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a ceiling with a hole running along it

The NSW Building Commissioner says he will refer the principal engineers involved in a large Sydney residential development where “structural issues” were found to the industry’s peak body.

Key points:

  • The Building Commissioner says he will refer the matter to Engineers Australia
  • A spokesperson for the project’s developer, Toplace, says the building has been deemed safe
  • Two of the five towers are almost finished 

ABC News yesterday revealed construction at developer Toplace Group’s Skyview apartment complex, which is being built at Castle Hill, was under review.

A team of inspectors from NSW Fair Trading has also reported finding “the existence of structural issues that would require specialist engineering advice” in the basement of two of the five proposed towers, following a separate inspection.

When complete, Skyview will include about 960 “luxurious” one, two and three bedroom apartments, across five towers reaching up to 24 storeys.

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler said he intended to refer engineers originally involved in the project to Engineers Australia, which governs the industry.

“I’m interested in, what was the design, what was the supervision of the construction, because all of that happened before this matter threw itself up as being an issue,” he said.

“I want to understand what that is because I think it’s time that engineers became accountable to do their job.

“In this matter, it’s my intention to refer this to Engineers Australia and ask them to look at the role of their member in this circumstance.”

A spokeswoman for Engineers Australia said complaints about its members were taken seriously.

“Engineers Australia’s ability to sanction engineers is limited only to those who are current members of Engineers Australia and who are found by our Professional Conduct Committee to be engaging in unacceptable practice [such as acting in breach of Engineers Australia’s Code of Ethics],” she said. 

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler stands outside with trees in the background.
NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler

Toplace provided ABC News with a tour of its basement to showcase remediation work completed at the site over the 12 months to February, which included a series of metal plates bolted between concrete slabs.

A company spokesman said it was inspected and approved by its engineering contractors at the time.

“Continued inspections and monitoring occurred and first physical works occurred mid-2020,” he said.

“This is well documented and we are able to provide that documentation. 

“Sign-off has been provided by the relevant authorised consultants/contractors for all elements of the site without issue. 

“On that basis there are no issues across the site.”

two buildings next to each other
Toplace Group denies the allegations and says it has faith in its construction.

Toplace has said it has “absolutely faith” in its buildings and apart from minor aesthetic issues, the complex is free from defects.

The development is currently under review as ordered by its third private certifier, City Plan Services, which was appointed in March, after its first certifier was deregistered and its second resigned.

Upon appointment, City Plan Services informed the NSW Building Commissioner it had concerns about previous certification work but had reached an understanding with the developer that the previous work would be thoroughly reviewed by an additional engineering firm.

Mr Chandler said he would also monitor that closely.

“It is a matter of public interest that this report is called in and reviewed by me,” he said.

“I’m going to call that report in, I’m going to review it and I am engaging an independent advisor to help me because I’m not an engineer.

“So I will be taking independent advice to look at that report so I can feel confident on behalf of the consumers in the market place that this building is ready to go to an occupation certificate.” 

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