Category Archives: Corrupt Property Developeer Practices

Building Defects: An Engineer’s View

Five years ago I was asked by Engineers Australia to contribute to the Lambert Report (2015) and for my article Building Defects: A builder’s view to be included on the Building Professionals Board web site back then. I am not the only one to keep waiting for some government action on this vital area which is appearing on the news daily now with the recent Opal Tower and Mascot Towers incidents.

This article adds an Engineers Australia multi-disciplinary report in 2013 to the list and I am grateful to Charles Rickard for his article The Fall and Fall of the Australian  Building Industry (26 April 2019)  which  is reviewed here and brings this report to life.

My interest is in creating a chronicle and research base on this subject and ultimately for anyone to understand the complexity and decay of the Property Development, Design and Construction system and structures in the post war era. My group initiative The Property Development Doctor and The Defects Dilemma collects experts from all parts of the industry and seeks to bring peace of mind to multi-apartment owners who could be forgiven for assuming their home is at risk of fire or dangerous cracking.

The defects article I wrote in 2015, was requested to be written for the Strata and Community Title in Australia for the 21st Century 2015 Conference by Dr Hazel Easthope of City Futures Research Centre UNSW Built Environment. The request was to simply write an article on building defects from the point of view of the builder.  This sounded simple but was no easy task. The request unleashed 35 years of historical involvement, observation and doctoral research (2011-2014) of the decay in industry practices since the early 1950s across my involvement in construction, design management, project management, development management then property finance and development.

I was then asked to do a follow up presentation at the Building Regulatory Summit in February 2018 which was run expertly by the Building Products Innovation Council in the ACT. See blog for more details.

Here I turn Charles’ article into a symbiotic title:

Building Defects: An Engineers View 

In this article Charles Rickard  (Principal- Rickard Engineers)  provides a current  review of the building defects issue but also a really helpful historic view of the eras of professional control from the Architect being in full control ( a long time ago) to the current situation.

It also helps to understand the role Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) and the Accredited Certifiers (AC) that support the PCA for those who are trying to make sense of the certification labyrinthe.

Of particular interest is the depiction of a Multi-disciplinary report 2012-3 initiative by Engineers Australia led by Charles which preceded and supported the Lambert Report.

I am keen to keep a chronology of these reports, industry phases and current situation to maintain not only a current view but the history of decay of property development, design and construction systems and structures over time.

I look forward to seeing the 2013 MDC report which is a missing link in my current collection. This aside it is exasperating but sadly not surprising that yet another report by highly regarded experts ends up on the pile with no apparent dissemination or formal response by the State Government. The NSW State Premier, Gladys Berejiklian appeared on the ABC  7.30 report (18 June 2019)  recently noting there would be a response by December 2019.

The other reports include:

Wallace (2014) Lambert (2015), BPIC (2018) and Shergold-Weir (2018) which have investigated the building regulatory system.

Dr Jonathan Drane

Related Articles:

Building Defects: A Builders View

Defects: A Builder’s View- by Dr Jonathan Drane

Dr Drane Reveals the History of Decay in Property Development Processes Leading to Defects and Tragedies

Dr Drane’s ‘Defects Dilemma Initiative’ Gets Ministerial and Departmental Recognition

 

