MORRIS CONSTRUCTION Refuses to Perform Emergency Work on Kingston Place Apartments

WITH concerns that it could cause further damage!

THE ACT Government was considering a developer-licensing scheme to ban “dodgy operators” from working in Canberra

Morris Construction refuses to perform emergency work on Kingston Place apartments

By Michael Inman

11 OCTOBER 2019

Cracks in a Canberra apartment complex

PHOTO: The developer said complying with the order could pose further safety risks. (ABC News: Jerry Rickard)

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The ACT Government has intervened to prevent the possible collapse of the Kingston Place apartments, after its developer refused to install temporary propping on the site.

Key points:

  • Morris Construction Group says it will not comply with an emergency rectification order over concerns it could cause further damage
  • The ACT Government has begun to carry out the work itself, and will hand the bill to Morris Construction
  • Morris Construction faces a maximum $1.62m penalty for refusing to comply with the order

Morris Construction Corporation (MCC) warned the emergency work could risk safety and cause further damage to the building.

The ABC understands an independent contractor began installing the 234 props to support the building on Thursday.

Morris Construction disputes emergency order

Canberra’s construction watchdog issued Morris Construction an emergency rectification order late last month over concerns the apartment block was not structurally sound.

Apartment owners said they were told the building suffered from “punching shear” in its underground floors, a defect in which concrete columns are subjected to high amounts of pressure, which could cause them to fail.

The developer, which has paid for the installation of props at the apartment previously, unsuccessful tried to block the order in the ACT Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

A car park with yellow metal poles running from the floor to the ceiling.

PHOTO: More than 40 props had already been installed in the Kingston Place apartments. (ABC News)

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It had until today to complete the work, but Morris Construction has confirmed it will breach the emergency order.

“The safety of the public and those who live and work in its developments is Morris’s utmost priority,” the company said in a statement.

“On the basis of expert advice it has received, MCC is not willing to perform the works specified under the [emergency rectification order] at this stage.”

ACT Government will have to foot initial rectification bill

It is an offence not to comply with a rectification order, with corporations facing a maximum penalty of $1.62m for a breach.

The ACT Government will be forced to pay for the work to be completed, with Morris Construction then owing a debt to the territory.

Company director Barry Morris said he was committed to resolve the litigation involving the building.

“However, we cannot in good faith perform rectification works to a build when we have been independently advised that doing so may cause further damage to it,” Mr Morris said.

Mr Morris said requests to meet with the constructions occupation registrar over the order were not responded to.

“Further investigation is needed to ensure that any works required — if any — are performed safely,” he said.

Building Quality Improvement Minister Gordon Ramsay said neither the Government nor the community would tolerate sub-standard building work.

“Cleaning up the building industry requires all parts of the supply chain to realise that poor work is not only detrimental to homeowners and investors but damaging to the industry and community as a whole,” Mr Ramsay said.

“I’m also committed to improving access to justice outcomes for Canberrans who have suffered or are suffering potential financial stress due to structural defects involving the work of a dodgy builder and or developer.”

Mr Ramsay said the Government was considering a developer-licensing scheme to ban “dodgy operators” from working in Canberra.

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-11/morris-construction-defies-rectification-order-on-kingston-place/11591372?section=business

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