Hundreds of apartment owners have taken on the might of megachurch Hillsong and builders in the Supreme Court.
Hundreds of apartment owners have taken on the might of megachurch Hillsong and builders in the Supreme Court.

Hillsong in $20m unholy apartment block war

The owners of almost 300 Sydney apartments have joined forces to take on megachurch Hillsong and a construction firm in a $20 million compensation claim over allegedly botched building works.

Angry owners in Rosebery's Otto apartments have gathered in NSW Supreme Court to sue builder Icon Construction Australia and developer Sydney Christian Life Centre, a Hillsong property arm.

The Otto apartments at Rosebery, at the centre of a Supreme Court case. Picture: Richard Dobson
The Otto apartments at Rosebery, at the centre of a Supreme Court case. Picture: Richard Dobson

Icon Construction Australia, which hired the same company that built the cracked Opal Tower to work on the complex, was placed into voluntary administration in Nov­ember amid the court battle.

An apartment owner, who asked not to be named, said she feared the owners' corporation would now have to foot the mammoth repair bill, estimated at $20 million.

"We're worried we will find it difficult to sell our apartments," she said, adding that they originally sold for between $440,000 and $945,000.

Court papers lodged by Chambers Russell Lawyers on behalf of owners state SCLC and Icon Australia "breached their duties of care in causing or permitting the defective work".

"The (residents) could not inspect the common property before becoming the registered proprietor," lawyer Scott Chambers said.

In turn SCLC has lodged a separate claim against Icon Construction Australia for damages and costs.

The Otto apartments at Rosebery, at the centre of a Supreme Court case. Picture: Richard Dobson
The Otto apartments at Rosebery, at the centre of a Supreme Court case. Picture: Richard Dobson

According to allegations in court papers, SCLC became the registered proprietor and residents are entitled to the benefit of statutory warranties against the church which was required to hold a contractor licence for building works.

Lawyers on behalf of SCLC, Sparke Helmore, claim it is the builder who should be held ­liable and the church are not the "wrongdoers".

"All residential building work was ­undertaken by the cross-­defendant (Icon Australia)."

SCLC entered into a contract with developers Capital Corporation in 2017 to build the complex. Capital Corporation hired Icon Construction Australia as builders and later Icon construction firm to build phase two.

In 2019 structural engineers found posts that support balcony balustrades and window glazing did not meet Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards and failed its integrity inspection.

The case is listed for directions in the Supreme Court on February 5 and 19.

Originally published as Hillsong in $20m unholy apartment block war


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