Mascot’s faulty towers closed off after new cracks found

 

Sydney's troubled Mascot Towers will be closed to owners and residents from tomorrow to enable urgent remediation works to commence.

The works are needed to avoid a "structural failure" with engineers discovering existing cracks have widened and new cracking has developed in part of the building.

The latest update to owners and residents - seen by The Daily Telegraph - reveals structural engineers have observed new and worsened cracking "in or around" the northeastern transfer beam "at all basement parking levels".

Engineers have discovered new cracking at Mascot Towers. Picture: AAP
Engineers have discovered new cracking at Mascot Towers. Picture: AAP

They also found "increased cracking" to the basement footing slab, which supports the towers.

"Remediation of the bearing capacity of the soil underneath the slab is now required on an urgent basis so as to avoid a structural failure in the North-Eastern Tower 1 corner," owners and residents were told yesterday.

A spokesman for the Owners Corporation today said engineers were confident the cracking does not yet indicate the building is unsafe but "it could get to that point if immediate steps aren't taken to improve the bearing capacity of the soil supporting the slab".

They said an engineering plan was in place to meet all contingencies following above and below the ground testing and that cracking was being closely monitored.

"The building will be closed to owners as of Thursday so that remediation can commence without any impairments," the spokesman said.

Most of the cracking ranged between 0.2mm and 0.5mm in width, according to advice from a structural engineer who warned the structure would be "deemed unsafe" once it reaches 0.8mm.

Residents leaving the evacuated Mascot Towers. Picture: Jane Dempster.
Residents leaving the evacuated Mascot Towers. Picture: Jane Dempster.

They also stressed the ability of basement slab to provide ongoing support is "now considered significantly compromised".

Engineering consultants also blamed the new neighbouring Peak Towers development for causing issues at the decade-old Mascot Towers, which was evacuated in June when cracks appeared.

They found waterproofing systems used to excavate the basement levels of the Peak Towers building "likely caused the erosion of fine particles and the destabilisation of land supporting Mascot Towers".

Both buildings sit above the Botany Sands aquifer, meaning there is shallow groundwater.

The decade-old Mascot Towerswas evacuated
The decade-old Mascot Towerswas evacuated

"In some locations, there has been a significant loss of soil bearing capacity (ie the creation of voids/zones of very loose sand substrata) as compared to tests undertaken prior to construction," the update stated.

Cracking in transfer beams and the basement slab was said to be of "significant concern" and coupled with the weakened soil "could lead to deficiencies in the structural capacity of the beams to support the building loads".

Scaffolding at the Mascot Towers site. Picture: AAP
Scaffolding at the Mascot Towers site. Picture: AAP

The independent Natural Resources Access Regulator has also indicated the "dewatering" of the Peak Towers basement recently ceased which "coincided with a rise in groundwater levels near Mascot Towers", according to the update.

Peak Towers developer ALAND has previously rejected speculation its construction work led to cracking at Mascot Towers, insisting the problems have been known for a number of years.

ALAND has been contacted for comment.

Owners are facing massive levies of up to $14,000 a month to fix cracks in the defective building after agreeing to raise a special levy worth $7 million for stage one of rectification works.

Labor's building spokeswoman Yasmin Catley said a low-interest loan from the government was "crucial in ensuring rectification works start before summer, to ensure stabilisation of the building".

"Building engineers have said rectification works must start immediately," she said.

"The Liberals can't keep ignoring the victims of this crisis."

in June when cracks appeared.
in June when cracks appeared.


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