Nearly one in five sellers in high-rise suburbs lost money

WHAT do you make of this?

DESPITE aspiring First Home Buyers now tending to steer clear of newly built high-rise apartments … with apartment suburbs in freefall after tower disasters …

OWNERS are being forced to drop their price by as much as $60,000 or $ 70,000 yet developers are still forging ahead with high-rise …

THE home seller may lose this much but the developer is still set to gain as each unit is built for say $200,000 … give or take …

-high density of high-rise towers very lucrative for developers

THE Property Council is running Australia with their former policy writer at the helm … so for the next 50 years Sydney is set to grow by 107,000 people annually

47,000 Chinese fly into Australia every week; with more at Chinese New Year and Golden Week

-a huge number of homes built very quickly; the 85% defective on completion rate is likely to be maintained

-Berejiklian Govt instead of enforcing the recommendations of Lambert, Shergold and Weir proposes a ratings scorecard for builders

MORE OF THE SAME! OR ARE YOU GOING TO JACK UP SYDNEY? .. IT’S YOUR CALL

IF you are fed up with the Housing PONZI Scheme and want to change this …. message us through our Facebook link below for a Campaign Plan! *

Related Article ….

NSW Government proposes ratings scorecard for builders to prevent construction disasters

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2020/01/21/nsw-government-proposes-ratings-scorecard-for-builders-to-prevent-construction-disasters/?fbclid=IwAR0S5HrAsQhYUQqA4lILgzADmhTT80zKGkXRmIBNvbmaNHmy1hDU3VaGBwc

EXTRACT: Nearly one in five sellers in high-rise suburbs lost money

Aidan DevineAidan Devine 25 JAN 2020Opal Tower

There is an oversupply of high-rise apartments in parts of Sydney, with plenty more units still under construction. Picture: Angelo Velardo

Losses are mounting for unit sellers in Sydney’s high-rise suburbs as a recent spate of building disasters sours buyer demand for homes in large apartment towers.

Close to one in five sellers in the high density Parramatta and Canterbury-Bankstown council areas exchanged their properties for less than they paid for them, while about 15 per cent made a loss in Ryde.

Sellers also made frequent losses in the Strathfield council area – which neighbours Sydney Olympic Park’s Opal Tower, a building residents were forced to evacuate in late 2018 due to dangerous cracking.

-about 16% of sales incurred a loss for vendors: CoreLogic records for September quarter

MORE: Sydney’s auction hotspot revealed

Demand for housing at record high

-average seller in these city regions lost between $60,000 – $70,000 after 4 years

YET with the remainder of Sydney, sellers rarely lost money due to record-low interest rates fuelling housing demand.

Residents of Olympic Park’s Opal Tower were forced to evacuate over dangerous cracking.

-more than 90% of city sellers sold with a profit with average profits from $70,000 in Burwood to $1.1 M in the northern beaches.

-almost 99% of Mosman sellers made a profit; just over 95% of sales vendor profit in council areas of Waverley, North Sydney and Hunters Hill

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said sellers in high-density suburbs were struggling because there were too many other vendors to compete with at a time when buyers were turning away from high-rise units.

“Cracking would have made buyers weary … property is probably the biggest purchase they’ll make,” Ms Owen said.

“There’s also a huge supply of (high-rise) properties up for sale, most of which were meant to appeal to investors.

Ms Owen added there was a rush from some investors in high density areas to sell because rents were falling and vacancies were rising, increasing their holding costs.

-investors selling properties were head to head with developers who continue to release new housing

nearly 45,000 new units recently approved across Parramatta and Ryde LGAs

Realestate.com.au head of economic research Cameron Kusher said the longer-term outlook for unit sellers was more positive.Darmo Aerial

Parramatta has one of the biggest pipelines of new unit projects.

It would likely take 18-24 months for excess housing stock in areas like Parramatta to get absorbed if population growth trends continued, he said.

-sellers in the northern beaches and eastern suburbs selling for large profits with 3 and 4 bedroom homes appealing to families; dominant in the market

SELLERS WHO LOST MONEY (by LGA)

Parramatta 19%

Canterbury 18%

Ryde 16%

Strathfield 16%

Cumberland 15%

Source: CoreLogic

SOURCE:

https://www.realestate.com.au/news/nearly-one-in-five-sellers-in-highrise-suburbs-lost-money/?rsf=syn:news:nca:dt:spa

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NSW moves too late on dodgy high-rise builders

NSW moves too late on dodgy high-rise builders

By Leith van Onselen in Australian Property

January 21 2020

After experiencing an unprecedented boom in high-rise apartment construction over the past decade:

And with flammable cladding and structural faults proliferating across Sydney, the NSW Government has finally taken action by giving the NSW Building Commissioner the power to block dodgy developers from building high-rise:

Designed to prevent repeats of the Opal and Mascot Towers ­crises, the reform package — likely to form a blueprint for a national ­industry shake-up — will grant sweeping powers to the NSW Building Commissioner to stop defective apartment blocks from being built, particularly if they are linked to contractors with poor track records…

The new regulations will for the first time rank builders, developers and certifiers according to their record on workplace safety, their track record on customer complaints, the age of their business, financial credibility, suspicions of phoenixing, and dozens of other metrics.

They would be given a score akin to a credit rating. Those with poor scores would be flagged on a database to ensure their practices were heavily scrutinised…

The reforms, while better than nothing, amount to shutting the gate long after the horse has already bolted.

Going by the ABS’ approvals data, around 200,000 high-rise apartments were built across NSW over the past decade, many of which likely contain faults.

The cost of rectification will be huge and will likely fall on both apartment owners and taxpayers alike, with most developers getting away scot-free.

The NSW Government is too late the hero and should never have allowed this situation to develop in the first place.

