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Beyond the expected

Foreshore furore

By johnboy 27 November 2008 28

[First filed: September 16, 2008 @ 10:26]

The CT brings word that all is not well in the Kingston Foreshore with the fit and finish not quite matching the price tags:

    Owners of expensive new apartments in Kingston are battling developers, with complaints including leaking roofs, flooded basements and equipment failures.

    Body corporate representatives at The Landmark, The Viridian and The Gateway, where two-bedroom apartments command more than $460,000, say they believe the paying of private certifiers by developers who approve buildings is fundamentally flawed.

    Landmark apartment owners spokesman Gary Petherbridge said developers banked on owners not kicking up a fuss because it would undermine property values and problems were widespread.

Is it wrong to take a little bit of smug satisfaction from calamities befalling the owners of high priced yuppy-boxes?

UPDATED: 2604 has added a postscript:

    Just as a post-scriptum to this: Bovis have, inexplicably, come to the party. They are meeting with all residents to inspect unit defects and will then set about rectifying them. I had my inspection yesterday and they seem very genuine.

    Nice to see someone taking responsibility for their mistakes and looking to make amends.


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Foreshore furore
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miz 6:33 pm 27 Nov 08

Bovis are doing the prison! I wonder how strong the walls are . . .

hax 12:11 pm 27 Nov 08

your gonna be spending a shitload anyway and once again in the long term it really will be worth it to maybe extend yourself a little bitt and go with quality than go for the cheap crap and be replacing stuff left right and centre within 3 or 4 years.

good advice!

People assume builders are out to rip them off and make bigger profits, so they don’t listen when advised by the expert it would be better to do something a certain way (which might cost a little bit more to do) etc

People who say they don’t have enough time to do their research – sorry but you spend more time looking at everything else you buy, why not make time for the most expensive thing you’ll probably ever purchase?!! (crazy)

poptop 8:26 am 27 Nov 08

Good going Bovis! This sort of response is a rare event and should be celebrated accordingly.

2604 9:14 pm 26 Nov 08

Just as a post-scriptum to this: Bovis have, inexplicably, come to the party. They are meeting with all residents to inspect unit defects and will then set about rectifying them. I had my inspection yesterday and they seem very genuine.

Nice to see someone taking responsibility for their mistakes and looking to make amends.

2604 1:39 am 20 Sep 08

seanneko said :

I’m glad that I saw this – I was intending to move into the Viridian (renting, not buying) in the very near future, but I might need to reconsider.

Does anyone who knows the area better than me know if all of the buildings around there are duds, or is it just some?

The Viridian is okay – my sister rented there happily for over a year. Her one-bedroom-plus-study, loft-style place was great – well-designed and roomy enough, no quality issues at all.

Dude, not all of the apartments in these complexes have problems – they generally have 0% vacancy rate, and as mentioned above, mine is fine quality-wise.

tylersmayhem 3:55 pm 17 Sep 08

@mutley: All I can suggest to you Mutley is when you finally find a tradie to come and give you a quote, wear your best suit and tie.

mutley 10:28 am 17 Sep 08

While on the subject of builders, can anyone recommend one for renovations? We’re looking at getting an ensuite added, a couple of walls knocked out and some bigger doors put in.

lula 10:26 am 17 Sep 08

If I could ever afford to buy a house I would definitely go for something ‘old canberra’. Those places are tried and true and will keep on truckin’. Not to mention they actually have character.

tylersmayhem 9:59 am 17 Sep 08

The product Builders Bog *TM was designed for the shoddy workmanship that in now today’s industry. They use it by the bloody truckload!

justbands 9:44 am 17 Sep 08

> i work in the domestic construction industry and would only buy a new house from maybe 3 builders in the ACT who i trust.

Maybe you could let us know which ones they are? I know of one I trust to do a good job….but they’re family, so I’d better not comment. 🙂

seanneko 9:14 am 17 Sep 08

I’m glad that I saw this – I was intending to move into the Viridian (renting, not buying) in the very near future, but I might need to reconsider.

Does anyone who knows the area better than me know if all of the buildings around there are duds, or is it just some?

Duke 8:39 pm 16 Sep 08

@2604 – thanks for giving us the inside scoop, please come back and tell us what the results were.

@Luke79 – you speak the truth! I’m looking at purchasing a flat and it’s the ones built 30 years ago that are of the best quality. Beneath a thin coat of paint these new developments are so cheap and nasty – total slap-up jobs!

ant 7:58 pm 16 Sep 08

Working families need to make time. To at least ask for specifics of the construction, go have a look at the building work (if buying off plan), talk to any one they can. Public servants turn to jelly when dealing with tradesmen, the government is toothless against these people.

