A director of the company that oversaw the certification of Sydney’s crumbling Opal Tower had been disciplined by the building watchdog before, it has emerged.
Judgment records show McKenzie Group director Mark Cogo was slapped with two fines, a remprimand and three cautions by the Building Professionals Board between 2004 and 2009.
He was handed a $11,000 fine after he was found guilty of “unsatisfactory professional conduct” on January 16, 2009.
A judgment shows Mr Cogo — now based in Queensland — was an accredited certifier and principal certifying authority for a warehouse redevelopment at 56 Anzac St, Chullora, in Sydney’s west.
According to the watchdog, he authorised a “fire safety solution” that was “inadequate” and ignored advice from the NSW Fire Brigades.
“He authorised a fire safety solution for the internal space of the warehouse which was inadequate,” the judgment reads.
“Two, he failed to ensure that the perimeter access was adequate for fire brigade vehicles in the event of fire.
“And … in deciding not to follow the advice of the NSW Fire Brigades he relied on a report from an independent consultant who, contrary to the relevant rule, was not qualified as an accredited certifier at the appropriate level.”
In 2008, he also was fined $11,000 for issuing a construction certificate for a large residential development that was “inconsistent with various aspects of the plans approved by the development consent”.
Other disciplinary records show Mr Cogo was cautioned again on September 17, 2009, because he had “issued a construction certificate” for a Meadowbank restaurant in Sydney’s west that was “inconsistent with the plans approved by the development consent”.
McKenzie Group co-director Stephen Natilli has also been cautioned by the board — twice in 2005.
There is no suggestion of impropriety against Mr Natilli or Mr Cogo regarding the Opal development.
On the McKenzie Group website, it states Mr Cogo has “successfully completed numerous projects across the country and has gained unique expertise over a range of projects types”.
“Mark has been involved in the development and building surveying profession for almost 20 years, and has gained a diverse range of experience working large-scale complex projects requiring specifically tailored compliance solutions,” it reads.
Residents of Opal tower that began cracking on Christmas Eve will spend at least another 10 days away from home as engineers work to survey the building.
The Sydney Olympic Park building experienced a concrete panel collapse on Monday, which triggered the evacuation of the tower and the surrounding areas. While most residents were allowed back into the building within 24 hours, the construction company responsible for the building called for it to be emptied again yesterday.
Julian Doyle, the NSW director of building company Icon, said the building was not at risk of collapsing, but the fastest way for the issue to be dealt with was to remove all residents from the tower.
“I think ultimately the building will be as it was designed to be,” he said.
An angry resident confronted Mr Doyle during his press conference at the base of the tower, demanding better temporary accommodation and a clearer timeline of when they would be allowed back home.
Mr Doyle could not guarantee residents would be able to move back in after 10 days.