Perhaps we need a blitz on the politicians that allowed this mess to occur in the first place and have actively cheered on the boom?

Leith Van Onselen

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

SOURCE: https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/01/nsw-moves-too-late-on-dodgy-high-rise-builders/

NSW Government proposes ratings scorecard for builders to prevent construction disasters

A high rise tower in the distance with a road in the foreground.

PHOTO: The Opal Tower saga has sparked questions about the building industry (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

HOW likely is it that a ratings scorecard for builders will be adequate to ensure any protection for home buyers/owners? To prevent construction disasters?

HOW will a scorecard cut it? Seriously … HOW much damage will have been inflicted on many very ‘unfortunate’ apartment buyers before a Scorecard is available?

WHY not rewrite Australia’s Building Codes?

WHY not implement the Lambert and Weir/Shergold Reports?

AND ensure a Clerk of Works is on the job on every project!

A CASE in point is the ongoing difficulties for the buyers of the ‘Sugarcube Apartments and Honeycomb Terraces’ … the City of Sydney refused to allow residents to occupy the 127 homes since their completion in April 2018 due to the site being contaminated!

At 6 January 2020 City of Sydney reported in its Update that:

 ‘We’ll continue to work with the developer until we’re satisfied it
has taken all necessary steps to ensure the site is suitable for purchasers to move in
.’

VIEW: UPDATE 6 January 2020: Sugarcube Apartments and Honeycomb Terraces

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2020/01/21/update-6-january-2020-sugarcube-apartments-and-honeycomb-terraces/

AND …

To restore public confidence in apartments, rewrite Australia’s Building Codes

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2019/12/08/to-restore-public-confidence-in-apartments-rewrite-australias-building-codes/

Michael Lambert lambasts NSW Government over Building Defects!

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2019/01/16/7150/

NSW Government proposes ratings scorecard for builders to prevent construction disasters

By Jessica Kidd

21 JANUARY 20202

RELATED STORY: New twist in Opal Tower saga as builder launches counter lawsuit

RELATED STORY: ‘Absolutely devastating’: Mascot Towers cracks getting bigger, report finds

RELATED STORY: How to avoid living in a ‘lemon’ — what you need to know before buying an apartment

RELATED STORY: What lies beneath the cracks in Opal Tower — and buildings across Australia

The NSW Government wants to introduce a range of measures to clamp down on dodgy developers and prevent a repeat of the Opal and Mascot towers cracking crises.

Key points:

  • As part of the proposal, builders would be rated on the quality of their previous work
  • People would be blocked from occupying buildings that are deemed dodgy
  • Sydney’s construction industry has been under the microscope since the Opal Tower and Mascot Towers were evacuated

The Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, is proposing several reforms designed to revive faith in the building industry.

“There is a real lack of confidence in the NSW construction industry,” he said.

“We’re seeing people second-guess themselves when they do go to look at buying off the plan — they want to have confidence.”

He wants to introduce a risk rating system for builders, certifiers and developers that would score them on the quality of their previous projects to weed out the dodgy operators.

“At present … there is really nothing that sets anyone apart when you’re either doing a good job or a bad job,” he said.

“What we want to be able to do is set up a system to weed out those who do the wrong thing — those who cut corners, those who cut costs, those who sign contracts and then screw the contractors down whether it be on price or on quality.

An apartment block

PHOTO: The 132-unit Mascot Towers building was evacuated last June. (AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

Under the proposed reforms, the state’s Building Commissioner, David Chandler, would be able to examine any operator found to have a risky rating and would have the power to block a building’s occupation certificate if the project is deemed potentially dangerous.

Without an occupation certificate, a building cannot be occupied and a developer would be forced to refund deposits.

Labor’s spokeswoman for building reform, Yasmin Catley, said the proposed regulations do not go far enough.

“The bill looks to beef up enforcement, which of course is important, but that is not going to fix the problem,” she said.

“You need compliance, boots on the ground checking that critical building milestones have been built well.

“It is a shame that all the Government can bring to the table is a mechanism to rank builders.”

The proposed reforms would require the NSW Parliament to pass the Government’s Design and Building Practitioners Bill, which is currently being held up in the Upper House.

Mr Anderson said he hoped to get the bill passed when Parliament resumes this year.

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-21/nsw-government-proposes-new-construction-crackdown/11884852

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UPDATE 6 January 2020: Sugarcube Apartments and Honeycomb Terraces

City of Sydney NewsBusinessEnvironmentPlanning & buildingArts & cultureCity lifeBetter streets and spaces

THE CITY OF SYDNEY … CONCLUSION …

We’ll continue to work with the developer until we’re satisfied it
has taken all necessary steps to ensure the site is suitable for purchasers to move in.

For more information, contact the City on 02 9265 9333.Erskineville

Last updated 6 January 2020.

RELATED ARTICLE … ‘TOXIC SECRET KEPT FROM OWNERS OF ERSKINEVILLE UNITS

 / CAA4NSW / 

HOW likely is it that an ‘acceptable’ outcome will be achieved for the residents unless the City of Sydney persists with its strong stand?

More than a year has passed since completion and the developer has neither resolved nor addressed the contamination issues!

Read more …

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2019/07/19/toxic-secret-kept-from-owners-of-erskineville-units/

City of Sydney

 

 

 

An update on Sugarcube Apartments and Honeycomb Terraces

The latest information on the Erskineville development.

We approved the construction of Sugarcube Apartments and Honeycomb Terraces in the old Ashmore industrial precinct in Erskineville in September 2015.

This approval came with strict conditions, the developer, Golden Rain, had to follow before starting construction.

These conditions required the developer to remediate the site due to contaminated groundwater and the presence of heavy metals, hydrocarbons and asbestos.

The remediation had to be carried out in accordance with a remediation action plan approved by an independent site auditor.

We contend that the developer began construction without meeting all these conditions.