Years and years ago, we were keeping an eye on a friend’s new house going up in Tuggeranong while he was working out of town, and I was gobsmacked at the flimsyness of it all. The sticks they were using for the framing was this thin stuff, and yes I know it’s in the code but they single-nogged everything. The roof trusses were made to sit level on the top plates by gouging out the wood! And packing where necessary. Windows were jammed in and wedged with bits of offcuts, not even square. It was slap-dash.

teepee 7:14 pm 16 Sep 08

The smug pleasure at other people’s misfortune is pretty ugly. We are not all trained builders and construction professionals. With all the red tape around planning and construction these days, people are entitled to presume they will not get sold a product that is below regulatory standards. Yes it’s ideal to check every clause in the contract and micro-manage details of all products and methods used in construction, but how many working couples with kids have time on their hands for that?

2604 6:28 pm 16 Sep 08

I own and live in an apartment in the Gateway at Kingston Foreshore.

The problem isn’t with building certifiers per se, but with the concentration of builders in the Canberra market. While there might be 30-40 builders in Sydney or Melbourne with the capacity to build large-scale office and residential construction projects, there are only around ten in Canberra who can do it. The 300-pound gorilla of them is Bovis, which probably does 20-30 per cent of such work here. Bovis built both the Gateway and the Landmark.

Purchasers of new dwellings in the ACT have a 6-year statutory defects liability period. When problems first started to emerge at the Gateway, we attempted to get a building certifier or engineer to come and inspect the building and write a defects report which we could then take to Bovis to try and get the issues addressed under the statutory period. But, not a single ACT-based certifier was willing to do so: they were all worried about being black-listed by Bovis and therefore not having access to 20-30 per cent of the work available in Canberra for certifiers of large buildings. We have had to engage a Sydney-based certifier to come and inspect the Gateway. Once his report is completed, we will attempt to get Bovis to fix the issues.

For the record, while the complex has had some problems with water ingress, my apartment has never suffered any such problems (touch wood)…possibly because I’m on the ground floor and well below the roofline.

Just one word on Schadenfreude: coincidentally, a work colleague bought an apartment at the Landmark and paid the deposit using money that she inherited when her dad died of cancer. While you might see the funny side of our collective misfortune, I’m sure she’d be pretty shattered at seeing the value of her father’s legacy being eroded.

MelonHead 6:23 pm 16 Sep 08

On a parallel line to this, does anyone know the story about the condemned multi story car park next to Dame Pattie Menzies House (?) which I think is ACTPLA’s hangout? It was closed sometime ago, and I forget to look to see if it is full of cars again.

luke79 6:13 pm 16 Sep 08

i work in the domestic construction industry and would only buy a new house from maybe 3 builders in the ACT who i trust. it goes back to the old saying ‘they dont make them like they used to’. it’s not all the builders fault though, most of it comes down to the buyers. they do very little research into the products and materials used and for the most part buy on price and cosmetics. builders need to make a living too and buyers will generally go with the cheapest price and cheap always equals crap so the builders are somewhat forced to build things cheaply just to survive. i will never compromise the products and materials i use, ive lost shitloads of work because of it but i also very rarely get called back to a job because something has shat itself after 2 months.
time deadlines also cause a lot of the problems too.
my advice as a tradesman is to do your research, listen to the tradesmen and take their advice they will generally know a hell of a lot more than yourself. always be realistic about timing and allow things to blow out a bitt, a week or a month at the start can litterally be the difference between years of problems or years of trouble free living. dont ever skimp.. if your talking about a new house, your gonna be spending a shitload anyway and once again in the long term it really will be worth it to maybe extend yourself a little bitt and go with quality than go for the cheap crap and be replacing stuff left right and centre within 3 or 4 years.
i guess the problem is we live in a world where everyone wants everything and wants it for as cheap as possible. i cant see that changing and as a result the quality of new houses just gets lower and lower.

Roma 5:09 pm 16 Sep 08

“Is it wrong to take a little bit of smug satisfaction from calamities befalling the owners of high priced yuppy-boxes?”

Um, yes. Im sure they did nothing to you. Not sure why someone being ripped off after paying hundreds of thousands of dollars is very funny, but to each their own 🙂

54-11 4:18 pm 16 Sep 08

The problems with private certifiers was pointed out by many before it was passed into law. Every once in a while, a certifier gets their licence suspended, but there is absolutely no public visibility. There was a case that got to the AAT a year or so ago, and it showed that ACTPLA had given the certifier every opportunity to get their act together, but even they got sick of his shennanigans.

ACTPLA is a toothless tiger when it comes to managing these private certifiers, and they simply don’t have the resources to follow up. When the units next door to us went up, a truck backed into one of the brick walls. What did the builder do? Plastered over the top of it. Some poor bugger is going to buy a house that’s shifted off it’s foundations, no longer square, and just covered over. The certifier? Did nothing, as expected.

Ergo, shoddy developments all over the city, regardless of the price. And the government and ACTPLA warned, but took no notice.

Duke 3:02 pm 16 Sep 08

Schadenfreude should not apply to this development or any development really. Dodgy developers pray on rich and poor property owners alike. Schadenfreude should be reserved for the builders and developers who end up in court over these dodgy constructions. The current tenants should be well-heeled enough to take some proper legal action.

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