The supplier of the photos claim heavy digging took place next to what is now considered Mascot Towers ‘red zone’. Source:Supplied
Photos reveal how Mascot Towers crisis could have been avoided
A resident still unable to return to the troubled Mascot Towers has revealed photos that show residents complained but were ignored.
AUGUST 5, 2019
Mascot Towers: Residents given four hours to pack belongings
A change in the risk assessment of the car park has allowed evacuated residents to re-enter temporarily.
A frustrated apartment owner from the troubled Mascot Towers complex has shared photos from the past two years he claims provide evidence as to how drilling and construction at a neighbouring worksite contributed to the towers’ deterioration.
The owner told news.com.au that since construction began at a tower next door, residents made complaints to the strata company and Bayside Council about flooding and their building “shaking” but were “completely ignored”.
Mascot Towers, in Mascot in Sydney’s inner south, was evacuated on June 14, with residents being sent an emergency email telling them to get out. The evacuation was caused by “rapid deterioration” in multiple parts of the building.
Initial estimates that residents, some owners and some renters would be able to move back into the troubled building in a month have been thrown out, and owners are being told there is now “no timeline”, with the building being assessed on a month-to-month basis.
Many residents made desperate, supervised dashes into the building to try to remove all their possessions in the weeks following the evacuation, with others who can no longer lease their investment properties telling news.com.au they are considering bankruptcy.
Aland’s Peak Towers on Church Ave sits next to Mascot Towers. Various owners from Mascot Towers have suggested to news.com.au that shaking could be felt in their apartments during Peak Towers’ construction in 2018.
A neighbouring steel factory has previously claimed the construction of the Aland building also caused their factory, which is more than 40 years old, to crack and deteriorate.
Documents show numerous complaints were made by neighbouring residents during the construction of the Aland development to Bayside Council.
The apartment owner told news.com.au he was frustrated by the “lack of progress and absence of any form of reasonable communication”, and he was concerned developers of the next-door building were not taking their views seriously.
He said the troubled residential tower complex had problems from “day one”, but “major problems” arose during construction of Aland’s development.
Photos provided to news.com.au show the worksite at Peak Towers with drilling equipment positioned nearby in an area now marked as a dangerous “red zone” by engineers.
The red zone was so named to indicate the areas of most concern when engineers assessed the structural damage at Mascot Towers.
The supplier of the photos claims heavy digging took place next to what is now considered Mascot Towers ‘red zone’.Source:Supplied
Approximately 18 months into the Aland development.Source:Supplied
“When the Aland development started digging on their site, a number of residents, including myself, complained directly to Strata Choice about the damage and the ‘shaking’ of Mascot Towers, and Strata Choice did absolutely nothing,” the owner told news.com.au.
“The building at Mascot Towers was literally shaking when Aland were digging, and for Aland to claim it had no ‘impact’ was simply a baseless falsehood.”
The owner also claims residents complained “many times” to Bayside Council, who “ignored” them.
A spokesperson for Strata Choice said “Strata Choice did receive complaints of noise and inconvenience from time to time from residents.
“As Strata managers we are not responsible for day-to-day onsite operations at the building. We referred these complaints to the building manager and to the best of our knowledge, the building manager dealt with these appropriately.”
A Bayside Council spokesperson told news.com.au they were aware of complaints being received by council from residents regarding noise from builders at Aland’s development working out of hours, for which the builder was issued a fine. The spokesperson says Bayside Council is still looking into the matter.
Documents show Bayside Council issued fines to the construction site for operating outside of hours, with numerous complaints tendered from residents complaining of loud machinery operating as early as 3.30am.
The owner suspects the water table was disturbed during construction. He said 18 months into work next door, Mascot Towers’ carpark began to flood. The flooding had been a continual problem up until the residents were evacuated in June.
“Ever since work commenced on the Aland development, the basement carpark has been inundated with water, which has been causing structural damage to Mascot Towers,” he said.
“You have to remember that, yes, Mascot Towers had problems from day one, however it is only since the Aland development started that the Mascot Towers problems have become critical.”
A recent photo of flooding in the Aland building’s carpark, where ‘spear pumps’ are reportedly being used to clear water from the basement.Source:Supplied
Another recent photo from inside the basement of the Aland building.Source:Supplied
A photo of the flooded carpark at Mascot Towers at the time of the construction of the building next door.Source:Supplied
The neighbouring building site, which used horizontal props during construction after digging down next to Mascot Towers.Source:Supplied
Aland Developments has strongly denied their Peak Towers construction in Mascot caused any damage to neighbouring buildings, saying they have a history of reputable construction practices.
“I am very proud of Aland’s strong track record as a high-quality building and development company, and I am confident Aland has met all design and construction requirements in its new development at Mascot,” Andrew Hrsto, the managing director of Aland Developments, told news.com.au in a statement in June.
The building management company that looked after Mascot Towers wrote to residents seeking evidence of cracking and other damage in the middle of 2018, according to The Australian Financial Review.
The management company, Building Management Australia, told residents at the time it was putting together evidence to pursue Aland’s insurers for damage to the building.
Meanwhile, residents of Opal Tower have launched a class action against Sydney Olympic Park Authority, the government body who owns the land the tower sits on.
Many residents of Opal Tower have not seen inside their apartments since they were evacuated on Christmas Eve.
“I don’t blame anybody for taking legal action to defend their own rights,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Tuesday.
“This is an unfortunate set of circumstances. We inherited the system we have today, and we’re aiming to fix it by the end of the year through legislation.”
CAAN: How far back is Premier Berejiklian referrring to? With the O’Farrell Government being elected in 2011 – of which Ms Berejiklian was a Cabinet Member, an MP, Treasurer … followed by the release of both the Green Paper and the White Paper in 2012 leading up to the Planning Law changes in NSW which led to higher density of high-rise Precincts, and also medium-density housing, rezoning and exempt and complying development, cutting Red Tape, deregulation etc which has meant the loss of community rights, heritage homes, environment protections … this all tied in with the Australian Govt growth through high immigration and visa manipulation.
Ms Berejiklian said the Government would be announcing a new state building commissioner whose job it will be to hold all levels of the construction industry to account.
“(The commissioner) will ensure moving forward that everybody in the industry not only is aware of their responsibilities but delivers on those responsibilities to the nth degree,” she said.
“There is a crisis on our building sites across the nation,” NSW Labor Senator Deborah O’Neil said in a speech on Monday, addressing an issue she said was likely to affect homeowners across Australia.
“Every Australian should feel safe in their own home. This epidemic of dodgy development isn’t confined to Sydney alone,” Senator O’Neil said.
“The Government needs to show leadership and to send a clear message to those who would endanger lives by cutting corners, cutting costs.”
The senator warned Australians shouldn’t accept a “Third World set of practices here in building”.
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