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Top Dollar For Poor Quality Housing In Bruce?!

By tylersmayhem - 23 September 2008 24

[First filed: July 21, 2008 @ 12:42]

I’ve always harped on about buying an established property, rather than something brand new.  Something I saw today not only back’s up my belief, but also beckons my belief.

I work in Bruce, and it’s always escaped me why anyone would want to pay top dollar to live in a new development that has a gated compound smack bang in the middle.  My questions have been further added to today after I saw 2 out of 3 apartment buildings with massive zig-zagging cracks in the exterior walls which start from the window edge and work down.  Granted, there is a guy working as quickly as he can, up on a ladder with some cement to “patch” up the damage (probably before too many owners see).

I realise that many houses in Canberra, old and new, are experiencing levels of cracking and movement of bricks due to the drought etc etc.  But 12 months after being built, and only about 3-4 months after being occupied?  My blood runs cold thinking if I had bought one of those properties and this is happening only after less than a year.  I can’t imagine it will take long to see the effects inside.

I anticipate the argument of how expensive established houses are, and this is very true.  But from the information I have been able to find, these 2 bedroom apartments sold off the plan for around 400k.  There are definitely established properties around for that price.  Maybe not as central, but probably many of which didn’t have too much structural movement until the drought started.  I’m all for those who want to experience “inner city living” in Canberra, but it escapes me why the pricing is just so high, other than the fact that people are simply prepared to pay for it.

I hope those who own these properties take firm action against the developers, and that the damage is only limited!


Further to my post back in July, now that the patching up was finally been finished and those who did not see the damage would be none he wiser – yesterday we had some rain again. Yep, you guessed it, more damage – but this time about 5 times worse than back in July. This morning there was a whole team of tradies out on ladders not only re-patching their recent cover-up work, but also attending to about 7-10 more gaping cracks on the side of the building.

This re-raises some huge concerns I have for the owners of these properties. If this type of damage is happening within about 12 months – how will they be in 5 years, if they’re still standing? I also have concerns as to the obligation that the building companies have. So far, they simply “cover-up” the damage. This is not addressing the clear structural problems with the building, and are they continuing with the cover-up of the problem just to get through their period obligation before they cut and run?

Where will this leave the owners of the properties, and how can the builders sleep at night? What can official bodies do to conduct a through investigation?

Are there any RA’ers who live in this complex, as I’d love to hear there thoughts – and make them aware of this massive problem if they were unaware.

What’s Your opinion?

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24 Responses to
Top Dollar For Poor Quality Housing In Bruce?!
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Sleaz274 10:19 pm 23 Sep 08

What we really need is some good earthquakes like China, well in the context of this post of course, that would sort out the men from the boys so to speak. Gungahlin (or lego land as I like to call it) would look like lego land after angry 4 year old stomped through it and the foreshore apartments would make a great underwater city to dive through in the lake. Well except for the visibility and the ear, nose and throat infection….

It’s a pity they don’t have a dodgy building industry setting in sim city 4 otherwise we could see the simulated effect on Thursday…..

sepi 5:50 pm 23 Sep 08

Evenly damp garden beds around all four sides of a house will help in keeping the soil conditions stable, and stop the house shifting.

Hard to achieve these days though, with water restrictions and small blocks.

Aurelius 4:48 pm 23 Sep 08

I used to look after maintenance for public housing in Brisbane. And with the recent drought, entire suburbs of houses were shifting so badly doors would not lock, windows not open, pipes need replacing etc.
Then in the wet season, the reverse would happen and the fixes we’d have done would need re-doing. The chippies and plumbers we employed knew what was required (knocking the places down and rebuilding) but capital expenditure wasn’t our job, simply maintenance.
It doesn’t surprise me similar things are happening in Canberra, especially as I bought a place in Gungahlin last decade so got to see how shoddy some of the work was locally.
But I’m guessing this goes on everywhere, and the punters handing over hundreds of thousands are mostly none the wiser.

I hear you on that one VYBerlina: but you did say “minor” These cracks I would estimate at about 10-15mm!

If you mean 10-15mm wide, then no way would I call that ‘minor’. At my house, I’ve noticed a couple of the shelves in the walk in wardrobe have come slightly off one wall (a couple of mm), and the paint has cracked very slightly around a couple of kitchen cupboard joins (some paint on the bit that flaked off solved the problem). And the driveway has some cracks also.

However, in some of the new units I’ve looked through (more for interest than serious intent), I’d say the standard of workmanship sucks. Obviously quick and dirty jobs. My approach, then, is to keep looking for structurally sound units of perhaps 8-10 years old that are in good condition (maybe even with light reno potential). If you’re seeking cracks appear almost overnight, though, and especially after rain, then I’d suggest they have some fairly serious issues.

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