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(AUSTRALIA) NSW Parliamentary Inquiry Report: Hears the state’s building commissioner is investigating defects in three other apartment blocks constructed by the builder behind the beleaguered Opal Tower #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Nov.23: Mr Chandler said he was investigating defects in Lindfield Village at 23-41 Lindfield Avenue, the Avantra Apartments at 659-669 Gardeners Road, Mascot, and another apartment block at 1-31 Victoria Street in Roseville.

#AceDailyNews says according to an ABC News Report: NSW inquiry told three more Icon-built Sydney projects under investigation for alleged defects: The inquiry is looking into the state’s building regulations and heard from the state’s Building Commissioner, David Chandler on Monday” We are currently in the process of applying post-occupation certificate audits on these three projects,” Mr Chandler told the committee.

the outside of an apartment complex
The Icon-built Avantra Apartments in Mascot are being investigated by the state’s Building Commissioner.(Facebook: Avantra)

“In the event the defects are confirmed — and I’ve been out and had a look at these, and I have to tell you that I expect they will be— there will be orders placed on the developers of those projects because the [Residential Apartment Buildings] Act goes to the developer who engaged Icon.”

a man wearing a hard hat looking
Building Commissioner David Chandler says he has inspected the three sites and expects to confirm they have defects.(ABC News)

Mr Chandler told the parliamentary inquiry there was litigation afoot for all the projects and, collectively, the costs were in the millions.

“My urging to this company has been, ‘Why don’t you stop spending your money on litigation and go and fix the defects’?” he said.

A spokesperson for Icon said in a statement the company stood behind its projects and that it was working with owners’ corporations and residents to resolve any issues.

“While Icon is taking these matters seriously, it is important to note the matters identified by the Building Commissioner are not structural issues and we have already undertaken a number of steps to address them,” the statement read.

“We are continuing to engage directly with the owners and residents of the three buildings to accelerate the process.”

a block of apartments
The apartments on Victoria Street in Roseville are among the three sites under investigation.(Supplied)

‘More names than Scarlet Pimpernel’

Chair of the inquiry, Greens MLC David Shoebridge characterised the builder as “wrecking people’s financial lives through these defect-ridden buildings” and questioned if they were still allowed to operate.

Mr Chandler told the parliamentary inquiry he believed Icon was tendering for new work and they may have been chosen as preferred builder for an upcoming project.

“They’re now contracting under Icon SI Australia Pty Ltd at the moment, so they’re not contracting any new projects as Icon New South Wales,” Mr Chandler said.

“When we get to the bottom of this, there will be a couple of things we’ll make some recommendations about.

“I think the days of simply being able to buy a company out of a company and leave the shell behind is something we need to look at closing down.

“They simply closed down the statutory warranties by going into receivership. We should have a look at that.”

a block of apartments from the outside
Icon has denied involvement in the Otto 2 complex at Rosebery.(ABC News: Simon Amery)

Mr Chandler went onto say that Icon had a history of that kind of behaviour.

“This Icon company that went broke and [was] put into receivership last year was previously known as Icon Southern Cross Pty Ltd, Southern Cross Icon Pty Ltd and, ultimately, Icon Construction Australia Pty Ltd,” he told the inquiry.

“They’ve had more names than the Scarlet Pimpernel.”

Icon has previously denied involvement in a project called Otto 2 at 32-38 Rothschild Avenue, Rosebery.

Under parliamentary privilege, Mr Chandler said Icon had built the project but the developer would have to take responsibility for fixing any issues.

“The developer, Christian Life Centre, has had to step-up and take responsibility for the defects that are present in that project,” he told the inquiry.

“Unfortunately, they will also have to step-up and face the consequences because, just across the road, there is Otto One, which has similar defects in it, and I just haven’t got to that project because I wanted to deal with one and then deal with the other.”

a copy of a letter
Mr Chandler tabled the legal letter from Icon asking him to abandon any plans to make a report to ASIC. (Supplied)
a man wearing glasses looking
Inquiry chair David Shoebridge described the letter from the builder as a “thuggish communication”.(ABC News)

In their statement, the Icon spokesperson said Mr Chandler was conflating “old projects built by a company Kajima [Icon’s parent company] did not buy, with projects built by the existing Icon business”.

Mr Chandler also said Icon’s legal representatives had sent him a deed, accompanied by a letter threatening to take him to court if he didn’t agree to relinquish any ability to refer them to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) over the Otto 2 development.

“The moment I got this I just said, ‘You are joking’,” Mr Chandler told the inquiry, referring to the letter.

“It came with a covering letter that [said], unless I agreed to enter into this they’d be taking the matter to the Supreme Court the following Tuesday at 5 o’clock.

“I said, ‘Good luck with that. I’ll see you in the Supreme Court if you wish to get an injunction and they’ve withdrawn in that matter’.”

Upon reading the deed, Mr Shoebridge described it as a “thuggish communication”.

the outside of a big tower building
Builder Icon is also behind the Opal Tower, which had to be evacuated in 2018 due to cracks.(ABC News: Nick Sas
)

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Nov.23: 2021:

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