Watchdog to probe Melbourne developments built by 'cracked' Opal tower construction company

Victoria's building watchdog said it is reviewing projects by construction company Icon in Melbourne.

The Opal Tower.

The Opal Tower. Source: Icon

Victoria's building watchdog is investigating Melbourne projects developed by the construction company responsible for Sydney's 'cracked' Opal Tower.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has begun a review into a number of projects by Icon in Melbourne including a $250 million high-rise in Docklands nearing completion. 

"A review of these building permits is expected to take around four weeks and the focus will depend on the stage of the project, which may range from early permit stage or under construction," a VBA spokesperson said in a statement.

"The safety of building occupants is our top priority."

Melbourne developer Capital Alliance are pushing ahead with the first Marriott to be built in Australia in two decades.
Source: Capital Alliance

Icon’s other projects in Melbourne include student accommodation, an office block in Richmond and apartment complexes in South Yarra and Abbotsford. 

Icon managing director Nick Brown said he had yet to be officially informed of the review, but would cooperate with any investigation. 

“All of our builds in Victoria have been through dual structural certification and are safe for occupation," he told the Herald Sun. 

Developer Capital Alliance, which is behind the The Docklands apartment, said it supported Icon. 

Capital All­iance founder Mohan Du said he felt confident in the stringency of Victoria's building regulations. 

"I still think Icon will deliver a landmark building, as they have done in the past and will continue to do in the future," he told the Herald Sun.

The investigation by the VBA comes as construction company Icon defended emptying out apartments in Opal Tower in Sydney Olympic Park. 

Residents claim that their belongings were tossed aside and locks changed during building inspections.

Living in temporary accommodation for nearly two weeks, a number of residents say they weren't notified before their possessions were shifted, ceilings ripped apart and fridges emptied.

Icon said residents have been updated on their progress with fortifying the structural integrity of the building after 'cracking' noises were heard on the 10th floor of the 34-storey building on Christmas Eve.

"That was their request and they were to communicate with residents," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

"No locks have been removed, however some were damaged by emergency services."

'Cracked' Opal Tower builder Icon apologises to residents

Fridges were cleared out in the interests of residents as power had to be isolated and insurance claims for the cost of those goods can be made immediately, Icon said.

The newly-built Opal Tower was evacuated on Christmas Eve after cracks found in the building sparked fears it would collapse.

That fear has subsided but a preliminary independent investigation has found a number of design and construction issues.

A final report is due on Friday.

- with AAP

Published 6 January 2019 at 1:08pm, updated 6 January 2019 at 2:36pm
Source: SBS News