Awa Tower, Sydney

Industry: Commercial

Type of work: Brick and Stone Repair, Repairs and Upgrades, Structural Repair

Located on York Street in Sydney’s CBD, the AWA tower was once the city’s tallest structure and home to a large radio tower (still visible today). The fifteen storey building, built in 1939, is a classic example of the Art Deco design era and is decorated with symbols of communication, many of which are now heritage listed.

A combination of failing structural components and extended exposure to the elements meant that extensive restoration work was required in order to preserve this iconic building. Remedial Building Services was called in to provide our expert restoration services. The list of issues to be rectified included:

  • A faulty roof membrane
  • Damaged flashings
  • Brick growth due to lintel corrosion
  • Mortar replacement to restore a heritage listed Pegasus decoration

The Rectification Process

The rectification of this building presented several specific challenges, the first of which was the fact that the lifts were too small to transport building materials to the top of the building. The Remedial team overcame this issue by carrying all materials and equipment through the internal fire stairs.

Initial reports had identified brick growth due to corroded lintels on the building’s façade. However, upon further investigation by the Remedial team, it was discovered that in fact, a number of bricks had delaminated to the extent that they needed to be replaced and new brick ties also needed. Remedial brought these latent issues to the attention of the building’s engineers who gave approval to carry out the required works. The team worked efficiently and without incident to install new lintels and brick ties and replace delaminated bricks with new bricks which had been specially sourced to match the existing façade. The final element to be addressed was the Pegasus feature which was fastidiously restored to its former glory.

The Roof Membrane

The roof of this historic building contained a bitumen membrane which, after years of exposure to sun, wind and rain, had begun to fail, causing water leakage throughout the building. With five different roof elevations, the removal of the original roofing was a complicated task which required a combination of jackhammers, scrapers and hand chisels, with multiple teams working simultaneously to speed up the process. Once the roofing had been removed, the team worked to replace the damaged flashings before installing a waterproof torch-on membrane to the roof. The platform under the tower proved to be the most challenging element, requiring the Remedial team to maintain a delicate balance between protecting the historically significant foot of the tower while also ensuring the roofing membrane was applied seamlessly.

All work was completed without incident, within the promised timeframe and with minimal impact on residents. The AWA tower is now structurally sound and completely compliant while still retaining its historic integrity.