Owners of apartments in a cracked Sydney complex have just over six weeks to come up with more than one million dollars to pay for emergency repairs, new carpets, lawyers, a media consultant and evacuation.
Mascot Towers, in the city's south, was evacuated on Friday night after engineers became concerned about cracks in the primary support structure and facade masonry of the 10-year-old building on Bourke Street.
Residents in about half of the 122 units that were considered partly accessible have since been told they can briefly return to collect personal items under escort from management and security.
All of the other units fall in the non-accessible zone and cannot be entered at any time, along with car parks, recreational areas and some businesses.
A document from strata management company Strata Choice, formally advising owners of a meeting on Thursday, reveals they will need to pay a special levy of $1.1 million, equating to thousands of dollars per unit, by August 1.
The document breaks down costs, without GST, into $254,000 for propping, $250,000 for engineering, $176,000 for legal fees, $100,000 for the estimated cost of the evacuation, $70,000 for new carpets, $5000 for a media consultant and others.
"Due to the recent evacuation of residents from their apartments, the owners corporation is required to perform urgent repair and maintenance to ensure the complex is safe and secure for all residents to return to their homes," the document says.
Owners of 24 properties within Mascot Towers have also written to the management of their building to demand further access to the building and information from engineers.
In an email to the building manager, Building Management Australia, Strata Choice and the executive committee sent on Tuesday morning, the owners say the "chaos" following the evacuation has put residents in "varying states of distress, not to mention extreme mental and financial duress".
"We have to express our disappointment and dismay over which the evacuation was handled; there has been a shocking lack of leadership and emergency planning when this crisis happened."
The email also takes aim at a "lack of transparent and reliable communication" and the "callous and discourteous treatment" displayed by their point of contact at the resident's hotline.
They've asked for a timeline for residents who haven't been able to return to collect belongings and for a second opportunity for those who've already been given a 15-minute window.
The owners also ask for updates on the building's safety, and whether its issues were caused or aggravated by construction on the Peak Tower development next door - a suggestion strongly denied by builders Aland.
An update from building management on Monday night reiterated that a claim on the building's insurance policy to fund temporary accommodation had been knocked back.
It's been reported that the building is too old for warranty cover.
The evacuation has reignited the debate about the integrity of Sydney's high-density living months after the Opal Tower, at Sydney Olympic Park, faced a similar structural defect.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday promised legislation to overhaul the building and construction industry would be introduced to parliament this week with a view of passing by the end of the year.
Australian Associated Press