been agreed upon by all parties involved in the investigation.
Some residents have returned to Opal Towers despite being advised to keep clear until the cause of the defect has been determined.
About 300 people were forced out of the brand-new high-rise building in Olympic Park on Christmas Eve after a loud sound was heard and a large crack appeared in a panel on the tenth floor.