A third Sydney apartment block is under scrutiny after it was revealed some of its residents were evacuated from apartments considered “unsafe and unfit for occupation.”
About 30 units at 19 Gadigal Avenue in Zetland, in Sydney’s inner south, were evacuated by the building owners in late 2018, according to City of Sydney.
Council staff who inspected the building in February found part of the building vacant with extensive and severe water damage.
“The water protection system in the building has failed which has led to a lot of water getting into the building and caused structural damage, particularly damage to walls that separate the different apartments,” City of Sydney’s executive development manager Andrew Thomas told reporters on July 10.
“So the building is unsafe and unfit for occupation.”
The council didn’t know exactly when the building was evacuated and wasn’t aware of the support being given to affected residents.
“We’ve been advised by the building owners that they’re taking advice to find out the nature of the fault and what rectification works need to be made,” he said.
Thomas said the City of Sydney did not have concerns for other residents on the Zetland block, who are located on the lower floors but within a different allotment.
The revelation follows the evacuation of Sydney Olympic Park’s Opal Tower on Christmas Eve and the Mascot Towers in June as the NSW government scrambles to overhaul building standards.
Owners Corporation Network spokesman Stephen Goddard is concerned about the spate of evacuations and the possibility of more.
“We now have an ever-growing group of people who are homeless until such time as their homes are capable of being re-occupied, which can be a period of time between six months and two years,” he told AAP on Wednesday.
The minister responsible for building regulation Kevin Anderson is looking at reforms to the industry, with the government releasing a discussion paper in June.
The consultation period closes at the end of July and Anderson on Wednesday urged the public to comment on the policy which would ultimately form legislation.
The state government has also committed to appointing a building commissioner.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday said she wanted to assure the public that the government knew there was a problem around building regulations.
“We know there’s a gap in legislation. We allowed the industry to self-regulate and it hasn’t worked,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
“There are too many challenges, too many problems and that’s why the government’s moving to legislate.”
Goddard said the proposed reforms were “right and proper,” including the appointment of a commissioner to oversee the industry.
He believes the highly-publicised evacuations of the Opal and Mascot Towers buildings had affected consumer confidence with numerous prospective buyers contacting him for advice.
“People now understand that they now have more consumer protection buying a refrigerator than a million-dollar apartment,” he said.
Opposition leader Jodi McKay said NSW Labor didn’t oppose the government taking time to consult on legislation, but wanted to know when the building commissioner would be in place.