The Canberra developer ordered to urgently address serious defects at a Kingston apartment block has refused to complete the work, arguing it might cause further damage to the building.
The ACT government has been forced to step and arrange for the rectification works to be completed.
But Morris Construction Corporation will still have to pay for work to prop up concrete slabs at its Kingston Place complex, and is now facing a fine of up to $1.62 million for refusing to comply with the emergency rectification order.
The government issued the order on September 20, requiring the construction company to install about 235 props throughout the building, including on the balconies of more than 30 apartments.
The props are designed to protect the building from a defect known as "punching shear failure".
It occurs when a concrete slab is put under so much stress that a column "punches" through it.
Government inspectors warned the potential problem could, if left unaddressed, result in "catastrophic structural defects" which render the complex unliveable.
The Canberra Times has obtained a photo which shows cracking and erosion of concrete slabs under balconies at the Eyre Street complex.
The photo was included in a structural engineer's report, which heavily informed Access Canberra's decision to issue the rectification order.
Other photos show lifted tiles, cracking to the complex's basement carpark, as well as water seeping through floors.
Another photo appears to show white stalagmites, formed by a calcified substance, under the roof of the basement carpark.
Morris Construction Corporation was required to arrange a contractor to install the props by October 11, under the terms of the emergency rectification order.
It appealed to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have the order delayed, but that was rejected.
Despite the tribunal's verdict, an ACT government spokesman this week said Morris had stated that it would not complete the works.
The spokesman said that, "given the urgency of the work", the government's new infrastructure delivery agency - Major Projects Canberra - had stepped in to find a contractor to install the props.
Work was scheduled to start on Thursday and be completed by October 25.
In a statement last week, Morris Property Group director Barry Morris, who also oversees Morris Construction Corporation, said its expert advice had determined the 120-unit complex was structurally sound, and the rectification works were not in the best interests of residents.
Mr Morris went further in a statement on Thursday night, saying the structural engineers' advice had warned that the work could possibly cause "unforeseen and consequential damage" to the building.
"The safety of the public and those who live and work in its developments is Morris's utmost priority," Mr Morris said.
"We cannot in good faith perform rectification works to a building when we have been independently advised that doing so may cause further damage to it."
Mr Morris said he wrote to the government solicitor on October 1, seeking a meeting to discuss its concerns about the rectification order - but did not receive a response.
The construction company is involved in ongoing court proceedings with Kingston Place apartment owners over alleged defects at the property.
He said the company had previously agreed on a "without admission basis" to install two sets of temporary props inside the complex, but only after "proper and detailed consideration" from engineers on both sides of the dispute.
Mr Morris has asked Access Canberra for permission to inspect the complex so its consultant can conduct further tests. He remained committed to resolving the court case.
In a statement, Kingston Place owners corporation chairman John Grant welcomed the government stepping in to complete works needed to "protect the health and safety of the occupants, their visitors and passers-by of our building".
Morris Construction Corporation's apparent refusal to comply with the emergency rectification order means it could be liable for a fine of up to $1.62 million under the territory's building laws.
The extent of the penalty would be determined by the courts or a tribunal.
Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay would not comment directly on the Kingston Place case, but said neither the government nor community would tolerate sub-standard construction work.
"Cleaning up the building industry requires all parts of the supply chain to realise that poor work is not only detrimental to homeowners and investors but damaging to the industry and community as a whole," Mr Ramsay said.