The developer also proposed a number of environmental management plans that would make the City of Sydney and future residents responsible for ongoing monitoring of the site.

How the City of Sydney responded

We met with Golden Rain on numerous occasions. This included a review of environmental data and discussions with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA)-accredited site auditor.

On 20 August 2019, we wrote to Golden Rain and suggested:

  • environmental insurance be investigated to cover any future rehabilitation costs
  • revised environmental management plans for the terraces, apartments and public roads
  • modification of the existing development consent to incorporate the 3 revised environmental management plans
  • Golden Rain provide a clear strategy for maintenance of the vapour barrier system installed under the terraces to capture and divert vapours from the groundwater.

Further site testing

The EPA issued a letter to Golden Rain on 3 September 2019 advising of the potential migration of contaminated groundwater to neighbouring properties.

The EPA told the developer it needed further testing referred to as “flux-based groundwater assessments” to address this issue.

Golden Rain’s consultants prepared a report on 22 October 2019, which the site auditor reviewed on 26 October 2019.

The site auditor required numerous matters to be addressed in the report and for it to be revised and resubmitted by Golden Rain.

On 7 November 2019, Golden Rain advised us it was finalising the revised flux testing report for resubmission to the site auditor and EPA.

Golden Rain also advised it has carried out further work on the remediation action plan, the 3 environmental management plans and a strategy for the operation of the terrace vapour barrier system.

EPA response – December 2019

The EPA has advised that neighbouring properties and future occupiers of the site aren’t at risk, provided the contamination is managed on an ongoing basis by long-term environmental management plans.

The EPA also provided a report setting out the requirements that need to be considered as part of the environmental management plans to be adopted. On this basis, the EPA advised that it considers it unnecessary to regulate the site under the Contaminated Lands Management Act 1997 (“CLM Act”).

What happens next

Golden Rain updated the City on 20 December 2019 and indicated a path forward following the response from the EPA. Golden Rain advised us it intends to:

  • lodge a modification application in January 2020 to amend the terms of the development consent and voluntary planning agreement to permit the staged occupation of the site, starting with Sugarcube Apartments and followed by Honeycomb Terraces at a later time
  • provide an addendum to the remediation action plan for the site
  • provide an updated risk assessment for the Honeycomb Terraces
  • provide a strategy for a community title of the Honeycomb Terraces.

Golden Rain also provided us with an updated environmental management plan for the Sugarcube Apartments building.

We’re currently awaiting further documentation. It’s expected that the modification application will need to be publicly notified for a 2-week period.

Any approved environmental management plans will need to be listed as a positive covenant on land titles.

What the purchasers of these apartments can do

We understand this has been an incredibly frustrating experience for the purchasers of these units and terraces.

Purchasers are encouraged to seek their own legal advice if they’re concerned about the ongoing contamination issue.

We’re aiming for a solution that doesn’t negatively impact future residents and the public for many years to come.

We’ll continue to work with the developer until we’re satisfied it has taken all necessary steps to ensure the site is suitable for purchasers to move in.

For more information, contact the City on 02 9265 9333.Erskineville

Posted 20 August 2019. Last updated 6 January 2020.

SOURCE: https://news.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/articles/an-update-on-sugarcube-apartments-and-honeycomb-terraces

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‘Angry, depressed’: Owners in dire straits years after roof ripped off: Lidcombe

A development c/- a developer and a former Liberal politician, Ronney Oueik

The Lidcombe building owners are paying strata levies of up to $12,000 a year on average, up from about $3000, after they collectively took out a $2.5 million loan to repair the block, which suffered further water damage in June 2016 from another storm because it was still without a roof five months after it was torn

IT seems that ‘political donations’ may lead to a form of protection for the perpetrators of defective development … what a grubby business …

RELATED ARTICLES…

NSW Liberals ordered to Repay $250,000 in Unlawful Election Donations

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/nsw-liberals-ordered-to-repay-250-000-in-unlawful-election-donations-20180227-p4z20c.html?fbclid=IwAR2erJTn7ZCZNO1FXHJe-_xd6YIqUBUjsTdadrlVuFa-rILD4PbutBuMEPI

AIG claimed the roof of the building, which was developed by controversial Auburn councillor Ronney Oueik, contained structural defects and the storm was not the cause.

Auburn Council approved the modifications in 2008.

Auburn Council takes legal action against its own councillor Ronney Oueik

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/auburn-council-takes-legal-action-against-its-own-councillor-ronney-oueik-20160303-gn9ayp.html#ixzz431BOTgp0

“Former Auburn councillor and Mr Mehajer’s political nemesis Irene Simms said the financial pain may not be over yet.

“I have counted 19 court cases since the wedding,” she said.
Ms Simms is pushing for a state government inquiry into the council to tackle a major, state-government approved rezoning of the Auburn local government area.

The sweeping changes raised the height limits on buildings owned by Mr Mehajer and his council ally Ronney Oueik.

“This is where these two own all their properties and [the changes] were worth millions, possibly tens of millions,” Ms Simms said.

Salim Mehajer misses debt deadlines and mortgages family property

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/salim-mehajer-misses-debt-deadlines-and-mortgages-family-property-20160324-gnq96y.html

CHOICE: Apartment Building Defects

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2019/01/23/7438/

‘Angry, depressed’: Owners in dire straits years after roof ripped off

Matt O'Sullivan
By Matt O’Sullivan

Leave a comment

Robin Son had planned to move out of his parents’ West Ryde home soon after he bought an apartment in a Lidcombe building in late 2014.

But ever since a storm ripped off the building’s roof in January 2016, causing millions of dollars in damages, the 34-year-old has been unable to afford to move with his wife into the two-bedroom apartment they poured their savings into.

Instead, they have been forced to rent it out so they can cover strata fees, which have soared five-fold to pay for the building’s repairs, and a large mortgage.

