April 13, 2024
By Michael Bleby Builder of , a $73-million commercial project which collapsed in the middle of construction claims that imported steel for the roof trusses was not to blame. The accident could have been fatal and has caused the centre’s cost to double. Adco Constructions blamed the “design issue” for the crash-like explosion of the roof structure in a March letter, which was revealed only by a Freedom of Information Request last week. It also said that the materials and procedures it used were not at fault. This letter caused a public split between Boroondara Council and the local government […]

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By Michael Bleby

Builder of , a $73-million commercial project which collapsed in the middle of construction claims that imported steel for the roof trusses was not to blame. The accident could have been fatal and has caused the centre’s cost to double.

Adco Constructions blamed the “design issue” for the crash-like explosion of the roof structure in a March letter, which was revealed only by a Freedom of Information Request last week. It also said that the materials and procedures it used were not at fault.

This letter caused a public split between Boroondara Council and the local government that had hired Adco to build the Kew Rec Centre. Adco, on the basis of the findings from a consultant that the builder engaged, was not proven and “simply unsupported”, according to the council.

Adco’s Victorian State Manager, in a letter to its clients on March 7, criticised reports that linked the collapse of Kew Building to Besix Watpac’s GMHBA stadium stand project. This was due to problems with imported steel.

Adco stated that “the media reports…which focus heavily on [the] use of imported structural steel, and on defects, in such reports, incorrectly link the quality and workmanship problems identified at the GMHBA Project, where steel is believed to have been procured by Qatar, with what happened at the Kew Project.”

Adco is yet to receive any proof that this link exists. Adco has not been presented with any proof that the Kew incident was caused by defective materials as reported in media reports. Adco has expert testimony that completely refutes media claims.”

Adco as well Besix Watpac declined to make any comment Tuesday.

Adco won the contract for construction only, on the basis of a design that was fully documented, in March 20, 2021. At this time, building materials were scarce, prices were soaring, and contractors worldwide struggled to get what they required. The steel prices rose by 23.7 percent from September to October 2021.

In the letter, the company failed to disclose its source for steel.

It is not clear why the collapse of the gym roof and the swimming pool on October 20, 2022 left a heap of steel twisted. WorkSafe Victoria and the Victorian Building Authority are conducting an investigation.

Boroondara Council said last week that it was inappropriate to speculate about the causes of an accident before official investigations are completed.

In the budget for 2023-24, the council shows it had borrowed 70 million dollars in 2021-22 to finance infrastructure projects such as the Kew Recreation Centre project and a separate Canterbury Community Precinct Project.

According to builders, the cost of a recreation center could double. The council has not yet decided how it will pay for any additional costs, even if they later claim them back from the liable parties.

The council announced last week that it would ensure “those responsible for the collapse” pay the costs of the rectification.

Adco did not respond to requests for comments from Financial Review over the past several months. However, the letter criticized media reports that linked the collapse of the building with imported steel.

The company stated that it was “unfortunate and disappointing” that media outlets did not seek to understand more about the Kew incident before linking the project with failures at GMHBA, which were unrelated.

Adco asked that its clients do not circulate this letter.

It is very important that you note this information has been provided strictly confidentially, as an investigation is ongoing into the Kew incident. Adco is continuing to support WorkSafe in this investigation process. “This statement should not be distributed further by the receiver.”

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