Australia

Builder faces angry Opal tower owners

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The builder of Sydney's cracked Opal Tower has met with angry owners as expert reports dispute whether it is safe for residents to return home.

The first official meeting between owners from Sydney's cracked Opal Tower and its builder was a heated affair that lasted more than three hours, a resident says.

Angry owners have demanded answers from Icon, the builder of the new Sydney Olympic Park tower, as questions remain over whether the building is safe to be reoccupied after cracks were found on Christmas Eve.

 

Some residents return to the Opal Tower.
Some residents return to the Opal Tower.
SBS

Despite being told most people could return home, one resident says they haven't received any written approval and "it's not officially safe to move back in".

A fiery meeting on Saturday afternoon went on for more than three hours, as owners were given their first chance to properly question Icon since the tower was evacuated on December 24.

Icon has extended its reimbursement timeline, for costs associated with residents' displacement, until Wednesday, but one resident told AAP there's a good chance this will be extended again.

 

While two engineering experts, commissioned by the state government to investigate the tower, have said the building is structurally sound, engineers contracted by the body corporate said it was "reluctant to recommend that residents return at an early stage".

The building's strata committee has urged residents not to move back in until all experts looking into the Opal issues state in writing that it is safe to do so.

As confusion continued over their return home, owners took one step closer towards mounting a class action after receiving a quote from Maurice Blackburn lawyers.

 

Opal Tower.
Opal Tower.
SBS

The law firm has confirmed if the case proceeds they plan to run on a "no win no fee" basis, and if residents are successful they will have around $6.2 million deducted for legal costs.

"These cases are difficult, often take several years to resolve, and are against powerful and rich defendants who use top tier and expensive law firms," a spokeswoman said.

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