Robin Son, left, Mihi Chung and other owners of the Lidcombe apartment building.
Robin Son, left, Mihi Chung and other owners of the Lidcombe apartment building.CREDIT:EDWINA PICKLES

Their financial predicament is similar to other owners in the Water Street building. It was developed and constructed by a company whose director was Ronney Oueik, a property developer and former Liberal politician on the now defunct Auburn council.

“The government says there is nothing they can do; the builder says it’s not their fault; and the insurer says it is the builder’s fault,” Mr Son said.

“Thinking about it just makes me angry and depressed.”

The owners launched legal action more than a year ago against Mr Oueik, his company BBC Developments and Cumberland Council – the successor to Auburn council – under consumer law seeking more than $10 million in damages.

They claim there were defects in the roof and BBC and Mr Oueik, who was its director and the nominated supervisor of its contractor licence, knew the structural stability of the roof had not been considered in its design or during inspections or certification. The company is alleged to have not informed the owners of this when they purchased their apartments.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Mr Oueik in his role on the council.

The roof of the Water Street apartment building was ripped off in a storm in January 2016.
The roof of the Water Street apartment building was ripped off in a storm in January 2016.CREDIT:JAMES ALCOCK

New legislation aimed at increasing protections for owners will be of little help to those in the Lidcombe building – if passed in its present form – due to exemptions.

While it will establish a duty of care between a builder and a purchaser, it will not apply to the owners because they have a legal case under way and their building – completed in September 2008 – is older than 10 years.

“There is no law that is on our side. This [Design and Building Practitioners] bill is a step in the right direction but these exemptions do not help,” said Phil Thai, an owner and chair of the building’s strata committee.

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said the Lidcombe owners predicament highlights inadequacies in changes to building laws proposed by the government to remedy the situation.

Mike Baird, at the time Premier, on the 2015 campaign trail in Auburn with the Liberal Party's then candidate Ronney Oueik, a former Auburn councillor.
Mike Baird, at the time Premier, on the 2015 campaign trail in Auburn with the Liberal Party’s then candidate Ronney Oueik, a former Auburn councillor.CREDIT:BRENDAN ESPOSITO

“Why would you protect some owners and not others. The protections should be provided for anything that has been built following this disastrous experiment with private certification,” he said.

The Lidcombe building owners are paying strata levies of up to $12,000 a year on average, up from about $3000, after they collectively took out a $2.5 million loan to repair the block, which suffered further water damage in June 2016 from another storm because it was still without a roof five months after it was torn off.

Owner Mihi Chung, 59, said she had planned to retire in five years but would now be forced to work longer. “It is too much stress. I cannot sleep sometimes,” she said. “Nobody is helping us.”

Another owner and church minister, Yeon Sil Ha, has taken on a second job as a cleaner to help pay about $3200 in strata fees.

RELATED ARTICLE

Workers survey and make temporary repairs to 14-22 Water Street, Lidcombe, in February.
EXCLUSIVE

Insurer rejects storm-damaged Lidcombe apartment building claim because of numerous defects

But Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson accused Labor and the Greens of hijacking the Design and Building Practitioners Bill, which passed the lower house last year but not the upper house, by demanding “unrelated amendments”.

Cumberland Council said the matter was “inherited from the former Auburn council” and denied any liability in respect of the alleged loss. It declined to comment further.

Mr Oueik said he did not want to comment on the case because it was before the court.

Matt O’Sullivan

Matt O’Sullivan is City Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Robin Son, left, Mihi Chung and other owners of the Lidcombe apartment building.

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/angry-depressed-owners-in-dire-straits-years-after-roof-ripped-off-20200113-p53r1l.html

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Jordan Springs East: Lendlease will assist homeowners

UPDATE …

RELATED ARTICLE: NSW Government offers to help investigate sinking homes in Jordan Springs East

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2020/01/10/nsw-government-offers-to-help-investigate-sinking-homes-in-jordan-springs-east/?fbclid=IwAR0Yny-UyoyLaNkeeHQjXRxpGR-CsDqgKf3KWQGdfUXKGzIBS1NNZqKeBjw

Jordan Springs East: Lendlease will assist homeowners

Lendlease has come clean on the full scale of a sinking homes crisis affecting scores of residents at a housing development in Sydney’s west.

Joel Erickson, EXCLUSIVE, Penrith PressSubscriber only|January 18, 2020 7:00am

Cracks in the walls of a house near Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East. Lendlease says the house is repairable, and the cracks shouldn't reappear.
Cracks in the walls of a house near Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East. Lendlease says the house is repairable, and the cracks shouldn’t reappear.

The number of homes affected by ground settlement issues including sinking and cracking in a new housing estate has jumped to almost 40.

Developer Lendlease has revealed 38 houses near Armoury Rd have been affected by ground settlement issues in a parcel of land at Jordan Springs East. So far, three homes have been demolished or building halted while in the process of being completed.

Residents have reported at least one of the homes having a visible lean before it was knocked down.

The ground settlement – vertical movement of the ground – also caused a sinkhole in Armoury Rd which had to be blocked off for months to repair.

James Diamond and his young family moved into a house on Armoury Rd in December.

“We’ve got little cracks in our home already, which we wouldn’t have expected this quickly,” Mr Diamond said.

Cracks in the walls of a house near Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East. Lendlease says the house is repairable, and the cracks shouldn't reappear.
Cracks in the walls of a house near Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East. Lendlease says the house is repairable, and the cracks shouldn’t reappear.

“I still remember when someone mentioned the road sinking, so I came out and had a look.

“I noticed the single-storey house they demolished last month was on an angle – you could visibly see it listing.

“There was a bad sinkhole in the road as well. It felt like driving off a cliff – you almost lost your stomach.”

