Towers of Trouble

Sim

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From: Sim' Hampel


Special report by the Sydney Morning Herald into shoddy contruction of highrise apartments in Sydney.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/specials/natl/buildings/index.html

Some headlines from that link:

"High-rise crisis looming:
Up to one third of all new residential buildings in NSW may be faulty because of laws that allow private contractors to certify their own work"

"How has the system gone so dangerously wrong?:
The apartment in Regis Towers - one of Sydney's newest and biggest apartment blocks - had cost $500,000 three years earlier. So how did a building inspector produce a 16-page report which concluded that "reasonable habitation of the unit would be extremely difficult"?"

"Off to a soggy start:
The off-the-plan waterfront apartment in Manly cost $850,000 - but lost its ceiling on the first day."

"Building facades crashing onto footpaths:
Chunks of stone and concrete falling from high-rise buildings are putting pedestrians in Sydney's CBD at increasing risk. In one case not reported to the council, a slab of granite fell into the empty sandpit of an inner-city kindergarten."

"Living in a legal limbo:
Why were people allowed to move into a block of units that did not have final council approval? Now, writes Gerard Ryle, nobody seems able to help the residents fix the problems."

 
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Reply: 1
From: Glenn Mott


After renting in a large apartment building in Pyrmont for a couple of years, my wife and came up with a few simple tests for the quality of similar buildings. You will need access to 2 apartments side by side. Have someone go next door and...

1. Turn on a television at normal levels

2. Make a telephone call

3. Turn the taps on and off quickly a few times

4. Walk around in high heels on any hard floor areas

If possible, do an inspection between 7am and 9am or 5pm and 7pm. If the apartment has lifts, try to catch a lift during these times (or during a time you would normally be leaving/returning from work). We were sure that the management company must have turned the power off to at least 1 of the lifts most of the time to save on power bills. Ask some of the residents what it is like to live there as if they are renters they will be brutally honest.

Glenn
 
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Self certification

Reply: 2
From: Brett Burt


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Self certification was bought in to give Council's some competition in =their monopoly on building inspections to conform to DA and issue a BA =(now called a Building Certificate) Many of the very best townplanners =left council employ to become PCA's (Principal Certifying Authority) and =it would seem the quality there seemed to drop off. May be why DA's are =taking much longer now. Many PCA's are far more qualified than council =staff and in fact many council town planners were taught their trade by =many current PCA's

Like anything the almighty dollar rules and it is possible I think, =PCA's have been 'paid off' to certify compliance in some instances. This =same thing happened to valuers in the past when large marketing or =development companies pressured them to give better valuations. Both =practices are odious and damaging to property developmemt investment and =building in general. Council cannot appeal a PCA's decision by the way.
However I am wary when this kind of publicity appears suddenly as the =council's were and are extremely upset about having competition forced =on them and because many council's see developers and development as =some sort of environmental evil and treat people accordingly in many =cases.

How many errors occurred before the new system came in? Just as many I =think. BB


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Self certification was bought in to give Council's =some
competition in their monopoly on building inspections to conform to DA =and issue
a BA (now called a Building Certificate) Many of the very best =townplanners left
council employ to become PCA's (Principal Certifying Authority) =andit
would seemthe quality there seemed to drop off. May be why DA's =are taking
much longer now. Many PCA's are far more qualified than council staff =and in
fact many council town planners were taught their trade by many current
PCA's

Like anything the almighty dollar rules and it is
possibleI think, PCA's have been 'paid off' to certify =compliance in
some instances. This same thinghappened to valuers in the past =when large
marketing or development companies pressured them to give better =valuations.
Both practices are odious and damaging to property developmemt =investment and
building in general.Council cannot appeal a =PCA's
decision by the way.
However I am wary when this kind of publicity =appears suddenly
as the council's were and are extremely upset about having competition =forced
onthem and because many council's see developers and development =as some
sort of environmental evil and treat people accordingly in many
cases.

How many errors occurred before the new system came =in? Just
as many I think. BB


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