Category Archives: Uncategorized

Apartment Defects and a New Breed of Property Developer

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Image from Choice Article by, Jemma Castle, ‘Apartment Building Defects, What to look out for’  ( 15 September 2016) https://www.choice.com.au/money/property/buying/articles/apartment-building-defects

This Choice article is an important piece of journalism and research, not only for its exposure of the frightening scale of apartment development in Australia but the systemic failures in the industry which make our habitable apartment developments  increasingly vulnerable to defects.

Defects have always plagued buildings even with the best developers, builders and subcontractors. The quality of buildings has traditionally and historically been policed by the architect who  designed the building and together with what was called a Clerk of Works ( a long time ago)  inspected each element on site to ensure the works were installed properly.

With the advent of ‘design and construct’ practices which gathered full force in the 1980s, the architect’s role was subordinated to the builder who took over the role of design overview and quality inspection reducing the architect’s commission to a design and ‘attendance’ role which was a much diluted form of their previous ‘full supervision’ role. The Clerk of Works also vanished and is now a museum piece. (I would love to hear from Clerk of Works who worked in this important role).

Adding to this the advent of private certification in the early 2000s, the quality of BCA outcomes (fire safety and egress put simply) meant that the overall quality of both the design and the fire safety  integrity of the building was eroded further.

Adding to this the rise of private property development in Australia and its entry into the multi-apartment sector, the advent of a lawless, unknown developer employing a design and construct builder with an architect reduced to a ‘sketch designer’ status and a questionable private certifier meant that this breed of private property developer had a license to almost do whatever they wanted.

And this is exactly what is happening in a part of the multi-apartment sector which is between 3 stories and 8 stories high ( need sprinklers above this approx.). After all the quality developers and builders of which there are many in Australia can’t all be across every site that can be developed in the emergent cityscapes like Green Square.

Access to sites in these burgeoning precincts is not always the province of large balance sheet high quality developers, but that of ‘deal men’ who can put a foot on a site, package up a concept, obtain funding and become the developer of an important habitable building.

The ‘deal men’ are invisible to the naked eye and hide behind ‘sacrificial vehicles’ which are used specifically for project ventures. This makes these developers almost untouchable. This is the new breed of property developer.

Dr Jonathan Drane

www.jondrane.net

Read this article as a pdf:

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The Outer West of Sydney: The Great Dividing Range

The Outer West of Sydney: Where is the Great Divide?

Date: 18 May 2015 ( archival re-publication)

By Dr Jonathan Drane

At a university seminar last week, a recognised city strategist ended his talk with the words” what is Sydney going to do with Parramatta?”. The question may be “ What is Parramatta going to do with Sydney”.  The new Plan for Growing Sydney DOP&E Dec 2014) features a revisionist view of the Sydney metro right out west  to the mountains (see attached). The emphasis has been influenced greatly by the considerable voting power of the ‘wild west’ and the strong and sophisticated advocacy machines of such regional centres as Parramatta and Penrith and others. Their position on the map as strategic centres highlights that this is pulling the ‘great divide’ between east and west toward the Blue Mountains. So where is the great divide between east and west of Sydney?

If you asked someone from Rose Bay where the west of Sydney starts, they might say Strathfield? If you ask a Penrith or Parramatta person they would see some humour in this. The perception of the great divide between east and west has been the subject of regional irritation by those cities in the west who are forging a new direction for the face and complexion of Sydney to the Blue Mountains. Part of the realisation of a new vision and identity for the west, should surely  start with the question “where exactly is the west of Sydney?.

Dr Jonathan Drane

Read this article as a pdf:

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