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WSP investigates cracks in evacuated Sydney tower

Opal tower wsp 3to2

Investigating engineer WSP has said the newly completed, 117m high, 36 storey Opal Tower in Sydney is “structurally sound overall”, after cracks found in its structure forced the evacuation of its residents on Christmas Eve.

Residents of the tower were evacuated on 24 December after fears that the tower could collapse were raised when cracks in a pre-cast panel developed on the tenth floor.

Further cracks were discovered on level four of the A$165M (£91M) tower, which was completed in August last year.

WSP president and chief executive Australia & New Zealand Guy Templeton said: “We have found no other areas of damage to the extent of that in one part of level 10.

“There are fewer than 20 parts of the building with a similar configuration to the connection between pre-fabricated and in-situ poured concrete that was damaged on Level 10. Two of these areas, both on level four, show evidence of some but lesser damage.”

Opal tower cracking

Opal Tower cracking found on tenth floor

The primarily residential tower was built by contractor Icon.

WSP said props were now being installed by Icon to support level four as a precautionary measure.

The tower was built on the Olympic park on land previously used as a stormwater corridor for the outfall of water from the Olympic site. Icon said early works on the site included extensive storm water civil works to relocate the facility before the bulk excavation of 61,000m3 of material for the tower’s three storey basement could be built.

Evacuated residents will now be allowed back into their flats under a “progressive reoccupation” of the building. However WSP said units that are in the vicinity of required repairs, or are obstructed by propping, would not be able to be occupied until repairs were complete.

The cause of the damage has not yet been established and WSP said there would be further investigative testing in relevant parts of the building.

New Civil Engineer has contacted Icon for a response.

03/01/19 update: Bonacci Group was not the structural engineer for the project. 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Philip Alexander

    I'm sure that WSP will come up with the stunning conclusion that the Quality Assurance and self certification paperwork is perfect! Unfortunately, these days that does NOT ensure that the design and construction is adequate. There is so much opportunity for suppliers, builders, tradies and just about everyone involved in the construction process to cut corners because there is no overall engineering supervision anymore.
    I feel sorry for the owners of the apartments whose asset is now worthless, no matter what assurances are given that it's a localised problem which can be fixed. There is a history in Australia of developers and builders blaming each other (or even going bust) to avoid paying for repairs and compensation to the owners.

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