Free Building Defects Assessment

Having Problems with Defects in your Multi-Apartment Building? We are interested in hearing from you if you are in the following situation: -The building is a multi-story apartment building that is above three levels. -The building has been constructed in the last 10 to 15 years and is showing signs of multiple defects. -The building defects are substantial, potentially dangerous and could lead to structural or fire related issues. This could included the installation of Aluminium Composite Panel that is currently stable but a potential fire risk. And your relationship to the building is one or more of the following: -You represent a majority of the  building community ( e.g. body corporate committee member) -You are the building manager. -You are the body corporate manager -You are a lawyer representing a client or stakeholder related to the building -You are a builder or building professional who constructed the building. -You are a developer who developed the building. -You are an estate agent or financial intermediary representing the property developer of the building. -You represent a peak body related to the building or the situation. Help our Research Project: ‘The Defects Dilemma’ The high rise apartment building is in a state of crisis across the globe as a perceived safe form of accommodation for our families. Our own Australian tragedies and misadventures include (Bankstown 2012, La-Crosse Docklands 2014, Opal Tower Sydney 2018, Neo Melbourne 2019) and then there are the international cases like Grenfell (UK 2017) and the Torch Tower (Dubai 2017). The peace of mind of normal apartment owners is stretched to the limit. So how can you help solve this complex problem? Please help us bring peace of mind to apartment owners and  understand the nature and extent of the defects as part of our research project and we will ask you to fill in a short survey. Upon filling out the form below and the survey which we will send you we will provide a free assessment of your situation. The assessment will help you understand the causes of the defects from a systemic view i.e. how the property development and construction system that created your building has contributed to the defect levels you are experiencing. It is not a defects inspection. Learn More about how the historical decay in property development and building systems have contributed to the level of defects in high rise apartment buildings. Learn More about our research project called ‘The Defects Dilemma’. Register  for a place at our upcoming webinar series  which provides updates and industry engagement related to the ‘The Defects Dilemma’ Learn More about our Linked In Group called ‘The Property Development Doctor’ which is dedicated to bringing peace of mind to multi-storey apartment owners. Next Step: Fill out the form below and we will provide you with: a) the survey (your identity is anonymous and is used for research purposes). b) upon filling out the survey we will provide an initial free assessment of your situation as noted above. c) by filling out the form and sending it to us you acknowledge and agree with the waiver and conditions noted below.

Dr Jonathan Drane Optimum Search Pty Ltd Waiver: Any assessment is made by Optimum Search Pty Ltd and is an initial assessment only and does not include any site visits. The assessment does not cost you and there are no guarantees or warranties associated with the assessment. The assessment is based on our own research data and a survey that is issued by us and filled out by you.  The survey collects data on building defects that help with our research project and processes. Your identity remains anonymous.   The assessment is confidential and not to be issued by you to other parties nor relied upon for any legal, mediation or dispute processes. Optimum Search Pty Ltd reserves the right to not assess your situation at its discretion due to non relevance to the objectives of our research project. Any further requests for advisory services  are subject to a contract arrangement that is separate to this initial assessment and conducted by Optimum Search Pty Ltd.

Understand the History of Property Development and Discover the Foundations of Entrepreneurship: Mirages, White Shoes, the 80s and the GFC

Understand the History of Property Development and Discover the Foundations of Entrepreneurship: Mirages, White Shoes, the 80s and the GFC:

Dr Drane Reveals the History of Decay in Property Development Processes Leading to Defects and Tragedies

This is a history note and an update to place an important national event within the chronicle of tragedies and misadventure in the high rise multi-apartment sector of the Australian Property Development Industry which is currently focusing so much on the Opal Tower.

A Building Regulatory Reform Summit was held in February 2018 with the objective of addressing these issues at all levels from Government, Industry and Consumer perspectives.

Here is the summit web page with the emergent White Paper that was the product of the summit. The summit was expertly put together by the Building Products Innovation Council with other industry and government support.

BPIC Building Regulatory Reform Summit Link

The summit resulted in a white paper, a cohort of national experts and an ongoing initiative to solve this problem. I was an invited speaker at the summit because of my historical, systemic emphasis on understanding defects rather than a current technical emphasis.

This was brought to light in my earlier article ‘Defects a Builder’s View’ which was presented at the  Strata and Community Title in Australia for the 21st Century 2015 Conference run by Griffith University. Here is the link to that conference and my article which drew some media attention at the time.

Griffith Uni Strata Conference 2015 Link

Defects: A Builder’s View By Dr Jonathan Drane Article Link

I also attach this image gallery which places The Opal Tower in  perspective with the emerging history of these issues.

I have also appended  my web article at the time which covered this event on my web site when I was with Western Sydney University. See below.

That is all for now and I watch the Opal Tower matter unfold from the safety of the arm chair. For now at least.

