A number of evacuated residents from Sydney’s cracked Opal Tower will have to move yet again on New Year’s Eve.
One week after they were forced out of the building on Christmas Eve, numerous residents will be pushed out of their current temporary accommodation because hotels have been booked out for New Year’s celebrations, the building developer said.
The first evacuation was prompted by loud cracking noises heard by residents who called emergency services.
Most had moved back in to the Sydney Olympic Park building when on Thursday they were told by the developers the entire tower would need to be emptied so their investigations could continue for at least 10 days.
“A small number of residents may have to move again on New Year’s Eve because some hotels were already fully booked,” building developer Ecove said in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
“We realise this is another nuisance for those impacted, and sincerely apologise to them.”
Meanwhile, some residents have refused to leave their homes despite being asked by Ecove to move out, prompting the NSW government to request an urgent update on the investigation.
The builder, Icon, has been trying to confirm whether they remained on the premises on Saturday.
A spokesman for the NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts on Friday said he was “seeking an urgent update from the developer” about the status of the residents remaining in the tower, and what “ramifications” that had on the investigation.
In its statement, Ecove also hit back at public arguments the construction boom affected quality control.
“This is not true for Ecove, including this project. This building took two years and 11 months, which is beyond industry standards,” Ecove said.
“Icon [the builder] has independently said they were not under undue pressure to complete.”
The state government, which has been criticised by Opposition Leader Michael Daley for being slow to act on the problem, on Friday appointed an independent panel of engineering experts to investigate the tower.
Two independent engineers will investigate the pre-cast concrete construction method used in the construction.
This investigation will run concurrently with the developer’s own investigation.