Wolli Creek residents face further delays after crane collapse

Wolli Creek residents face further delays after crane collapse

The penthouse apartment was destroyed by the crane's horizontal arm. Photo: Michele Mossop

13 August 201

A delicate operation to remove a crane that fell on a Wolli Creek apartment block has begun but residents have been told to expect further delays, leaving them homeless for at least another night.

The 30-metre crane fell onto the 10-storey building in Sydney's inner south last Sunday, crashing into the penthouse apartment and leaving three workers in need of rescue.

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About 200 residents who had to be evacuated have spent a week moving from hotel room to hotel room.

On Saturday morning, the cabin and the horizontal arm of the crane were removed by larger cranes, exposing the damage caused when the arm hit the top of the building last weekend.

The two-level penthouse of the Arc residential tower has been destroyed, with the roofing torn away and the balcony littered with debris.  The crane will be dismantled in stages using four other temporary cranes.

Dave Hartigan, principal crane engineer at Queensland firm Field Engineers, said the recovery would be a massive and delicate operation.

"There would be a heap of engineering and a heap of risk assessment involved," said Mr Hartigan, who is not involved in the Wolli Creek operation.

He said tower cranes, such as the one at Wolli Creek, are designed to be assembled and disassembled quickly and many times during their working life. Pieces connect with pins.

"The difficult part would be to decide whether to pull it down in one piece, which would require larger mobile cranes, or install something to support it temporarily while they pull the cabin off the top." 

Wolli Creek residents face further delays after crane collapseThe damage wrought by the crane on the Arc penthouse. 

The accident occurred last Sunday morning when workers were erecting the tower crane to begin work on the construction of a high-rise building next door to the Arc.

Construction company Probuild has not said what caused the collapse.

Wolli Creek residents face further delays after crane collapseFour cranes that were brought in for the recovery operation started dismantling the crane on Saturday. Photo: Facebook

Residents were watching on Saturday as the dismantling began, eager to finally return home.

"I just hope that they can complete the removal soon and safely so that the residents of ARC like myself can return home and get on with our lives," one resident said. 

Frasers Property initially said the crane would be removed by Sunday morning but, on Friday, said there would be further delays.

"Probuild, in consultation with crane recovery staff and the emergency management team, have resolved to stop work this evening at 6pm to ensure workers' wellbeing and site safety.

"As a consequence, residents of Arc will not be able to return to their homes on Sunday as planned."

Resident Daniel Gomes, a site manager who has worked in the construction industry for 15 years and has been unable to work since the incident, said the lack of transparency from developer Frasers Property and contractor Probuild was disconcerting. 

"I doubt the cranes they've moved in to get it out will work though, they are too small," he said last week. SOURCE: SMH

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