Bills caused by cracking in Sydney’s Opal Tower now exceed $37 million after a court settled a battle between the complex’s developer and builder.
Builder Icon Co has agreed to pay a subsidiary of developer Ecove $3.9 million in cash to cover some of the latter’s legal costs and “damages”.
All 392 apartments in the Olympic Park complex were returned to residents in December 2019, nearly one year after they were all evacuated due to fears the 36-floor tower would collapse.
Icon has already paid $31m repairing the building, including $2.5m in “direct rectification work” and $11m in relocation expenses for owners and tenants.
A NSW Supreme Court ruling on Friday showed Ecove’s subsidiary Australia Avenue Developments had “assessed” its bill from the cracking fallout to have reached $6.8m.
The bill includes “damages” from a loss in value of unsold apartments and legal costs accrued during an ongoing class action led by owners.
AAD advised Icon on February 4 it would call on Icon’s $3.9m bank guarantee to cover part of the bill.
Icon tried to stop the call in the Supreme Court but said, if that failed, it wanted to stump up $3.9m in cash.
That alternative was approved on Thursday.
Several cases over the maligned tower have been before the court since its completion in August 2018.
Opal unit owners in July lodged a class-action lawsuit against the Sydney Olympic Park Authority which owns the land on which the complex was built. SOPA joined Icon, AAD and Ecove as cross-defendants in those proceedings, which return to court on April 17.
Icon’s subcontractor, building designer WSP Structures, and Evolution Precast Systems have also been added as cross-defendants.
AAD is separately suing Icon over what it says is a breach of contract and misleading or deceptive conduct. Icon has cross-claimed against WSP.
In both cases, Icon says cracking was caused by defects in the design prepared by WSP, which itself blames Evolution and Icon.
A NSW government-commissioned report found critical support beams in the tower were left susceptible to “bursting” because they were under-designed and made from lower-strength concrete.
Ecove and AAD are fully owned and controlled by Sydney man Bassam Aflak.
Icon Co is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Kajima Corporation.