2004 - Emergency Order: 2

Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know? x

Structurally stronger

Mr Voukelatos states to the Council that they are taking all the necessary steps to carry out work on their building so that any concern Council might have regarding public safety is addressed.

13.10.03 Mr Voukelatos to Mr Ansted (*MH 1, 475)

“We write to confirm our discussion today that we are presently taking all the necessary steps to carry out work on our building to make it structurally stronger so that any concern Council might have regarding public safety are addressed.

Such steps include meetings with Council, an architect & structural engineer to enable us to submit a Development Application with Council as soon as possible.

When all the necessary approval are obtained we will carry out the necessary work on the building.”

Voukelatos's D.A.

On 4 February 2004, Mr Voukelatos lodged a new D.A. which did not fully address the structural problems of the building. 

12.02.04 Site Notice (MJ 1-3, 477-9)

“Alterations & Addition to an existing building including the refurbishment of an existing ground floor café & first floor residence.”

The wall be repaired

Mr Bekker’s third report states that it is essential that the condition of the wall be addressed prior to finalization of the proposal, as the condition of the wall is very precarious.

26.02.04 Mr Bekker to Me (CM 1, 135)

“Re: External sidewall on eastern boundary

39 Glebe Point Road, Glebe

We have written to you on two previous occasions regarding the instability of the eastern sidewall to this property, initially on the 30th Oct 2002 and then again on the 29th Sept 2003 as attached.

We recommended that the wall be cordoned off in the interest of public safety and that the wall be repaired immediately.

The wall has been made unstable by the extensive cracking to nearly all the building’s walls. As previously noted the cracking has been the result of a combination of seasonal foundation movement, the affect of tree roots, the methods of construction and the lack of maintenance of the building.

The cracking is now permanent and is not reversible.

We understand that alterations to the building are now proposed.

It is essential that the condition of the wall be addressed prior to finalization of the proposal as the condition of the wall is very precarious and must be addressed immediately.

Structural Engineer Johnston

Mr Voukelatos attaches structural engineer reports from Phillip Johnston.                                            

02.03.04 Mr Voukelatos to Mr Greville (MK 1, 480)

“Subsequent to our meeting today on site at our property with you and Councils structural engineer I attach structural engineer reports from Phillip Johnston and related correspondence with Leichhardt Council, City of Sydney, the previous tenant and myself.

If you need anything else please let me know and if required Phillip Johnston would be able to discuss the proposed structural work to be carried out under our D.A. with the Councils structural engineer or yourself.”

Requires substantial support

Mr Greville’s internal memo states that City of Sydney’s Structural Engineer concluded that the wall does require substantial support/bracing prior to any further works commencing.

11.03.04 Mr Greville to Mr Soo (OA 1-2, 513-4)

“In response to the concerns raised by Victor.

We are in receipt of 3 structural reports – one from the applicant (which concludes that structural reinforcement is required at such time as any further works are proposed); one from an objector and one from a real estate agent (which both conclude that the boundary wall poses an imminent threat to the general public). Council’s Structural Engineer has reviewed all 3 reports and has undertaken a site inspection and concludes that the building does not pose an imminent threat to the public, however requires substantial support/bracing to any further works commencing. He has also requested further information from the applicant detailing the method, design and materials proposed to brace the wall. This information remains outstanding.

There are three individual structural engineers reports that have been complied.

The applicant, the (main) objector (previous tenant/applicant-responsible for the majority of the objections) and a real estate agent have each commissioned separate structural engineers that have reported varied conclusions ranging from the wall is in state of imminent danger to the public, to structural re-enforcement is required at such time as any further works are proposed. Council’s Structural Engineer has undertaken a site inspection and concluded that the wall does require substantial support/bracing prior to any further works commencing. Further information is to be submitted by the applicant that will detail the method, design and material proposed to brace the wall.

replace with my para.”

As wall has dropped

Mr Voukelatos’ builder finds a 120 mm slope in the first floor. He advises that as the wall has dropped it would be worth stabilizing by joining it to the new floor slab to prevent future movement.

12.03.04 Builder to Mr Johnston (ML 1-5, 481-5)

“Please give rough idea of steelwork need to join old wall to new slab”

Floor for bedroom 1 to kitchen dining slope down 120 mm.”

As wall has dropped would it be worth stabilizing by joining wall to new floor slab to prevent future movement.”

Existing footing has settled

City of Sydney’s specialist structural engineer finds that the existing footing below the eastern wall appears to have settled and he recommends the bracing/shoring of this wall.

18.03.04 Mr Chaoud to Mr Greville MN 1-10, 486-96

“From Kevin Chaoud – Specialist Structural Engineer

Following our recent site inspection (02-03-04) at the above address, and having reviewed old photographs and the structural reports prepared by various engineers in relation to this building. The following comments are offered for your information.

