New Cracks Discovered At Sydney's Opal Tower As 2019 Begins
An engineering firm investigating Sydney's cracked Opal Tower has found the building is "structurally sound overall" but the cause of the cracks is still unknown.
WSP, one of the investigators being employed by the building company Icon, said on Monday investigators have accessed all key locations in the Sydney Olympic Park apartment tower and found the building is "structurally sound overall".
Loud cracking noises heard by residents on Christmas Eve triggered the evacuation of the tower and the surrounding areas.
Most residents were allowed back into the building within 24 hours after the cracking was heard, but on December 27 they were told by the developers the entire tower would need to be emptied again so engineers' investigations could continue for at least 10 days.
The engineers on Monday said they supported a "progressive reoccupation" of the majority of the tower's units but residents living in part of the building which requires repairs will not be able to return until they are completed.
"We have found no other areas of damage to the extent of that in one part of Level 10," WSP chief executive Guy Templeton said in a statement on Monday.
Two areas on Level 4 of the tower also show evidence of some damage, Templeton said.
As a precautionary measure propping is being installed to support Level 4 which WSP says will be completed by the end of the day.
Further investigations to discover the cause of the building's problems are ongoing.
NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts says he's told the developer and the builder to spare no expense in looking after the welfare of the Opal Tower residents who have been living in temporary accommodation while investigations are underway.
Three residents have refused to leave their homes, with Mr Roberts insisting they aren't impacted by the building's problems.
Some residents were told by the developer they need to be moved from their temporary hotel accommodation over New Year's Eve as their rooms had been previously booked for the celebrations.
The building fiasco has put the NSW government under scrutiny with Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean on Sunday announcing a crackdown on "cowboy" certifiers to address the public's concern about the state's building certification process.
Under the new strategy, 30 per cent of the industry will be audited every year and corrupt certifiers or ones who are negligently signing off on unsafe buildings will be kicked out of the industry.
Any certifiers who have breached the code of conduct in the previous 12 months will also be unable to work on new strata developments. The tower is now subject to an internal and governmental investigation.