Christmas dashed for residents of Sydney 'cracking' tower

Minnie Murray
December 27, 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that residents have been evacuated after loud "cracking noises" were heard coming from the building.

Heavy equipment reportedly had to be used by the police to force open doors to allow residents to escape. "A few days ago the doors looked different, like they couldn't close properly".

Meriton, the operator of the neighboring building, said in an email sent out to residents that there was "potential for the tower to collapse".

A statement from NSW Police declared that the residents of apartments deemed unsafe were "escorted back to gather their belongings and have made their own arrangements for accommodation".

About 3,000 people from inside the tower and in nearby buildings were told to leave late Monday (Dec 24), with engineers investigating after the apartment complex moved "one or two millimetres".

A 1km (0.6 mile) evacuation zone, which also affected other buildings, was put in place amid safety fears.


"Hopefully it won't take longer than hours", Fire and Rescue Acting Inspector Greg Wright said of the investigation. They were not allowed back into their homes but were sent to an evacuation centre in central Sydney-the Royal Hall of Industries.

Wright said on December 24 FRNSW was using "laser building movement monitors" to check for any further movement.

The Opal Tower, which was completed earlier this year, was described by developer Ecove when the design was first unveiled as "a curvaceous, triangular-shaped building with green walls of living plants embedded into the façade, and elevated communal courtyards every five levels". "And you do feel [movement] sometimes when there's strong wind".

The website for the Opal Tower says the building has 392 apartments, commercial spaces, a childcare centre and community centre.

The 36-story high-rise building was evacuated over concerns over structural instability.

The building was only completed in March and opened in August, and cost $165 million to build by developer Ecove, which built numerous others nearby.

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