On the above site is an existing two story brick terrace with a vacant shop on the ground floor, refer to Photo 1. The overall structural condition (structural adequacy) of the building is best described in terms of the condition of the main structural building components, these being.


Timber Framing-Flooring.

Support walls.

Support beams-lintels etc.

All of the above main structural components have been inspected.

Footings – All walls internally and externally are supported on sandstone footings   bearing on sand/clay material, refer to Photographs 4.

The existing footing below the eastern wall appears to have settled (with possible shear failure), physical evidence of this settlement are the significant cracks present in the eastern wall.

The footings over the entire length of the eastern wall have been exposed (Refer to Photo 4). Exposure to the elements is considered bad construction practice and with the ingress of water etc will further undermine the footing. It is recommended that the footings are covered to reduce the likelihood of water penetration.

Timber Framing – The existing timber floor including bears and joists have been removed, Refer to Photo No. 7.

Masonry Supporting Walls - Refer Photographs 3, 6, 8, and 9, the existing ender to walls has been removed, revealing cracks ranging in width from hairline to 15 mm. Along this eastern wall portion of the wall have been removed and or dislodged, further comprising the structural integrity and serviceability of the wall. The mortar joints being a lime, sand, and cement mix has in parts dislodged when the render was removed.

Support Beams-Lintels etc- A number of the timber lintels have been removed and replaced with steel galvanized lintels, in some cases lintels were installed without properly supporting brickwork above resulting in settlement and cracking of brickwork. Refer to photo no. 6, and 8.

In summary it is recommended that the owner of the property submit structural engineering details (to be reviewed by Council) showing the proposal method of bracing/shoring of this eastern wall to ensure the structural integrity of the wall is not further comprised. The bracing is required as soon as possible and left in place up until the time that DA has been approved and construction of the permanent framework to the building has been installed.”

Structural Engineer report

Mr Voukelatos sends to City of Sydney the Structural Engineer’s report in respect of the wall.

20.03.04 Mr Voukelatos to Mr Greville *MO 1, 497

“Further to your request I enclose the Structural Engineer report in respect of the wall of the building facing the Minogue Reserve.

Please call me or the Engineer if you require any additional information.”

Emergency Order: 2

The first draft of the emergency order mentions the inspection of the Council’s Structural Engineer and the Council’s Town Planner as the reason for the order. The second draft states that the temporary bracing is to remain in place until a construction certificate is issued and at the same day, Mr Johnston issues structural details that address the first two conditions. The final draft agrees with the Mr Bekker's report that the eastern external wall is structurally unstable and may collapse.

23.03.04 Sydney to Mr & Mrs Voukelatos MP 1-2, 497-8


You are the owners of the above premises.

Part of the two-storey brick building on the land at 39 Glebe Point Road, Glebe is not structurally sound and is considered to be a danger to the public.

The eastern external wall has significant cracking and there are obvious signs of movement to the footings below the eastern external wall.

Major structural support elements have been removed and/or altered within the building being internal shear walls, ground floor timber bearers and joists, and the exposure of the existing sandstone footings below the eastern wall.


The terms of this order are:

Submit Structural Engineering drawing showing details for the proposed shoring of the eastern external wall including temporary bracing and specific details for the rectification of the existing sandstone footings.

Once the above structural Engineering details have been reviewed and accepted by Council’s structural Engineer the temporary bracing and rectification works are to be completed forthwith.


Council’s Structural Engineer, Kevin Chahoud and Council’s Town Planner,

Stuart Greville inspected the subject premises on 2 March 2004. As a result of the inspection, it was concluded that support measures were to be installed as temporary means of bracing the eastern external wall until rectification works to upgrade and rebuild the whole building had commenced.”

26.03.04 Sydney to Mr & Mrs Voukelatos MR 1-2, 499-00

“3. The temporary bracing is to remain in place until a construction certificate is issued for building to upgrade and reinstate structural supporting elements of the building.


The eastern external wall without support is likely to become prejudicial to persons and adjoining property.”

26.03.04 Mr Johnston to Mr & Mrs Voukelatos CP 1, 139

“Temporary Bracing to East Side Wall.”

29.03.04 Sydney to Mr & Mrs Voukelatos MS 1-4, 501-4

“5. A structural engineers report dated 29 September 2003 by Paul Bekker Engineering Design states in part:

‘As we believe the threat of a collapse of the eastern boundary wall is high we recommend that the building should not be used in its present dangerous state and that repairs must be carried out immediately to stabilize the eastern wall’.


Maintain temporary bracing in place until permanent structural works are completed to ensure the structural adequacy of the building. No permanent structural works can commence until the development consent and construction certificate is issued for the proposed works.


To ensure that the building does not represent a serious risk to the health and safety of the public, including occupants of the building. The eastern external wall is structurally unstable and may collapse.”