Mount Waverley surveyor Gardner Group also linked to Docklands apartment inferno
A surveyor linked to a crumbling construction pit in Mount Waverley also issued building permits for the Docklands apartment tower which was fitted with flammable cladding.
Two townhouses are teetering on the edge of a 15-metre deep excavation pit, which began caving in on Wednesday. The homes may need to be demolished, authorities say.
The site was being excavated to make way for a $5.5 million medical and childcare centre with a basement car park.
Fairfax Media has learned that surveyor the Gardner Group issued the building permit for the construction site.
The same surveyor is being investigated by the Victorian Building Authority for its involvement in another major construction failure, the installation of non-compliant cladding on a Docklands apartment building that caught fire last November.
A report by Melbourne City Council names the Gardner Group as the private surveyor, which issued the building permits for the Lacrosse apartment building.
It has been found that flammable cladding was installed on the facade of the apartment tower, fuelling the massive blaze, which was sparked by a cigarette.
The council's report says that any change to the external wall cladding of the apartment building would have required a variation to the building permit.
"Documents lodged with council … with regards to building permits and occupancy permits, issued by the Gardner Group, show no evidence that a revision was considered with regards to this building methodology," the report states.
"Further investigation is required by the Victoria Building Authority with regards to this matter if this situation has occurred."
Gardner Group declined to comment on Thursday.
The 14 university students who live at the Mount Waverley townhouses have had to move into a nearby hotel, at the expense of the developer, as authorities try to stabilise the walls of the pit.
Police closed roads around the collapsing site on Thursday afternoon, amid fears motorists could be put at risk from more landslips.
A 48-hour emergency order has also been put in place around the site, which is being managed by Victoria Police.
Gerry Ayers, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's occupational health and safety manager, said the Mount Waverley construction site showed an almost "a flippant disregard for the safety of both workers and the public".
Dr Ayers said an excavation like that at Mount Waverley usually involved securing the pit walls with rock anchors and spraying them with concrete.
"That helps retain the walls and the stability and structural integrity, so what has occurred doesn't occur," Dr Ayers said.
Concerns were first raised about the stability of the pit's walls on Tuesday night following heavy rain.
Since then two large chunks of the pit's walls have collapsed, taking with them a portable toilet, fencing and a wheelie bin.
Part of one of the townhouse's backyards has also been consumed by the hole, leaving the property precariously protruding over the edge of the pit.
Article courtesy The Age: July 17 2015: Aisha Dow and Marissa Calligeros