Five days after residents were evacuated from a structurally damaged Sydney building two levels of government have had no word from the developers of the complex/.
Mascot Towers, in the city’s south, was evacuated on Friday night with engineers concerned about cracks in the primary support structure and facade masonry of the 10-year-old building on Bourke Street.
Almost a week after the incident, Bayside Council has yet to retrieve the original development application, lodged in 2003, from an off-site storage facility.
However, subsequent development approvals for the building list Krikis Tayler Architects and construction company J & B Elias as applicants.
A spokesman for NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said the state government was still uncertain who was responsible for building the unit complex.
However, he stressed the state was not responsible for certifying the building.
A spokeswoman for Bayside Council said it had also not contacted the site’s builder as the issue was a “matter for the engineers engaged by the Strata Company and Building Manager.”
The building’s owners corporation on Wednesday invited Premier Gladys Berejiklian to attend a meeting between residents, owners, building experts and government officials on Thursday night.
Strata Choice senior strata manager Jeffrey Faull has written to Ms Berejiklian also asking the government to “provide some form of assistance, given the unusual circumstances involved in this issue”.
There is “real and genuine hardship” relating to the evacuation of the complex and the owner’s corporation is exploring “every avenue to assist both owners and residents in these most difficult of times”, the letter says.
Ms Berejiklian says the government is looking at whether there are any flaws in the system that led to the situation.
Residents in about half the 122 units considered partly accessible have been told they can return to collect personal items under escort.
All of the other units fall in the non-accessible zone and cannot be entered, along with car parks, recreational areas and some businesses.
A document from strata management company Strata Choice reveals they will need to pay a special levy of $1.1 million or thousands of dollars per unit by August 1.
The costs, without GST, include $254,000 for propping, $250,000 for engineering, $176,000 in legal fees, $100,000 (estimated) for the evacuation, $70,000 for new carpets, $5000 for a media consultant and others.
While the root cause was to be determined, Ms Berejiklian reiterated the entire industry including buildings certifications and compliance measures would be overhauled. The government was also working overtime to install a building commissioner.
“I appreciate the frustration those residents are feeling but I also ask all owners corporations and building managers to step up and make sure they’re doing everything they have to according to the law,” she said.
The owners of 24 of the units say the chaos following the evacuation has put residents in “varying states of distress, not to mention extreme mental and financial duress”.
“We have to express our disappointment and dismay over which the evacuation was handled; there has been a shocking lack of leadership and emergency planning when this crisis happened,” they said in an email.
According to building management, a claim on the building’s insurance policy to fund temporary accommodation had been knocked back.