BTW: If you want to learn more about the history of property development and how developer’s systems have aided these issues in the lower developer tiers, come to one of my Master Classes on Commercial Property and City Development Dynamics

Master Classes

Dr Jonathan Drane

Building Regulatory Reform Summit 2018- Dr Drane Invited Speaker on Industry Decay

Dr Drane’s Greenshoots Update

Dr Jonathan Drane: Greenshoot News Update

Regional City Growth Dynamics: A Research Focus

I have recently left academia after 6 years at both UNSW Built Environment and then Western Sydney University’s School of Business. I am returning to my prior independent research and advisory profile which I have operated through Greenshoot Investments since 1993 which will aim to grow into a research and teaching centre in its own right as time goes by.

The Outer West Dormancy and Growth Dynamics Research Project which started during my MBA at MGSM in the 1990s then through my doctorate at UNSW and continued in my time with WSU will continue, and I will be seeking funding, sponsorship and collaborations. But early days.

See my research page which pays tribute to MGSM, UNSW and WSU where the dormancy research found its genesis, grew and now matures as time goes by.

For More Information : http://www.jondrane.net/research/

The Parlous State of Contemporary Property Development 

The Property Development Industry in the commercial multi-apartment sector is plagued by the advent of DIY developers who clearly did not get the memo related to quality and integrity through the application of professional practices. When this resulted in two girls having to jump off a balcony to escape a fire and the death of one of those girls ( Bankstown 2012)  , the industry finally said no.

This research found its genesis through my chronicling of the degeneration of professional property development practices while at UNSW City Futures where I was invited to write a conference article and speak on what I thought was the boring subject of defects. To my surprise, the audience was lit up by the talk and paper, because it brought to life the decay of property development professional structures over several decades.

A simple article grew into an invited appearance at the National Building Regulatory Summit in February 2018 where I found myself an accidental historian of the industry. There I chronicled the decay in development structures across finance, design, construction and statute, an integrated view previously unseen.

For More Information: http://www.jondrane.net/research/the-state-of-contemporary-property-development-structures/

Property Development Master Classes: ‘Work Ready’ and ‘Street Wise’

The universities continue to attempt to steer coursework and offerings toward an ‘industry ready’ framework and for students to be more ‘fit for purpose’.

With this in mind, I am offering a number of  online webinars for College and University students (undergrad and postgrad), which are designed to supplement their current College and University studies and help their career aspirations to come to life in the complex and exciting world of commercial property development.

The Master Classes are designed to provide  real life skills and street smart tools to get students on the road to success. Whether they want to  follow a career employed in property development and/or become a property developer in their own right.

The first master class is in three sessions in early November. You can learn more or book a seat here:

Book Here

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/dr-dranes-master-class-becoming-a-street-smart-property-developer-tickets-51576187766

Thank You Academia

I have spent a lifetime in the commercial property development and construction industry and been a property developer in my own right. Over those years I have mentored executives and managers and lectured to hundreds of students across four academic institutions including Sydney University, UNSW, WSU and ICMS. I am also an alumni of UNSW and MGSM.

I have loved working with the students and teaching is in my wiring. Being a creature of the wilderness and not the citadel, I now stand on the outside looking upward at these past institutions, my teachers and colleagues. Thank you for helping to get here. I look forward to working alongside some of my past colleagues toward issues heralded in the initiatives above.

Sincerely

Jon

Dr Jonathan Drane

Director Greenshoot Investments

and Optimum Search est 1993

www.jondrane.net

 

 

Apartment Defects and a New Breed of Property Developer

Book Now For Dr Drane’s Master Classes on Property Development 

choice-article-15-sept-16-image

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.

‘Defects A Builders View’ Read More on How the Industry Got Here

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.

Book Now For Dr Drane’s Master Classes on Property Development 

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:

dd2-the-special-breed-choice-article

_______________________________________________________________

Key Papers and Events

Book Now For Dr Drane’s Master Classes on Property Development 

The New Breed of Property Developer

‘Defects A Builders View’ Read More on How the Property Development Industry Got Here

Read More on the State of Contemporary Property Development

___________________________________________________________________________

 

The Claw Back Clause

This  an archival post. The article was posted at the time the issue arose in October 2015. New legislation has been effected since as a result of the outcry due to this developer practice.

Dr Jonathan Drane

Claw Back Clauses: Are pre-sale apartments a new stock market: East Central Project?