Navy Rd resident Sandeep Kumar has had issues with his driveway. Picture: Richard Dobson
Navy Rd resident Sandeep Kumar has had issues with his driveway. Picture: Richard Dobson
Dirt underneath Sandeep Kumar’s driveway has fallen a foot.
Dirt underneath Sandeep Kumar’s driveway has fallen a foot.

Navy Rd resident Sandeep Kumar, who lives nearby on Navy Rd, said the land in his frontyard had sunk more than a foot since he first moved into his home about 12 months ago.

He said Lendlease had checked for cracks inside his house, which they did not find, but didn’t address the sinking land under his driveway.

“I had to use two tonnes of soil just to fill the sinkage, and it’s not just me,” he said.

“The two houses up from me have similar problems.”

Lendlease’s senior development manager, Kevin Montier, said the company first became aware of ground settlement issues in April, 2018.

“There are 38 homes that have some evidence of issue,” he said. “It was evident that there were properties immediately adjacent to ground settlement at Armoury Rd.

“There were six properties there that we knew to be affected, including the one that was demolished recently and one that was immediately opposite it that was under construction.

“The builder chose to demolish that property while it was under construction, and there was another property adjacent that was also stopped by the builders.”

Lendlease has revealed 38 houses have been impacted by ground settlement in Jordan Springs East, including three that were demolished on Armoury Rd. Picture: AAP Image/Angelo Velardo.
Lendlease has revealed 38 houses have been impacted by ground settlement in Jordan Springs East, including three that were demolished on Armoury Rd. Picture: AAP Image/Angelo Velardo.

Mr Montier said the issues were exacerbated when a temporary detention basin rose due to a blockage at the end of 2018.

“Following the heavy rain events at the end of 2018 and early 2019, it brought to our attention there was some further movement due to the fact the basin was allowed to elevate in level,” he said.

“That’s been fixed, and we’re sure it’s not an ongoing issue and won’t repeat, but essentially that meant we took a proactive approach into looking at whether there were more properties affected.”

The empty lot on Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East, where a house was demolished late last month. Armoury Rd is now open to traffic.
The empty lot on Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East, where a house was demolished late last month. Armoury Rd is now open to traffic.

Works to fix Armoury Rd are now complete, and the road was reopened on January 17.

Mr Montier said Lendlease would offer a 15-year commitment to any homeowners affected by ground settlement including covering the cost of all repairs.

“It’s understandable that people are concerned,” he said.

“The key for us is the customer-first approach. We’re very mindful of how sensitive and personal this is, so we want to make sure we’re there standing by the customer.

“We need to be ensuring we’re covering all their costs as affected by ground settlement, and also making sure their safety is foremost.

“We want to make sure people are comfortable and that Jordan Springs East remains a great place to live.”

SOURCE: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/penrith-press/jordan-springs-residents-fear-their-homes-could-be-sinking/news-story/36847d6b1cbf3b208d9eec9666cde75f

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Cracked towers spark widespread safety fears about high rises: poll

EXTRACT … LVO from MACRO BUSINESS … assessment

HIGH-RISE Apartments continue to mushroom across Sydney

An Ipsos poll of residents for advocacy group the Committee for Sydney found the quality of construction and the structural integrity of towers were by far their biggest safety concerns, followed by fears of becoming trapped in a fire…

Of those surveyed, 36 per cent were concerned and 48 per cent a little concerned about the structural integrity of high-rises. Only 16 per cent did not have any safety concerns…

-almost three in five – notably homeowners, retirees and those 50 and over – felt “a lot more negative” towards developers

support for greater density in people’s own suburbs has dropped

-a third of those surveyed were supportive, down from 40 per cent in 2018

Sydney’s population to balloon by 1700 people a week for the next 50 years

huge volume of apartments to be built very quickly; thus corners cut and build quality compromised

CAAN: As a community let your local MPs know you want a cutback to the prior sustainable immigration of 70,000 people annually, and no Visa Manipulation (migration by the backdoor) with some 400,000 calling Australia home each year!

VIEW: https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/01/84-of-sydneysiders-concerned-about-high-rise-build-quality/

Cracked towers spark widespread safety fears about high rises: poll

Matt O'Sullivan
By Matt O’Sullivan

January 13, 2020

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Eight in 10 Sydneysiders have safety concerns about the structural soundness of high-rise apartment buildings in the wake of the crisis sparked by the cracked Opal and Mascot towers.

An Ipsos poll of residents for advocacy group the Committee for Sydney found the quality of construction and the structural integrity of towers were by far their biggest safety concerns, followed by fears of becoming trapped in a fire. Both easily outranked crime as major concerns.

The cracked Mascot Towers has stoked safety concerns about high-rise buildings.
The cracked Mascot Towers has stoked safety concerns about high-rise buildings.CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL

Retirees, people aged 50 and over, home owners and women are more concerned than the average of those polled about high-rise building safety, while men, high-income earners and those living in towers are less worried.

Of those surveyed, 36 per cent were concerned and 48 per cent a little concerned about the structural integrity of high-rises. Only 16 per cent did not have any safety concerns.

The poll shows the recent structural defects in high-rises have dented people’s perceptions of the developers behind the buildings. Almost three in five – notably homeowners, retirees and those 50 and over – felt “a lot more negative” towards developers due to the problems.

Play video1:39Opal tower residents out of pocket

Man missing in Daintree rainforest found

Opal Tower’s owners corporation is claiming that some residents are still out of pocket and is demanding the builder pays up.

Karen Stiles, the executive officer of the non-profit Owners Corporation Network, said there needed to be “root and branch reform” of the building industry to restore public confidence.

“We need rigour in the system to ensure that buildings are delivered fit for purpose,” she said.

