Sydney apartment designed by George Khouzame has some serious flaws

A Sydney construction company that collapsed a house last year is facing mounting problems after the NSW Building Commission ordered its administrators to urgently fix structural defects in the apartment block.

George Khouzame – who, along with his wife Chaza Khouzame, is at the centre of an Environment Protection Authority investigation into a Southern Highlands property the agency says was being used to store more than 10 tonnes of asbestos-contaminated materials – was the sole director of He Co Pty Ltd when it built the house at 2-4 Anzac Avenue, Engadine, south of Sydney.

The NSW Building Commission has issued an order to He Co Pty Ltd to rectify defects at a property it has built in Engadine.Loan: Domain

The company, which is currently in receivership, received a remedial order from the state building authority this week. The order found serious defects in the apartment building’s load-bearing columns, as well as numerous problems with the apartment building’s waterproofing, drainage and fire safety systems.

There is no immediate threat to the safety of the building’s residents.

Elizabeth Stewart, acting director of building compliance at the Building Commission NSW, said the columns in the development, which consists of three buildings, each three storeys high, were not installed in accordance with approved designs.

“The replacement of the in-situ concrete columns with a permanent plastic formwork column, which is a deviation from the approved construction plan, has led to a compromise of the structural integrity of the walls (and) the concrete columns, which will likely result in the wall/columns being unable to withstand the loads imposed on them,” she wrote in an order posted online on Thursday.

Collapsed apartment building on Norman Street in Condell Park. Loan: Kate Geraghty

She said other weatherproofing and fire protection systems had not been installed correctly and the bin discharge system was incomplete, creating a “hazard that could affect the health and comfort of building occupants”.

Stewart has given the company four months to resolve the issues, but George Khouzame will not be able to continue with the project because his planning permission was withdrawn just weeks after the collapse of the house he built in Condell Park.