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'I'm homeless': Sydney tower residents given only an hour to evacuate

Residents of a Sydney apartment complex are "homeless" after ongoing and persistent cracking forced the building's evacuation.

All 122 units and all but two ground-level shops in the Mascot Towers are currently empty after concerns about the decade-old building’s structural integrity prompted its closure on Friday.

Residents were warned on Thursday via email and a notice posted in a common area that the building in the inner-south suburb of Mascot may be evacuated at short notice.

An email at 7.45pm on Friday advised the premises must be vacated by 9pm.

"The general thing going through my mind was, ‘What can I leave here and just go buy?’" renter Cameron told AAP on Saturday.

"I have enough socks and jocks to last for a little bit, but apart from that I’ve left TVs and thousands of dollars of computer equipment.

Pictured left are residents leaving Mascot Towers holding their belongings and pet cat. On the right is a large crack shown on a wall of the building.
Residents were given just one hour to evacuate after large cracks were spotted in the building. Source: AAP

“I’m effectively homeless.”

One resident was asleep and missed during the evacuation and woke on Saturday to find the building abandoned, reported.

Cracks in the ground-level carpark widened on Thursday, prompting the building’s engineer to urgently install temporary building support.

“This is in response to an ongoing and persistent cracking and structural deformation observed within the primary support structure and the façade masonry,” the strata manager told residents in a letter.

“This deterioration has been rapid, hence expedited propping was deemed a necessary precaution to ensure the safety of the building and its occupants.”

Building management later advised renters they would have to sort their own temporary accommodation while owners’ alternate housing may not be covered by insurance.

That left some residents to stay with friends and others to seek help through their employer.

"It's a bit annoying to not really know what is going on and move at short notice but we'll deal with it," renter Jade told reporters on Saturday.

A 10-year-old girl and her family spent the night at Mascot Town Hall, local state MP Ron Hoenig told reporters.

The Labor MP said he was angered the owners corporation’s insurance company had denied any responsibility for accommodating the residents.

Mr Hoenig said it was too early to point the finger at what caused the damage, but the early view of engineers was that a newly-constructed building next door to Mascot Towers may have something to do about it.

"It’s suspicious that the new building is not even occupied and the building that’s been up for 12 years all of a sudden has substantial cracks,” he said.

A hairdresser opened on Saturday as did an Indian restaurant for takeaway only.

The Mascot Towers building is surrounded by barricades on Saturday.
Residents of Mascot Towers apartment building have been forced to leave their homes. Source: AAP

The supermarket and a handful of other shops remained closed.

Transport for NSW confirmed there was no impact on the airport rail line or Mascot Railway Station, which runs underneath the complex.

Engineers Australia said the situation was further evidence changes were needed in the building and construction sector.

Mascot Towers’ building manager and strata company have been contacted for comment.

It's the second time in six months a Sydney apartment complex has been completely evacuated due to cracking and reports of movement.

Some units in the Opal Tower, which was evacuated in December soon after being built, are still uninhabitable as permanent structural remedial works continue.

An independent report released in February found critical support beams were left susceptible to "bursting" because they were under-designed and some were made from lower strength concrete.

The tower was found to be structurally sound overall but having several structural and construction issues.

The tower's builder Icon is continuing to reimburse affected owners for rental loss but in May stopped covering costs for tenants' alternative accommodation.

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