Severe cracking in the Opal Tower at Olympic Park in December 2018, and the evacuation from Mascot Towers six months later, have stoked public concerns. Of the four in five people aware of the problems, 91 per cent said they were a little or a lot more concerned.

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Committee for Sydney chief executive Gabriel Metcalf said the appointment of a building commissioner in August, and reforms to make it easier for people who bought defective properties to seek damages, were important steps towards restoring confidence. “However, all parties – government, industry, regulators – must work to rebuild public confidence,” he said.

A NSW parliamentary inquiry into building standards will also resume next month.

The representative sample of 1000 Sydney residents shows younger people are more likely than retirees and those 50 and over to support greater housing density.

Mr Metcalf said it reflected a global pattern where younger people were choosing the convenience of denser living over suburban areas. This meant demand for “in-city living” would keep increasing.

The highest support for greater urban density is in satellite centres such as Parramatta, Liverpool and Chatswood, and outer suburbs within the Hills District and the Sutherland Shire, while the lowest support is in the CBD and inner city.

CAAN: Parramatta, Liverpool and Chatswood are populated largely by immigrants and Visa holders. Chatswood is a city being built by Chinese Communist Party money (View CAAN Website for audio of David Lee, GeoPolitical Strategist on Chatswood)

Also in discussion with Australian Millennials as they enter their 30s they tend to desire a small cottage with a yard rather than an apartment

Support for greater urban density is stronger in Parramatta and other 'satellite centres'.
Support for greater urban density is stronger in Parramatta and other ‘satellite centres’.CREDIT:SALTY DINGO

With Sydney experiencing a boom in apartment buildings in the past decade, support for greater density in people’s own suburbs has dropped. A third of those surveyed were supportive, down from 40 per cent in 2018.

The survey found people rated the best aspects of high-density living as convenience and cheaper housing, while the worst were the crowded nature of developments and neighbours.

It also revealed confusion about the meaning of the term “medium density”, a term that prompted descriptions ranging from townhouses and apartments to low-rise buildings.

CAAN: Medium-density was originally the description given to apartment blocks of 4, 5 or 6 storeys.

We have seen articles about the Medium-Density Housing Code also including these apartment blocks along with terraces, townhouses, manor houses, villas. triplex and duplex …

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/cracked-towers-spark-widespread-safety-fears-about-high-rises-poll-20200106-p53p7n.html

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Combustible cladding removal costs leave Melbourne apartment owners in a bind

THE Victorian Government has coughed up with a $600M package to fix buildings with combustible cladding … but its hands are tied … its means are restricted … how can it surmount an OBSTACLE not of its creation … but one from a greater height … ?

IS this CLADDING CRISIS, a consequence of DEREGULATION … the loss of Australian Standardscutting ‘Red Tape’ …. and Federal Government Policies … a Building Boom that was unable to keep up with the supply for its Foreign Demand … so industry-wide they fast-tracked by the use of cheap combustible cladding … to make a Motzer … ?

AND in order to maintain their coffers … to ensure the foreign demand … and the ‘hot money’ … the Property Titans annointed the author of their Property Council of Australia (the PCA) Policy to the highest office in the Land

*AND that’s perhaps WHY the deviloper crims have got off Scott-free from the cost of removal and replacement of the dangerous dodgy combustible material thousands of ’em across Australia … as they continue to Phoenix their companies too! …

Combustible cladding removal costs leave Melbourne apartment owners in a bind

By state political reporter Bridget Rollason

26 DECEMBER 2019

Anais Wood in her kitchen preparing to pour water into two glasses.

PHOTO: Anais Wood did not even know what cladding was until she received her notice from the council. (ABC News)

RELATED STORY: This plumber’s empty pool is just one small part of a building industry crisis

RELATED STORY: Victoria to spend $600m to strip flammable cladding from hundreds of buildings

RELATED STORY: Melbourne apartment buildings to be re-checked for flammable cladding in wake of tower fire

Anais Wood saved up for years to buy her dream home, but it quickly became one of the worst decisions of her life.

Key points:

  • Ms Wood will have to foot a huge bill to remove combustible cladding
  • She, like many other property owners, faces prosecution if she does not comply
  • An agency set up to support building owners says there is too little money to help them all

The 26-year-old moved into her apartment in Melbourne’s south-east last year, but two months later she was told the building was covered in combustible cladding, which could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove.

Months after the Victorian Government set up a new body to foot the bill for cladding rectification works, Ms Wood will have to get rid of the dangerous material at her own expense.

She received a letter from her local council that stated she had five months to remove the cladding it described as a “danger to life”, or she faced criminal conviction.

Michelle Wood (left) and Anais Wood (right) stand close together outside Anais Wood's apartment building.

PHOTO: Michelle and Anais Wood are shocked at how much money they must now find. (ABC News: Bridget Rollason)

But the organisation set up to support building owners in her position, Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV), said Ms Wood’s situation was not dangerous enough to qualify her for compensation.

“I didn’t even know what cladding actually meant when I received the notice,” Ms Wood said.

“It took me years to find what I was looking for, I finally found my perfect home but basically from day dot it’s been a nightmare.”

Ms Wood’s mother, Michelle, has been trying to help her daughter deal with the stress and confusion.

“It was pretty upsetting for her having bought her first apartment and to be faced with something like this — we had absolutely no idea of the costs or to what extent the building was covered in cladding,” she said.

“We are going to have to come up with the funds to have this cladding removed because we’ve been told we’ll get absolutely no funding at all, because there just isn’t enough money to cover everybody.”

The outside of an apartment building with combustible cladding.

PHOTO: A local council called the cladding on this building a “danger to life”. (ABC News)

Michelle Wood said they had received one quote for $40,000 for the removal, and another quote for the same project for more than $200,000.

“It’s very stressful because we don’t know if we are going to be ripped off,” she said.

