Residents of Opal Tower heard the unwelcome news on Friday that the NSW government-appointed engineers needed more time before they would approve any repair – and hence a return – to the building. In a statement referring "design and construction issues that require further investigation", engineers Mark Hoffman and John Carter said it could take another week before they were in a position to say more.
It's tough enough as it is for executive committees, the handful of volunteers who steer their building's organisation.
"They're just like deers in the headlights," said Karen Stiles, the executive officer of Owners Corporation Network, an advocacy group for owners corporations.
"There's a committee of unskilled volunteers who are likely to have no experience in managing a medium-to-large business, which is what this building is. Committee members are often older, people with a sense of service and who have the time. Being on a committee can be a full-time job, especially if it's a new building where you're bedding down building managers and cleaners."
"There's a huge learning curve to living in strata and apartments and being on a committee and there's almost no support for them," Stiles says.