Toplace said in a statement that it had received expert technical advice rejecting the report by the structural engineer hired by the owners’ corporation.
The developer said its experts had found that “assumptions and information” in the report were “plainly wrong” and had resulted in “incorrect conclusions”.
The concerns about the Canterbury complex are a blow to NSW government attempts to boost public confidence in apartments, following Sydney’s Mascot and Opal towers debacles, which sparked a NSW parliamentary inquiry into construction standards and law changes.
The structural engineer from Rothshire, who was commissioned by the owner’s corporation, said in his report that he had “lost confidence in the building structural safety” during investigations of the Vicinity site.
The engineer said in his report that he had concerns about the risk of collapse for the tallest building following a recent 5.9-magnitude earthquake in Victoria.
He also warned that he had “witnessed extensive dilapidation of a young building” over the past two years, and one that he believed had “serious structural issues”.
Owner Corrie Ford, 32, and her partner, 36, have packed half their possessions in their unit in case they are forced to evacuate following the meeting of engineers on Wednesday afternoon.
“We don’t feel safe and comfortable in our own home anymore,” she said. “It’s very stressful. It seems like everything that is wrong with the building has coalesced into this.”
The couple bought a two-bedroom apartment in the tallest building in the complex for $738,000 in 2018. “We took a risk buying into a new apartment, but we didn’t realise it would be this kind of risk,” Ms Ford said. “I’ve never been in this situation before.”
Ms Ford said their life had turned into a nightmare as they feared they would be unable to sell their unit, and were concerned that “Band-Aid solutions will be applied” and the building would be uninhabitable in the long term.
“We’ve got a situation where our structural engineer has outlined that he has a serious concern about the structural stability of at least one of the buildings in the complex, and also serious concerns about the structural stability of the slab [over the basement car park],” she said.
About 50 owners who attended an annual meeting last Wednesday were told about the findings of the report.
Ms Ford said owners had been told informally that the building might have to be evacuated, which was a decision that would rest with government.
Building Commissioner David Chandler was approached for comment.
The concerns about the Canterbury complex come just months after Toplace agreed to provide $11 million in security to fix any future defects in a Castle Hill apartment complex, as well as agreeing to guarantee its structural integrity for the next two decades.
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