A group of residents of an apartment complex in Canterbury, New South Wales, have taken out a loan to pay for the installation of temporary support columns to strengthen the building after an engineer raised concerns about structural integrity.
The development, titled Vicinity, comprises 276 apartments spread over three buildings. Toplace developers disagreed that supports were necessary, with residents opting against the developer’s position.
State government engineers recommended that the supports be put in place immediately. They cost $50,000 to install, with owners paying $135,000 a year to maintain them.
The building in question has been assessed by a structural engineer hired by the owners. The engineer found that if the supporting structures were not put in place, the potential collapse could severely damage the other two buildings in the complex. This in turn led the state government to undertake its own inspections, which recommended a transfer structure that equalizes weight loads.
“Behind the scenes, there seems to have been some recognition that there might be a safety issue with the building and shoring has been put in place to keep residents safe,” the owner said. apartment, Corrie Ford, at the Sydney Morning Herald.
Engineering firm Bright & Duggan has been appointed strata manager by an independent tribunal. General manager Chris Duggan said it was the owners’ decision to go for the safe option.
“We don’t take risks. We believe this is the responsibility of the developer. Toplace is ultimately the party that is responsible for the quality of the building. But we’re not going to wait for them to do that. We will try to recover the costs of the temporary shoring,” he says.
An independent engineer hired by Toplace came to the conclusion that immediate action was not necessary. No cracks were found on inspection, and following an underground radar scan, the developer advised that the owners’ request for immediate safety work was irrelevant.
The state government ordered Toplace to begin rectification work on the parking lot’s load-bearing walls earlier this year, which was the second time the developer had been hit with an order to rectify the issues. The owners filed a lawsuit against Toplace to compel the developer to cover the costs of the columns.