Date: 9 October 2015

By Dr Jonathan Drane

Are our habitable multi-dwelling apartments becoming the instruments of a quasi- stock market? The recent example of the East Central project in Surry Hills is compelling evidence to this effect:

http://www.domain.com.au/news/multiple-class-actions-brewing-against-sunset-clawback-developers-20151009-gk3ewp/
To quote:

“After an investigation by Domain into boutique Surry Hills block East Central where seven contracts were rescinded by the developer Ash Samadi and most of the units were then resold for up to 50 per cent more, it’s been revealed that at least three other new buildings in Sydney are also embroiled in similar controversy”. Domain.

Many apartment projects are created through pre-sale agreements which have what are called sunset clauses. One intention is to ensure that the developer actually hands over the keys to the new ‘real’ apartment within a reasonable period. In this case the clause which is referred to as a ‘claw back’ clause allows the developer to rescind the contract and re-sell it to the open market after a certain period.

This means that the intention may never have been to honour the actual hand over of the apartments to the ‘originating pre-sale buyer’ but to use them as a stepping stone into a new market window. This in turn resembles the mechanism of a stock market in slow motion.

Some will also remember World Square where the pre-sale contract buyers were re-selling their pre-sale contracts on the open market. In that case, this was to the buyer’s benefit however in both these cases we  are not dealing with commoditised, securitised stock market shares but with habitable apartments.

The lawyers will say to unwitting pre-sale buyers ‘read your contract and get a decent lawyer’ but there is something fundamentally wrong with this concept and the actual original intentions appear to be that the developer never really intended to honour the original undertakings, and in fact intended to on-sell on a clawback ( or least keep his/her options open)..

What  a world! For those who are this evening waking at 4am to line up with the other hundreds of unsuspecting buyers on the streets of the pre-sale offices of our city, beware the claw-back clause. You might just sleep better through the whole, long, contract period leading up to settlement on your beautiful new dream apartment. The one that gives you an almost impossible leg onto the property ladder of the Sydney apartment market.

Dr Jonathan Drane

Read this article as a pdf:

id1-clawback-clauses

The Defects Dilemma: Developers and Defects, by Dr Jonathan Drane

Jon Drane-5999

A little history of private property  development and its effect on defect levels in Australia.

Defects have plagued buildings for decades if not centuries, and no more so than in the post war era of the private developer and with the emergence of the ‘design and construct’ project- the sister act of development as a private system of creation of our titled buildings.

Although many D&C projects are created with minimal defects, the practice of D&C and its evolution out of the previous Architect and Master Builder era, has a large part to play.

This paper takes us through a brief history lesson including the emergence of private property development and D&C in the post-WWII era, and the associated vulnerability of standards of construction across professions and regulatory systems. The erosion of the regulatory process, both professional and authority-based, is also revealed in the emergence of private certification and the dilemma of the slippery deal. The end product of such a system is illustrated with a ‘horror’ case example of one of its offspring.

Finally a ‘Defects Scenario Matrix’ is put forward for ways to keep a handle on defects on the D&C project based on a review of the horror case example and then a case example with a low defects regime.

Read Jonathan’s paper:

Drane 2015- Defects A Builders View

Read this blog article as pdf:

dd1-the-defects-dilemma

 

Hello world!!

Jon Drane-5999

Welcome to my new blog and web site. It has been refined to focus on my independent research and advisory profile.

This site is designed to allow prospective clients to understand how I combine my research profile with the analysis of complex construction problems in different situations including legal cases and project situations.

My previous blog which included articles on the city dormancy and property development has been archived and key articles will be revisited here. Please contact us on info@jondrane.net if you need a particular article.

This site also caters and focuses on my research into city dormancy and urban renewal so that students are able to tap into my works. I encourage students of the built environment to continue my work in this area of city dormancy and development.

My non-fiction book collection including my books on the Camino de Santiago are briefly referred to on this web site and will be expanded in another independent web site.

Thank you for your interest in my work.

Dr Jonathan Drane

_______________________________________________________________

Key Papers and Events

Book Now For Dr Drane’s Master Classes on Property Development 

The New Breed of Property Developer

‘Defects A Builders View’ Read More on How the Property Development Industry Got Here

Read More on the State of Contemporary Property Development

___________________________________________________________________________