Herald Sun

Houses teeter above money pit

- MARK DUNN AND JU­LIA RABAR AD­DI­TIONAL RE­PORT­ING: TOM MIN­EAR AND SA­MAN­THA LANDY Incidents · Architecture · Arts · Highbury · Mount Waverley

THE ex­ca­vated Mt Waver­ley site that threat­ens two homes and has forced the evac­u­a­tion of res­i­dents had no re­tain­ing walls in place — and now in­ves­ti­ga­tors want to know why.

Wit­nesses de­scribed the dra­matic mo­ment sec­tions of the con­struc­tion pit crum­bled “like cake”.

“We heard a mas­sive crack­ing thun­der noise and ran out­side and the whole wall had come down,” lo­cal shop worker Emily Cor­nell said.

Ten stu­dents liv­ing in two town­houses be­side the con­struc­tion site, on the cor­ner of Hunt­ing­dale and High­bury roads, were moved to a mo­tel af­ter earth be­neath the foun­da­tions of one prop­erty fell away, leav­ing a drive­way and wall tee­ter­ing over the pit. Another home is threat­ened.

The for­mer petrol sta­tion site has been ex­ca­vated up to 20m. The cut­ting runs to the brick­work of one neigh­bour­ing prop­erty, where a sec­tion of wall col­lapsed and a sewer burst on Wed­nes­day.

Di­rec­tor Jim Ni­co­laou of the site con­trac­tors Ac­tion Master Builders said de­spite ex­pert ad­vice on the ex­ca­va­tion work, things had not gone to plan.

“I’m guided by the ex­perts, that’s what hap­pens some­times,” Mr Ni­co­laou said.

WorkSafe is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the col­lapse. “We are speak­ing with the site builder and engi­neers and the Monash City Coun­cil as a part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” a spokesman said.

Build­ing reg­u­la­tions re­quire “pro­tec­tion work” to shore up earth works if stip­u­lated by the build­ing surveyor in the con­struc­tion per­mit.

WorkSafe has or­dered that all ex­ca­va­tion work cease un­til it is deemed safe and the Vic­to­rian Build­ing Au­thor­ity is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent.

Monash Mayor Paul Klis­aris said he was un­aware if the build­ing per­mit for the site in­cluded the need for manda­tory re­ten­tion walls.

But a build­ing in­dus­try source said such pro­tec­tion was stan­dard for deep pits.

“Coun­cil ap­proved a plan­ning per­mit which sets the pa­ram­e­ters around what the build­ing will be, but does not deal with con­struc­tion,” Mr Klis­aris said.

“The build­ing per­mit doc­u­men­ta­tion in­cluded de­tails of how the site should be ex­ca­vated safely.”

A two-storey build­ing con­tain­ing a med­i­cal cen­tre, dwellings and an un­der­ground carpark is planned for the site.

 ??  ?? The probe be­gins (above)
af­ter the ex­ca­va­tion col­lapse in Mt Waver­ley that left this home (left) on the edge. Pic­ture: NI­COLE
The probe be­gins (above) af­ter the ex­ca­va­tion col­lapse in Mt Waver­ley that left this home (left) on the edge. Pic­ture: NI­COLE GARMSTON

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