As shocking new pictures reveal how Sydney Opal Tower residents’ homes have been left in pieces, one firm has had to take the extraordinary step of clarifying it has no connection with the debacle.
Some of the grim photos posted on Facebook over the weekend show how one unit has had its ceiling and flooring torn away to allow equipment to prop up the concrete slabs separating each floor — as beds, furniture and clothing were tossed in a pile near a window.
Others show wall panels torn out and ominous-looking wires dangling from the ceiling of another home.
And, as anger grows over the evacuation and the manner of the investigation, a construction company which shares its name with the company at the centre of the scandal has been forced to take the extraordinary step of clarifying it has no connection with the Homebush tower.
Privately owned construction and maintenance services company Icon Construction Group, says it is being confused with construction group Icon Co.
It has been forced to post a prominent message on the landing page of its website.
“Please be advised the matter surrounding the Opal Tower Homebush was not built by our company.
“The building was built by a company with a similar trading name. Note the two companies have nothing to do with each other.”
It comes as the tower’s real builder — Icon Co — has defended its gutting of some apartments which has sparked fury among residents.
Having been in temporary accommodation for nearly two weeks, some residents say they weren’t notified before their possessions were shifted, ceilings ripped apart and fridges emptied.
One woman told other residents in a social media group chat that her locks were changed, even though she provided a spare key to those working on her unit.
“It’s absolutely trashed,” she said in the chat. “We are so upset. This is horrific.”
Close to 50 units have been gutted and dozens more are also set to be torn apart, Seven News reported.
“We’re all very angry about this,” one resident told AAP.
“I mean, at least send us a notice or something. It’s just wrong for them to do things like this.”
However, construction firm Icon said the body corporate has been kept abreast of their workers’ movements through the building.
“That was their request and they were to communicate with residents,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.
“No locks have been removed, however some were damaged by emergency services.”
The builder also said it had taken photographs of apartments prior to starting its investigations and another set of photos when protection was laid out or furniture removed.
Fridges were cleared out in the interests of residents as power had to be isolated and insurance claims for the cost of those goods can be made immediately, Icon said.
It comes as subcontractors who worked on the crumbling building have revealed some worrying details over the weekend.
Australian Subcontractors Association spokeswoman Louise Stewart said workers were employed at “bargain basement prices” and claim they were not paid on time.
She told The Daily Telegraph on Saturday that eight businesses claimed they were expected to build the tower for “unreasonable pay” and “when payment was due it was not forthcoming”.
However an Icon spokeswoman said the firm “categorically rejected” any claims of late payments to subcontractors.
“Icon is one of the best payers in the business,” she told the Telegraph — adding that none of the variations were “unusual”.
An independent investigation has found numerous faults with Opal Tower.
An interim briefing by two engineering experts, commissioned by the state government, has identified a number of problems in the building.
The tower was evacuated on Christmas Eve after cracks were found in the structure with residents still shut out of their apartments as investigations continue.
In a statement issued by the planning minister’s office on Friday, Professor Mark Hoffman and Professor John Carter said they had identified issues that would require further investigation.
That came after a preliminary investigation found no evidence of any issues with the foundations of the building.
“We are now able to focus our attention on these key areas to determine what has caused the issues,” the engineering experts said.
“We have also met with the engineers working on these matters and those who are working on the rectification proposals.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she “wholeheartedly” encouraged residents to explore their legal options as some consider a class action against whoever’s responsible for the building’s faults.
She said those found responsible for the debacle should be held accountable.
“Absolutely, I think residents should exercise every right, every legal opportunity they have. I would if I was in their shoes,” she told reporters.
A final report is due on Friday.