- June 15, 2018
The cost of structural repairs to apartment buildings can be considerable. For this reason, apartment owners prioritise their attention to any structural threats, such as concrete cancer. However, sometimes the progression of concrete cancer is hidden, and visible signs can be misleading. The strata committee of an apartment block in Balgowlah asked Strata Engineering Solutions (“SES”) to investigate the appearance of cracks on balconies. The SES investigations revealed more than just cosmetic issues. Early identification and efficient remediation of concrete cancer meant that potentially dangerous and very costly consequences were avoided.
Cracking had been noticed on the surfaces of 10 balconies in a strata apartment building located at Balgowlah. In July-August 2017, SES undertook investigations and identified concrete spalling (“concrete cancer”) as the underlying cause.
Without prompt decision-making on behalf of the owners to prevent extensive structural damage from occurring, the structural integrity of the building would be impeded and the cost of remediation increased. The aesthetic appeal of the balconies had deteriorated, and new fixtures and fittings would be required. Efficient project management would be needed to complete the remediation works within the scheduled timeframe and on-budget, with minimal impact on occupants.
Following the initial inspection and subsequent engineering report, SES was engaged to proceed with the Tender Phase of the project. A scope of works was compiled by SES and issued to three reputable contractors. This process provided the client with a competitive tender price. On-site tender meetings were conducted by SES, to ensure all contractors were conversant with the scope of works in order to price the projects with minimum unknowns/contingency costs, potentially reducing the tender price.
Upon completion of the tender phase, SES provided the client with a ‘Tender Recommendation Letter’ which critically compared the contractor’s tenders. SES provided their expert opinion, but the final decision was made by the strata committee (the “client”) on behalf of the owners.
SES then followed through by compiling a contract in accordance with AS4905-2002. Before the contract was signed, SES confirmed both the client and contractor were satisfied with the terms of engagement.
Efficient project management and superintending of the site-works ensured the concrete spalling repairs were completed by the contractor in the appropriate manner and the allocated budget was not surpassed. A total of 3,510-litres of concrete spalling repairs was undertaken, approximately 35% of the balcony volume.
The remediation of the balconies also involved the installation of new balcony tiles, balustrades, and privacy screens. SES coordinated all aesthetic aspects of the balcony remediation with the client, allowing them to have full control over the choice of finishes and fixtures used for their building.
The client requested additional works to be completed by the contractors during the project. SES coordinated all variations, ensure the pricing was as per the tendered unit rates stipulated in the contract. SES was available for client meetings, upon request. Face-to-face liaison helped the client better understand the scope, progression, and methodology of the project. This made for a smooth project progression and kept the client well-informed on all aspects of the project.
Meeting minutes were compiled after every site inspection completed by SES, and these were provided to the client for frequent project updates. Additionally, all contractor progress claims were reviewed and assessed by SES before being approved and issued to the client for payment.
The remedial works on the balconies commenced on 11th September 2017. Practical completion was achieved on 5th April 2018.
With the remedial works completed on the 10 balconies, the client can now relax in a safe and structurally-sound outside environment. The installation and aesthetics of the new balcony tiles, balustrades, and privacy screens further enhance the space for enjoyment and improve the building’s street appeal.
The remediation works have preserved structural integrity and given peace-of-mind to the client, with the risk and expense associated with structural damage to the balconies no longer looming. The additional variation to repaint of the building, plus the aesthetic improvements to the balconies, provided a more desirable environment for the client while increasing the value of units within the property.
SES as superintendents to the project meant the client could be kept well informed of the scope, progress, and project costs. Efficient communication as superintendents relieved the client of the difficulties which typically hinder self-managed projects.
- Concrete Defects
- Structural & Aesthetic Issues