April 10, 2021

Only fools trust buying high-rise off the plan.  In Sydney, the greedy developers peddle a Ponzi scheme, scamming upfront cash for one tower to fund another tower, and the Libs are in cahoots with them for the stamp duty tax.

Cracks in Lucy Turnbull’s Shanghai hell or highwater high-rise ruinous vision for Sydney have started appearing.  If Australians reckon Malcolm Turnbull can stuff the NBN, his wife is well and truly stuffing Sydney.

Stuffing Sydney

As Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission (set up by former Liberal Premier Mike Baird), Lucy Turnbull‘s high-rise plan for Sydney is to a sick Shanghai morphing into three  cities she calls Eastern Harbour City, the Central Parramatta River City, and the Western City.

Badgerys Creek airport is to fly them all in from Asia.  The she devil wants Sydney’s current 4.6 million to double to 8 million.  Mrs Turncoat reckons Sydney is not full and the place needs to grow to become a “world city” (except for Point Piper where she and Mal live by the harbour.

The basin will look like Shanghai or Sao Paulo, replete with ethnic crime ghettos.

Lucy’s ‘Greater Sydney‘ Vision – up their with Kev’s ‘Big Australia

 

And Sydney’s Liberal Premier Gladys the Armenian is happy to oblige by pumping out tollroads to feed the so-called “knowledge job clusters connected by “global economic corridors”.  Greater Parramatta to Olympic Park is to be renamed “GPOP”, and become “the connected, unifying heart” of Sydney.  Mrs Turncoat: “We need to reconceptualise how we see our city rather than just being the eastern CBD and western Sydney.”

It’s all very dystopian.

Liberals are all about growth just like Kev’s Big Australia vision for 100 million. They’re in bed with corrupt developers – Urban Growth and the Hunter Development Corporation et al. and local councils have had their local rights taken away.

Liberals Evict Aussies from Heritage Public Housing

Meanwhile, consider what the urban Liberals have been steadily doing to Sydney’s colonial heriage like at Millers Point.  Long standing Australian in heritage public housing are being evicted tomake way for Packer’s Barrangarro Chinese invasion.

Since dodgy Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell and banking Mike Baird came to power in 2011, they were hellbent of flogging off heritage public housing to the highest bidder – incoming Chinese buying Australian residency and residences.

In 2014, almost 300 public housing properties on Sydney’s harbourfront were flogged off and their disadvantaged Australian residents summarily evicted.  Target heritage precincts of Sydney included Millers Point, The Rocks and Gloucester Street in the CBD.  It included historic terraces at Millers Point, where residents had long feared the government wanted to gentrify the area to support the nearby Barangaroo development.  Cr Moore said the decision was a sign the state government wanted to make money from the area, describing the move as “Barangaroo-driven”.  Liberals doing their donor mate Packer a favour?

Every time the Liberals get into power at state level they privatise and flog off public assets that were originally funded by Australian taxpayers and ratepayers – that is not theirs to sell.  It’s the only way Liberals know how to budget their expenditure.

Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, and lord mayor Clover Moore, held a joint press conference at Millers Point to express their “outrage” at the decision.  “As we speak, there are people going from door-to-door, in Millers Point, telling people that they’re going to have to leave their homes,” Cr Moore said.

Tale of Two Dodgy Towers

So the high-rise developers are lapping all this up and the tower churn across Sydney is full steam ahead.    And in flock the cheap and nasty fly-by night builders and their dodgy Third World tradies on 457 visas. Liberals are facilitating allowing private building certifiers to rubber stamp all construction – probably via the Internet and offshore.  Bring on the congestion and ghettos!

Hundreds of residents have been evicted from their high-rise apartments after serious cracks were discovered in two Sydney residential high-rises, Mascot Towers and Opal Tower.

It’s because the developer and builder use their own “in-house” construction inspectors and certifiers to “sign off”on the builds.

In the case of the condemned Mascot Towers, built on reclaimed swamp land, builder J & B Elias had agreed to fix the defects at no cost to the owners, however, the defects returned after the repairs ,which were found to be “below general industry and Building Code of Australia standards and that problems were arising again subsequent to completion”.

The FBN builder J & B Elias skedaddled back to Lebanon

 

In the case of he condemned Opal Tower at 98 Bennelong Parkway in Sydney Olympic Park, construction engineers are assessing whether the unique ‘gardens in the sky’ of the embattled Opal Tower could be the cause of structural damage within the building.

Built on reclaimed swamp land in 2018 by Icon Constructions, the 36-floor building in Sydney Olympic Park boasts sky gardens in the middle of the now crumbling tower – which were deemed a selling point for the ‘luxury’ apartments.  But the structural integrity of the gardens is now being questioned by an independent panel of engineers who have been appointed by the NSW government to determine the cause of cracks inside.

 

Baird and Berejiklian have cut all the red tape on anything that could hold up construction projects across Sydney and pushed to meet developer demand.  The tradies work unsupervised, then, the people who are supposed to come out and check the walls, the slab are cousins of the builder. What’s the ratio of cement in concrete again?

