Tenants at Central Pier are questioning whether engineers may have failed to detect just how bad the deterioration of the supporting piles was.
Engineers carried out checks every two months on the Dockland’s pier in the 12 months to August this year, but a report in The Herald Sun says engineering consultant KBR failed to detect that almost a third of the piles under Shed 14 had some form of defects.
According to the report, the engineers had been focussing on Shed 9 as it was assumed it was in worse condition.
Development Victoria maintains that $5 million was spent on rectification works over the past two years but had received no advice that the pier was unsafe for tenants until it was evacuated on August 28.
Tenants of the pier are looking to sue for around $100 million, alleging they were led to believe the site would be structurally safe.
The evacuation has caused chaos for the events venues and hospitality businesses who were forced to relocate booked events as they head into their busiest season.
The Woolshed pub has been forced to close and lose almost all its staff, with general manager Duncan Laidlaw saying someone needed to be held accountable.
“We were always told Shed 14 was safe … If they hadn’t been looking at it, what were they looking at? Everyone on it during that time, was their safety at risk?” he said.
The Atlantic Group was another business that was left in the lurch by the sudden evacuation.
“The Government has just completely side-swiped us, taken our businesses from underneath us and are now leaving us to try and work it out for ourselves,” Atlantic Group’s Hatem Saleh told the Seven Network.