David Chandler, the NSW Building Commissioner, sent an order to stop the issuance of an occupation certification to a Sydney residential apartment complex. This intervention occurred after he confirmed the extensive signs of cracking in its basement.
Toplace, a Sydney developer of the Castle Hill Skyview apartment complex, is set to include more than 900 apartments across five high-rise residential buildings on the said shared basement.
Last May 2021, an ABC investigation exposed a fair trading inspector after finding the structural issues at the development. David Chandler further monitored and reviewed the private certifier.
Two towers are still waiting for the final approval from a private certified to allow residents to move in, with another two buildings still under construction.
In an 11th-hour move, Mr. David Chandler issued a prohibition order to prevent the issuance of occupation certification. Unfortunately, this also means that those who have purchased the apartments will be prevented from moving in the future.
A spokeswoman for the NSW Building Commissioner said the agency was open to working with the company to resolve the issues completely. However, the company has been assured that they want to stand by their building and address the matters.
The NSW Fair Trading and the Office of the Building Commissioner will work with Toplace to formalise the undertaking and review the prohibition order. They remain hopeful of a positive outcome.
Last January, several NSW Parliament, and ABC news members received the construction industry insider photos of the Skyview basement regarding the concerns of construction work.
This occurred when City Plan Services, Skyview’s private certifier, commissioned Rincovitch Consultants, an external company, to review the complex after the first certifier was deregistered.
As per NSW law, a private certifier is responsible for the issuance o an occupation certificate to allow residents to reside in the building unless the commissioner takes place.
Mr. David Chandler said that NSW Fair Trading officers inspected the building last April 16 and found basement ground slabs showed extensive signs of cracking. It stated that basement slabs were not constructed in line with the structural engineers’ approved plans, and no ‘saw joints,’ also known as contraction joints, were installed in some sections.
The report also noted that the basement slabs are missing expansion joints in several locations causing major concrete spalling. Accordingly, the order also intervenes in the registration of a strata plan for the complex.
Mr. Chandler said the issuance was given after an in-depth review of the recent report commissioned by the development’s certifier.
The Land and Environment Court was given 30 days to appeal the order. The Hills Shire Council, which approved the development, has been informed.
Jean Nassif, the Sydney-based developer, is behind about a dozen major residential projects completed across New South Wales.
ABC News reported residents in a separate Toplace development in Parramatta pursued the company in the Supreme Court over a list of more than 40 defects discovered after settlement.
Toplace spokesman told ABC News remediation work was completed 3 months ago.
He said the company was confident it would pass the Commissioner’s standards in due course and maintains the remediation work complies with Australian building codes. Toplace assures that surety will be provided, and it will happen soonest. Once in place, he anticipates that the occupation certificate will be issued.
Mr. Jean Nassif has offered to guarantee the works. According to him, the remediation works are just minor issues. These have been inspected by three engineering and consulting firms and found compliant with the National Construction code performance requirements.
The critical sections were load tested in May 2021.