Opal Tower Revealed

The Opal Tower saga was the biggest talking point in the development industry throughout the first quarter of 2019. The displacement of residents over the Christmas period and a seemingly doomed building structure provided headlines that caused a stir throughout Australia’s residential scene, while builder Icon constructions were scrutinised for their involvement within the project. More recently news on the building has lulled in waiting for the final report findings.

As of last month, the real reasons were released, with specialist engineers certifying that the building was structurally sound and ruling out unstable footings and extreme weather. What has arisen from the report, is the identification of design issues that led to faults in the building’s load bearing capacities.

Various load bearing hob beams that run throughout the floor structure of level 10 were found to be smaller in diameter than what has been recommended by engineers, which lead to an incapacity to hold tension caused when building. For those of you who want that in English, the below graph gives an understanding of the issue.

So, there we have it, the beam that sent shock waves around the nation.

Although those invested in the building will have felt the impact on the value of their property, the repercussions of the incident will pave the way for major changes which will in the end benefit all property investors. Major recommendations include:

  • The creation of a database of government-registered engineers, developed jointly by a professional body;
  • The creation of a database of all certifications that can be viewed by a wide range of stakeholders, including owners and prospective owners, which can be accessed before, during and after construction to increase transparency;
  • Checking and certification by an independent third-party registered engineer of engineering designs and any additional changes to critical components;
  • On-site checking and certification during the critical stage of constructions by a registered engineer that construction is being followed to the plan; and
  • Forming a building structure review board to investigate structural damage in buildings due to design and construction faults and recommend changes.

These changes are to create a safety net for the structural integrity of residential developments and provide transparency in the administration of our construction industry. The recommendations will likely be adopted throughout Australia’s development industry on a national level. Ultimately, reassuring investors they will receive quality in their future purchases.


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