All Opal Tower residents have been cleared to return to the Sydney apartment building which was evacuated almost 12 months ago after cracking was discovered in the walls.
Builder Icon on Wednesday confirmed all 392 apartments at the Olympic Park complex had been returned to residents who were evacuated last Christmas Eve over fears the building could collapse.
A NSW government-commissioned report in February found critical support beams in the tower were left susceptible to “bursting” because they were under-designed and made from lower-strength concrete.
Icon said rectification work on the building had cost more than $13 million, while relocation expenses for owners and tenants had cost $11 million. The company has spent about $31 million repairing the building.
Additional enhancement works – including on shared hallways and the building’s external facade – would not be completed until March.
“While today marks a significant milestone, we recognise the inconvenience and co-operation of owners and tenants over the past year and are grateful for their assistance,” Icon managing director Nicholas Brown said in a statement on Wednesday.
The company said it would offer an extended 20-year structural warranty on the rectification work undertaken on the tower.
Opal unit owners in July lodged a class-action lawsuit against the Sydney Olympic Park Authority which owns the land on which the complex was built.
Cross-claims were subsequently filed by the Olympic Park Authority against Icon, developer Ecove and Australia Avenue Developments.
Icon alleges that cracking on Opal Tower was prompted by design failures – rather than any issues with the construction process – and the builder has launched a own cross-claim against engineer WSP Structures.
The matter will return to the NSW Supreme Court in February with WSP expected to file its own cross-claims before that date.