The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Tuesday, 18 June 2019 01:00cat

Intense cracking in Sydney's building - Concerns for Australia's building codes

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Sydney's Mascot Towers Sydney's Mascot Towers

After Opal's tower incident, a second building in Sydney suffered critical damage due to cracking raising concerns about Australia's building codes.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from Sydney's Mascot Towers after cracks emerged in some of the building's beams. The 10-story structure contains 122 apartments. 64 of the 122 apartments may be temporarily accessed by people escorted by a state's official to collect personal stuff. Residents will be accommodated in a shelter that was established at Mascot Town Hall.

The building was constructed about 10 years ago. The incident occurred after Opal tower, a 38-story building in Sydney Olympic Park, was also evacuated due to cracking in its framework. Evaluating the tower's structure, engineers found "design and construction issues".

Officials are currently inspecting the building to evaluate its integrity and record potential displacements using monitoring equipment. According to a police spokesman, there is no risk of a total collapse. "At this stage, the engineers need to look at the cracks in those beams while the residents aren't there. Then they can do an analysis on whether there have been any movements," a state assistant from Fire and Rescue New South Wales (NSW) Agency, stated.

According to Adam Dewberry, NSW Fire and Rescue superintendent, repairing the damage will not be an easy task as the phenomenon is complex and is still evolving. Therefore, it's not certain whether the residents will return to their homes. "It will be a process. It won't be a simple fix, it will be very methodical," Mr. Dewberry said.

Opal's tower cracking was an alert but the current incident indicates that severe changes must be implemented in Australia's building regulations. "It is symptomatic of a much greater problem - a building regulatory system that is failing across Australia," Brett Mace, chief executive of the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, said.



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