“Morally we don’t believe we should have to fund it, it’s not the owner’s problem that the cladding was put on there — you rely on the correct authorities to make the right decisions in relation to the building and building materials.”

Retiree faces loss of super to fix cladding

In July, the Victorian Government announced a $600 million package to fix buildings with dodgy cladding.

It set up CSV to oversee the process.

A new building levy, which could see permit costs for apartment developments in Melbourne rise significantly, will come into force on January 1 to cover the costs of the cladding removal program.

But many homeowners still cannot get compensation, with councils threatening court action if they do not fork out for the repairs.

*CAAN: ALERT for Boomers/Retirees looking to ‘DOWNSIZE’ …not only are you giving devilopers more opportunities to ‘house bank’ our streets to build for money launderers … but you may end up far worse off … Read more! *

*Graham Arvidson sold his family home of 37 years to retire to a townhouse near the beach at Carrum, in Melbourne’s south-east.

A few months later, he learnt it was covered with combustible cladding and was assessed to be a high-risk building.

“It’s greatly devalued our property,” Mr Arvidson said.

“Rather than the superannuation we have worked hard for to be used to live, we’re going to have to pay for the replacement of the cladding.”

Graham Arvidson stands in front of a wall outside his property wearing a t-shirt and cap.

PHOTO: Graham Arvidson thinks it is unlikely he will receive compensation. (ABC News: Bridget Rollason)

Mr Arvidson received a letter from his local council demanding the cladding be removed by December 22, or he would face huge fines.

He has requested an extension because he is yet to hear whether CSV will cover the costs — which he said was unlikely given his building was not in the highest risk category.

He is particularly worried about his safety during summer, as many neighbouring properties host barbeques over the festive season.

Victorians with lower-risk cladding told to sort it themselves

CSV plans to remove combustible cladding from 100 buildings a year, for the next five years.

Chief executive officer Dan O’Brien said there simply was not enough money to go around to cover every building in Victoria that has the cladding.

“We can’t deal with all buildings, so we are dealing with the highest-risk buildings,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The intention for us at this point in time is to focus on financial assistance for the higher-risk buildings.

“Those in the lower-risk categories are expected to undertake the works and fund it themselves.”

The Government has identified 15 buildings to be fixed first using the taxpayer funds, but has not revealed which ones.

“Those who don’t have buildings listed as extreme should work with their local council to see what needs to be done to meet the terms of the building notice,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It’s a difficult situation, but if it’s lower risk it probably means less needs to be done to make the building safer.”

VIDEO: Fire raced up flammable cladding on Melbourne’s Neo200 complex in February. (ABC News)

It is not known how many buildings with the cladding will not qualify for compensation funding, but a statewide audit has identified more than 850 properties deemed to be between extreme and moderate risk.

The Opposition’s planning spokesman Tim Smith said it was unfair homeowners had been left in limbo over Christmas.

“These people, through no fault of their own, are caught up in this terrible situation and now they’re being told that they can’t be helped by the Government,” Mr Smith said.

“Despite the fact the councils are telling them the building they live in is a danger to life, CSV and the Andrews Government say it’s not dangerous enough and you have to pay.

“I just don’t think that’s fair.”

Mr Smith said $600 million was not enough funding and the real cost of removing cladding from buildings in Victoria was more like $2.2 billion.

“The Government said they’d help everyone that was caught up in the cladding crisis,” he said.

“Instead they’ve said ‘you’re on your own’.”

Housing and Planning Minister Richard Wynne referred the ABC’s enquiries back to CSV.

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-26/flammable-combustible-cladding-homeowners-cant-get-compensation/11825288

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Another big developer bites the dust

Photo: Verve was building Coburg Quarter for Future Estate before its collapse at the end of October. 

Melbourne builder Verve Construction has joined apartment developers Ralan and Steller and and national building supplier SWC as a big property development casualty of 2019.

AT MACRO BUSINESS they are skeptical that a strong bounce in dwelling values will lift dwelling construction …

DUE to the extraordinary “defect crisis” that has swept east coast apartment markets with …

-the use of combustible cladding

-the rise of dodgy Chinese builders

phoenixing contruction firms

THE sheer unbridled pace of the last boom, has left a legacy of cracked foundations, towering infernos and shoddy workmanship across the sector.

-estimated remediation Bill $1 TRILLION

WITH SUCH A LEGACY of stalled buyer interest and suppressed lending into the apartment sector … S H A R E! … to maintain the RAGE to STOP the overdevelopment of Where We Live for Foreign Buyers with …

high-rise Precincts

-medium-density housing code of rows of terraces, townhouses, Manor Houses, villas, triplex, duplex …

I M P O R T A N T! SHARE … AND SHARE AGAIN!

Another big developer bites the dust

24 DECEMBER 2019

By David Llewellyn-Smith in Australian Economy

Via AFR:

Melbourne builder Verve Construction has joined apartment developers Ralan and Steller and and national building supplier SWC as a big property development casualty of 2019.

The Abbotsford-based company, owned by Robert Magdziarz, kept a relatively low profile but was undertaking several big apartment projects across Melbourne this year.

Adam Nikitins and Stewart McCallum of Ernst & Young were appointed joint liquidators at the end of October after Verve ran into financial and legal difficulties.

*It will get a lot worse before it gets better. The biggest single downside risk to the Australian economy is the downturn in construction activity.

Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF), basically net investment, was already falling in the year to September 2019, down 3.6% in total driven by a 4.7% decline across the private sector:

The main driver of the fall in private GFCF was dwelling construction, which fell by 10.6% year-over-year in the September quarter:

The outlook for residential construction remains dire in 2020, given both dwelling approvals and commencements have collapsed and completions have only just peaked:

Annual dwelling commencements are running 15% below their 2018 peak, whereas approvals are down 24%.  Both guarantee that dwelling construction will fall heavily into 2021.

