The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Tuesday, 08 January 2019 01:00cat

Opal Tower in Sydney evacuated: Fear of collapse

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Opal Tower Sydney Olympic Park Opal Tower Sydney Olympic Park

The 36-story Opal Tower, located in Sydney's Olympic Park, was evacuated on Christmas Eve after reports for severe cracking.

More than 3,000 people living in or near the facility had to abandon their homes. Residents reported hearing intense sounds deriving from the cracking during the morning. Most noises were heard on the 10th floor.

Emergency crews, including firefighters and engineers, inspected the building to evaluate the risk of a collapse. Sensitive monitoring equipment was utilized to find that the building has moved by 1-2 millimeters since August. 

A resident of the building reported cracks on the 12th and 13th floor. "A few days ago the doors looked different, like they couldn't close properly. And you do feel (movement) sometimes when there's strong wind," he stated.

Some hours after the investigation, the building, except for 51 units, was re-opened. People, escorted by rescue teams, were able to return and recover necessary stuff. However, on Thursday, December 27, 2018, ICON, the construction company announced that all residents must leave the construction in order to perform another detailed investigation. People will stay at a hotel for about 10 days. 

Mark Hoffman, University of NSW dean of engineering and John Carter, former University of Newcastle dean of engineering, will lead the investigation to determine the causes of the cracking. A public report that will include suggestions to ensure the safety of the building will be issued.



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