Opal Tower residents have filed legal proceedings against the NSW state government to fix the “cracks of the building industry” after finding 500 new defects.
They want the state government to pay their $1 million insurance premium, reform the industry and protect owners of other developments in the future.
Construction of Opal Tower was completed in August 2018 with a value of $165 million and was evacuated on Christmas Eve 2018 after cracks in precast concrete were found.
Last year, builder Icon paid to repair the building and insurance fees before lodging a case against engineer WSP for the costs incurred.
The residents, however, would have to foot the exorbitant insurance fees this year, and felt trapped with an asset they could not borrow against or sell.
They are now turning to the state government and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA), who had previously blamed developer Ecove as well as the builder.
Opal Tower owners’ corporation chairman Shady Eskander said measures needed to be put in place to stop this from happening again, and when it did, to help the blameless owners.
“The government has turned a blind eye to the cries of families and individuals who are suffering,” Eskander said.
“It’s time to put an end to the concrete slums that are going up and the defects that are burying us owners in the ground.
“We have found our building is riddled with defects; here’s a list of what our experts have uncovered, there’s over 500 defects in this report.”
Eskander said the state government was actually the real developer behind the project and was the one to blame.
“The NSW state government has directly made millions from the sale of apartments in this development, and the minister for planning approved this development,” the chairman said.
“SOPA’s focus has been to achieve targets for the state and itself, it has gained a very valuable asset in the ownership of a childcare centre at Opal as well as numerous lots within the tower itself.”
This latest legal proceeding was separate to the class-action lawsuit filed last year for compensation.
This builds upon mounting tension for industry reform after new legislation was passed in June as a result of the evacuation of Opal Tower as well as Mascot Tower.
The Mascot Tower owners were facing a similar battle and were pushing a collective sale of the troubled Sydney building.