The NSW premier has called on strata and building managers to “step up” as distressed unit owners in a cracked Sydney building come to terms with the $1 million-plus bill for emergency repairs and other costs.
Mascot Towers, in the city’s south, was evacuated on Friday night after engineers became concerned about cracks in the primary support structure and facade masonry of the 10-year-old building on Bourke Street.
Residents in about half the 122 units considered partly accessible have since been told they can briefly return to collect personal items under escort.
All of the other units fall in the non-accessible zone and cannot be entered, along with car parks, recreational areas and some businesses.
A document from strata management company Strata Choice, advising owners of a meeting tomorrow, reveals they will need to pay a special levy of $1.1 million or thousands of dollars per unit by August 1.
The document breaks down costs, without GST, into $254,000 for propping, $250,000 for engineering, $176,000 for legal fees, $100,000 for the estimated cost of the evacuation, $70,000 for new carpets, $5000 for a media consultant and others.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government was looking at whether there were any flaws in the system that has led to the situation.
While the root cause was to be determined, she reiterated the entire industry – including the way buildings were certified and compliance measures – will be overhauled, with legislation to be passed by the end of the year.
The government was also working “overtime” to install a building commissioner, Ms Berejiklian said today.
“I appreciate the frustration those residents are feeling but I also ask all owners corporations and building managers to step up and make sure they’re doing everything they have to according to the law.”
Her comments came after the owners of 24 units within Mascot Towers yesterday wrote to the management of their building to demand further access to the building and information from engineers.
They said the “chaos” following the evacuation has put residents in “varying states of distress, not to mention extreme mental and financial duress”.
“We have to express our disappointment and dismay over which the evacuation was handled; there has been a shocking lack of leadership and emergency planning when this crisis happened,” the email said.
An update from building management on Monday night reiterated that a claim on the building’s insurance policy to fund temporary accommodation had been knocked back.
It’s been reported the building is too old for warranty cover.
Residents and owners are scheduled to meet with experts and government officials on tomorrow night.