The apartment owners are going into bankruptcy.  They can’t afford to fix the build, no bank will lend to them and they can’t sell a lemon.

Tip of the Dodgy High-Rise Iceberg

The Mascot Towers and Opal Tower are just the tip of the iceberg.  Then there are all the Chinese inflammable panel cladding to hide the imperfections.

Robert Marinelli, the director of Association of Accredited Certifiers (AAC), which represents building certifiers, agreed that “light touch” licences issued by the Department of Fair Trading had failed the public.  “We’ve been asking government to accredit the designers and installers and everyone associated with the construction, to hold (them) accountable for their work since 2003.”

Electrical Trade Union (ETU) secretary Justin Page said the union’s 17 inspectors were increasingly finding unlicensed operators carrying out electrical work on work sites across the state.  He said the problem was “rampant”.

“What’s the red wire for again?”

“The infrastructure boom we have at the moment, it has the potential to have safety ramifications going forward,” Mr Page said.   “Labour hire has been an issue. They’re getting people at cheaper rates. That’s contributed to this — the casualisation (of labour) is a factor.  “We’re finding more and more unlicensed electrical workers all across the state, domestic and commercial, but in renewables as well.
“The renewables are in the regional parts of the state — when we visit those parts of the state it’s rampant.”

Mr Page said the NSW Government, stripped of resources, had become a merry-go-round of bureaucracy for concerned union representatives trying to report safety concerns, as the department could not physically inspect bad work.

“The department has no record of who has done the work. SafeWork don’t have dedicated people to inspect the wiring work,” he said.
SafeWork NSW executive director Tony Williams met with the ETU earlier this year regarding the issue of unlicensed workers, with the union pushing for the establishment of a dedicated electrical safety regulator for the state.

Michael Lambert, a former Treasury secretary, was commissioned by the NSW Government in 2015 to review the state’s building regulation, after a 2012 fire in a building in Bankstown revealed major breaches of the building code.  But three years after the report, Lambert said “it’s very frustrating” that other than tightening up on certification of fire systems in high-rise buildings, the NSW government has failed to act on nearly 150 of his recommendations.

Conspiracy of Silenceover High-Rise Defects

Chairman of Owners Corporation Network, Stephen Goddard, says the masonry at Mascot Towers isn’t the only thing cracking in Sydney.

The entire edifice of silence and self-interest which has encouraged government and the market to turn a blind eye to the true extent of building defects in new strata developments is crumbling.  For two decades, new residential strata schemes have been plagued with building defects.

According to one estimate, 80 per cent of all new residential strata schemes are constructed with defects. Yet the government response has been to shrink consumer protections. Statutory warranties have decreased as has access to home building insurance.  The most common defects are those that allow water penetration and the absence of fire safety requirements (fire collars around slab penetrations and dampers meant to seal off service ducts to prevent spread of fire). Facades falling into the street come in at third place.

Typically, building defects take years to be identified by which time the statutory warranty period of 6 years has expired. Even if the fault is discovered within the warranty period, the builder/developer can be hard to find. They often disappear to the bottom of the harbour.

In the absence of a builder worth suing or access to warranties, most buildings have hidden their problem to protect their capital worth. Special levies were raised for the millions required to remediate the common property. People were forced to live within the building while the remediation work happened around them.

Keeping silent and fixing the defects with special levies had the benefit of enabling owners to resell without a capital loss.  This conspiracy of silence has helped successive governments focus upon the “procurement of housing stock” at the expense of consumer protection.

Suicide Sydney:  The Kendall Tower of Hell — one of three identical public housing blocks on Morehead St in inner Sydney’s Redfern.

 

The building industry makes a significant financial contribution to government at every phase of the development process.

Successive governments have been “hooked” on the stamp duty bonanza which comes from the creation of strata housing stock.   Building booms are a “sugar hit” for a government selling lower taxes as an electoral policy position.  Every level of government has enjoyed the building gravy train. Local government enjoyed an increase in its rating base. The federal government enjoyed the income and capital gains tax revenue.

Ever increasing property prices have masked the strata building defects story. Until now, owners stuck in buildings with leaking roofs and cracking facades were able to on-sell their apartment in the defective building without making a loss. They could even turn a profit selling their lot while the building work was ongoing. Purchasers seemed happy to buy in a building which was “remediating common property”. Everyone felt their investment was safe.

Mascot Towers – and Opal Towers earlier this year – suggests the tide is going out on the conventional wisdom that it is impossible to lose money by investing in strata. These buildings have defects so great it is not possible to “remain silent” and fix the problem quietly. Worse still, these defects have occurred at a time when there is less certainty in the strata property market than at any other time this century.

The building defects facade is tumbling down. No longer can bad building practices be hidden by increased capital values. Preserving whatever is left of public confidence in strata living requires action now in this and all our states and territories to adopt the measures NSW took to COAG earlier this year.

A failure by government to act means prudent purchasers cannot buy strata “off the plan” or, given that most defects emerge within a decade of construction, any residential strata building less than 10 years of age.

Buy off the plan in Sydney?  Go Gladys!  Go Lucy!

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