‘This is going to happen again’: Opal Tower chair’s warning

EXCLUSIVE: The chairman of the owner's corporation at Opal Tower has warned the incident at Mascot Towers 'won't be the last' unless the NSW government changes the law to better protect the rights of apartment owners.

It comes as new figures show 155 out of 392 units at the 36-storey Sydney Olympic Park tower are still unable to be reoccupied six months after cracking appeared on Christmas Eve, sparking the evacuation of about 300 residents.

Residents from 14 more apartments were given the green light to move back into their homes last Wednesday following the completion of remedial works to sky garden on level 4, according to the latest update from builder Icon.

"We anticipate the next release of apartments to be within the month of June," the update read.

Chair of the building's body corporate Shady Eskander is worried that it's only a matter of time before someone is injured, warning the incident at Mascot Towers "won't be the last".

(L-R) Professor John Carter, Professor Mark Hoffman, NSW Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts, Chairman of the Opal Tower body corporate Shady Eskander at an Opal Tower press conference. Picture: AAP
(L-R) Professor John Carter, Professor Mark Hoffman, NSW Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts, Chairman of the Opal Tower body corporate Shady Eskander at an Opal Tower press conference. Picture: AAP

"I expected that Opal Tower would not be the only building that would see major defects structurally. You can't have an industry that has gone the way it has and have one isolated issue," Mr Eskander told The Daily Telegraph.

"This is going to occur again - I just pray that no one actually gets hurt in order for something to change.

"There's been that much work, there's been a shortage almost of people to build these things and when there's a shortage you end up employing people with not as much experience."

Mr Eskander said the NSW government should look at inserting clauses into contracts that allow purchasers to get a refund if building defects occur.

Opal Tower owner’s corporation chair Shady Eskander is urging the NSW government to strengthen strata legislation. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Opal Tower owner’s corporation chair Shady Eskander is urging the NSW government to strengthen strata legislation. Picture: Dylan Robinson

He argued this would give developers, builders and engineers an incentive to double check their work.

"If you place those clauses in the contract you watch how the building industry will be creating buildings that don't have defects because for a hundred thousand dollars, why would you risk millions in contracts being returned?" Mr Eskander said.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday acknowledged the government needed to "do more" to strengthen strata legislation.

"It's an ongoing work in progress for us," she added.

The NSW government is in the process of appointing a Building Commissioner which will be responsible for auditing people who work in the industry.



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