“Severe defects” creating apartment “ghettos of the future”

Sydney’s apartment crisis continues to deepen. After residents were evacuated from both the Opal and Mascot Towers amid severe cracking, and splits have appeared on two levels of a car park directly under a Campsie residential block, The SMH today reports that a 10-year old inner Sydney Zetland apartment building has been abandoned after water and fire safety defects were discovered:

The Herald has confirmed that the owners and tenants moved out of 30 loft-style apartments at 19 Gadigal Avenue in Zetland last year.

“A City of Sydney officer inspected the building in February, 2019, and found the building to be vacant with extensive and severe water damage,” the spokesman said…

Owners Corporation Network chair Stephen Goddard said there has been a “conspiracy of silence” around building defects for years due to confidential legal settlements and owners’ fears of damage to property values.

The Zetland apartments, known as the Garland Lofts, were built 10 years ago as part of a multi-stage development in the precinct…

Zetland resident Carolyn Hammond… [said] “Bang, bang, bang, everyone moved out”… adding she was concerned about quality of building standards in the area generally. They’re creating the ghettos of the future”…

Nobody knows how bad this situation will get. The apartment boom across the East Coast has been nothing short of extraordinary, as illustrated in the next chart:

Given the widespread use of flammable cladding alongside structural defects, apartments owners and taxpayers could be facing many billions of dollars in rectification works.

It’s time for a royal commission into building practices, regulations and standards. The whole development system needs to be put under a microscope and turned upside down.

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  1. My builder mate who does luxury small scale developments in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs is aghast at what’s been allowed to be knocked up. His view is apartment prices will easily halve and wonders what will happen when the Chinese buyers realise they’ve been fleeced by shonky developers. He expects them to cut and run with whatever they can keep.

  2. LabrynthMEMBER

    The cynic in me sees this as possibly an intentional ploy by the owners to capture some uplift in the value of the land via demolition and re-development.

    The building was complete December 2018 and they are all 1 bedroom units with lofts and is circa 2-3 storeys amongst buildings that are 10-30 storeys in height.

    The land is 2500sqm if they sold it to Meriton and they pushed through a 20 storey building that is over 400 units giving the land value $60,000,000 or $2,000,000 for each unit owner in the existing 31 unit building.

    The latest sale before the building was evacuated was $650,000 in 2017.

    • Will be adding to GDP for years to come. Just think all the labourers employed to put these up will be employed to fix them up. We’ll need plenty of lawyers on both sides. Jobs and growth!

  3. Should turn the developers upside down and shake the loose change & wads of cash out of their pockets.

    • DominicMEMBER

      What, and upset straya’s economic heroes? Those that have led us to the Promised Land of Property Prosperity?

      Far out ..

    • BubbleyMEMBER

      And behold! The Phoenix will arise with a new name and the same company directors.

  4. and why was this kept secret for so long? probably nothing to do with both State and Fed elections.

    • I think it’s more to do with property values than it is elections. Owners not wanting to rock the boat because they could get out and still be ahead. Now that game is over it’s poor me, poor me, pour me another beer already. 😀

    • Paint it Black

      If the owners and tenants had been dumped on the street ala Mascot Towers or Opal with the developer just telling them to suck it up you would think they would have had the media there in 5 mins flat. Somebody paid them off.

      If not the developer, possibly the mortgagees offered relief on repayments on the basis that the owners not trash the unit values by complaining publicly and flicked a bit of money to the tenants to do the same?? Anyhoo I bet the person who did the paying is a bit p#ssed off that the story leaked

  5. To hell with it all.
    I hope this gets worse.
    Much, much, much worse.
    I hope buildings come crashing to the ground and/or go up in flames.
    I hope the assorted vibrants that live in these multi-story dogboxes are flimed leaping (in flames) from their balconies and it is beamed across the World.
    Only then will something really get done and maybe a few heads will roll.

    • I hope the assorted vibrants that live in these multi-story dogboxes are flimed leaping (in flames) from their balconies and it is beamed across the World.

      You’re a man/woman/agender thing/xer after my own heart. 🙂

  6. It’s obvious this was always a ploy

    Have a boom to drive profits and growth

    Build dodgily so you are guaranteed employment and contracts the next 2 decades rectifying the work of all your competitors and reaping the benefits of govt intervention to save the sector

    Easy peasy

  7. Where are the people who said “these apartments are exports”.

    They are built by Chinese laborers who are allowed to work here for $5/hour due to the rotten free trade agreement!

    So not even Aussie tradies are benefiting from these illegal deathtraps.

  8. If these apartment blocks are covered in flammable cladding then it seems to me the solution is quick cheap and obvious. I mean how much does a box of matches cost?

  9. I moved in across from these units more than 4 years ago. For at least two years the defective lofts were sitting there without any ground-floor units underneath because it sounded like the developer ran out of money so their current condition is not that surprising. At some point in 2017 the ground floor units appeared in a matter of weeks/months. Those ground-floor units are still renting for $1000/wk (2bd) down from an amazing $1400/wk asking price when they were first built. Fun times for those owners as well!