Adding to the pain, infrastructure investment is also projected to decline in 2020 as the National Broadband Network (NBN) rolls-off:

Indeed, the latest Performance of Construction Index from the Australian Industry Group was a wipe-out, with all areas in deep contraction (i.e. below 50 points):

Yet to date, the construction bust (residential, in particular) has not translated into job losses.

In the year to August 2018, the number of Australians employed directly in construction increased to a near record high 1.2 million, accounting for 9.1% of total Australian jobs:

*However, as shown in the next chart from UBS, construction job ads have declined by around 30% commensurate with the decline in dwelling approvals – resulting in a “material drop in construction employment ahead”:

Australia’s authorities are hoping that the strong bounce in dwelling values will lift dwelling construction in due course. However we are skeptical that it can do so quickly or with any great substance.

The reason is the extraordinary “defect crisis” that has swept east coast apartment markets.

The use of flammable cladding, the rise of dodgy Chinese builders and “phoenixing” construction firms, and the shear unbridled pace of the last boom, has left a legacy of cracked foundations, towering infernos and shoddy workmanship across the sector.

*Estimates of the remediation bill for these defects run as high as $1 trillion.

This will leave a legacy of stalled buyer interest and suppressed lending into the apartment sector, and it was this segment that boomed so powerfully during the last cycle.

David Llewellyn-Smith

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

Apartments around the train station at Carlingford. Picture: Carmela Roche

Photo: Daily Telegraph: Carlingford near the railway station

Photo: Domain.com.au

SOURCE: https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/12/another-big-developer-bites-the-dust/

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Opal Tower residents home for Christmas but fight for compensation looms

KEY POINTS …

after spending $31 million Icon has confirmed all 392 apartments in the Olympic Park building are now re-occupied

-still issues to be resolved incl 10 weeks rental compensation

-superficial repairs to continue until April 2020

-a class action suit launched by residents led to Icon blaming the engineer WSP; WSP launching a counter claim against the precast wall panel company

Opal Tower residents home for Christmas but fight for compensation looms

 

UPDATED 19 DECEMBER 2019

By Nick Sas

A man cuddles his tiny dog in his kitchen

PHOTO: Brian Jones and his dog Rambo were forced to flee their Opal Tower home last Christmas Eve. (ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

RELATED STORY: ‘Absolute stupidity’: Opal Tower’s multi-million-dollar repair bill revealed

RELATED STORY: How to avoid living in a ‘lemon’ — what you need to know before buying an apartment

RELATED STORY: What lies beneath the cracks in Opal Tower — and buildings across Australia

Brian Jones remembers it like yesterday.

Christmas Eve, 2018. A crack. An evacuation.

Sirens, fire engines. Police.

And for some, fear a building was about to collapse.

But there is another reason it sticks in his memory; his dog Rambo does not like alarms.

“The noise is too much for his little ears,” he said.

Mr Jones owns an apartment on level 29 of Sydney’s Opal Tower — now arguably Australia’s most infamous residential building.

On Tuesday, Christmas Eve, when most of Australia will be wrapping presents and recalling past Christmases, Opal Tower residents will be remembering something else: the day they were evacuated from their homes.

Many owners spent months in temporary accommodation, an ordeal described as a “nightmare” and a “disaster”, as they waited for repairs to be finished.

Scaffolding on the Opal Tower exterior

PHOTO: Superficial repairs are expected to continue at Opal Tower until April. (ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Finally home but promises yet to be delivered

A year on and, after spending $31 million, the builder Icon has confirmed all 392 apartments in the Olympic Park building are now re-occupied.

But what Icon describes as “superficial” repairs are ongoing and they will continue until April.

And conflicts remain.

“The lives of everyone in this tower were turned upside down,” Opal Tower owner and body corporate chair Shady Eskander said.

Mr Eskander, a pharmacist who has become the unofficial spokesperson for the residents, said for the most part, Icon’s approach had been admirable.

A man against a city skyline

PHOTO: Shady Eskander, Opal Tower apartment owner and body corporate chair, says he wants Icon to keep its promises. (ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

But he said there were still issues to be resolved, such as previously promised 10-week rental compensation.

“Our backs are being scraped,” he said.

“We have worked hard, we have gone to the banks to get a mortgage, we have come and given our hard-earned money to developers, to the State Government with stamp duty.

“We need to learn what happened here at Opal Tower.

“And we need to ensure those promises are kept and that we are able to ensure no owner here goes out of pocket for an issue that was no fault of their own.”

Opal probably ‘safest in the world’ now

A class action suit launched by residents in July is also complicating matters.

It has turned into a blame game, with Icon blaming the engineer, WSP, which in turn has launched a counter-claim against the company that fabricated the precast wall panels.

Legal experts predict the battle will play out well into 2021.

Visiting the site yesterday, Icon chief executive Nicholas Brown said he could not comment on the class action suit or the rental compensation claim as it was part of the class action.

He said the company had been there since “day one” and was committed to getting the best result for owners and residents.

“There are other incidents like this where the builder has vanished,” he said.

“We didn’t. Hopefully people will look back on how we acted.”

Icon chief Nicholas Brown looking out the window in Opal Tower.

PHOTO: Icon chief Nicholas Brown said the company was committed to getting the best results for owners and residents. (ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Mr Brown said the company was doing cosmetic repairs such as painting and landscaping, which it expected to finish by April 2020.

“Our structural work is complete, and we’ve started dropping the scaffolding now,” he said.

Back on level 29, Mr Jones said he was trying to be optimistic about the value of his apartment, which he bought for $980,000, and the building which he said was probably now “the safest in the world”.

“No-one would probably want to buy here at the moment,” he said.

“But real estate is a long-term game.

“And I think over time people will regain confidence in what this building has undergone.

“It’ll be a game of patience.”

More on this story: