PODCAST: Mascot Tower sinking but residents kept afloat by loans

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This week in the Podcast we look at the Mascot Tower story and the apparently generous offer by Fair Trading to bankroll emergency accommodation for residents.

They are saying it’s a one-off, as they must.  If NSW Fair Trading let it be known that they were in the market for payouts to help people with building defects, the queues of the duped and dudded would be longer than the lines for the new iPhone.

The interesting aspect of all this is that Fair Trading are saying that the Mascot Tower may be crumbling but there is every chance that it isn’t defective – it just wasn’t designed to have its foundations undermined.

With engineers claiming it is literally sinking, they may have a point. Experts are already looking closely at a building site next door.

Another theory gaining a lot of ground is that other developments in the area haven’t taken into account the relatively high water table – the level of water beneath the surface of the ground – and that has, literally, undermined the foundations of the Mascot.

To put this another way, the Mascot Tower could have been perfectly adequate and built to code, but then other building work in the area changed the environment in a way with which it was not designed to cope.

Another theory is that all new buildings in the area were designed to allow for this but some of them weren’t built to their approved design, and that has had a knock-on effect.

Whatever the reason, it could well be that the residents of the Mascot will not have to pay the expected millions of dollars required to fix their block, because the authorities have other builders and developers in their sights.

But there is another aspect to this.  Stories are already doing the rounds that nobody trusts – or should trust – apartment buildings.  That is bad news for Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson.  He says there’s a crisis of confidence in the apartment duilding industry, which is palpably true.  He can only hope that there’s not a crisis of construction.

All of this and lot more – including what this means (if anything) to buildings with flammable cladding – are discussed in this week’s podcast.

Now, don’t get too excited, but our Flat Chat podcast listens quietly sneaked past the 10,000 mark last weekend.

How significant is that? I don’t know but any figure with four zeroes gets my attention. So Yaaaay for us!

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