Sydney Opal Tower incident an isolated case

By Kay Rivera | 26 Feb 2019

The cracked Opal Tower in Sydney is overall structurally sound but had numerous design and construction flaws such as the crucial support beams, which were prone to bursting, according to the final report on the building released on Friday.

The findings came two months after a loud cracking sound was heard by the residents, which prompted them to evacuate from the newly-built tower.

In a report by The Sydney Morning Herald, it was revealed that modifications made after the initial design for the project led to some joints between the hob beams and panels inside the building being only partially grouted.

That substantially increased the amount of stress in the beams on levels four, 10, 16 and 26 of the 36-storey tower. In addition, the investigation found that the visible cracking to a concrete panel and floor slab on level 10 of the building was likely caused by a nearby faulty beam.

Despite the faults that were found, David Bare, Housing Industry Association executive director NSW, highlighted the assurance given by the professors of engineering whom the NSW government commissioned to complete an investigation into the structural issues at Opal Tower.

The professionals said that the Opal Tower fiasco was a very rare occurrence and they trust the strength of the National Construction Code and Australian building standards in terms of building safety.

“This is an important point. It underscores that we can have confidence in the integrity of the vast majority of buildings constructed,” Bare said.

The final report makes several recommendations to avoid a similar situation occurring in the future, including measures that focus on greater accountability for professionals involved with the design of buildings.

“HIA supports the registration of engineers, independent third-party review of certain key parts of building designs and critical stage inspections for major construction projects. It should also be noted that most of the recommendations made overlap recommendations made by Professor Shergold and Bronwyn Weir in the Building Confidence report released in 2018,” said Bare.

The NSW government has also committed to implementing most of the recommendations.

 

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