Pictures and videos from multiple sources show residential apartment complexes and a steel factory with cracking bricks walls, torn iron walls and persistent leaking.
Photos taken by a property consultant and whistleblower show leaking and cracks in the beams and walls in basements of two residential apartment buildings close to Mascot Towers, in Mascot in Syndey’s inner south.
One of the buildings, less than 100m from Mascot Towers, has been showing signs of deterioration for five or six years, according to Edwin Almeida from Ribbon Property. He says in the time he has been monitoring the building, which he refers to as a “million-dollar ghetto”, no effective remedial works have been undertaken to stop the leaking.
A nearby steel factory, which has been operating for over 30 years, has reported cracking of brick walls and corrugated iron.
The factory neighbours the troubled Mascot Towers, which was evacuated on June 14 after engineers monitoring the building became alarmed by the rapid deterioration. This was despite the installation of emergency props in the carpark nine days earlier.
The steel factory says it has engaged a lawyer to help them manage the issues. News.com.au understands the owners of the factory believe the degradation of their building may be attributed to recent construction work, which took place within the last year.
“We’ve had major issues, we’ve got big cracks,” an employee from the factory told news.com.au.
At least two other residential buildings near Mascot Towers complex are plagued with leaking, water penetration and structural problems, according to Mr Almeida. He claims developers and strata mangers have failed to act at one of these sites for years.
Pictures from multiple residential buildings, supplied by Mr Almeida, show basements with concrete degraded by leaking, walls with water flowing in carparks and mouldy water flowing from cracks in concrete.
Speaking to news.com.au, the real estate agent said he’s received menacing phone calls in recent days, as he shared photos online of degrading buildings and calls out what he believes to be industry-wide problems, stemming from a lack of transparency with consumers.
He said he believes the industry needs a major overhaul at the level of developers and realtors, who he accuses of selling properties to consumers without disclosing “material fact”.
“If (realtors) know something is wrong with the property, we need to disclose that,” he told news.com.au.
He said owners often find themselves in a difficult position of relying on Strata companies to monitor common areas and structural parts of buildings after they’ve purchased a property.
“But they don’t,” Mr Almeida said. “Most of them are given the job by the builders themselves.
“Why would you want to cut off the hand that feeds you?”
Mr Almeida said the state of the industry is “shameful” and needs an overhaul.
The area surrounding the troubled Mascot Towers is densely populated with residential apartment buildings, as well as hotels, cafes and restaurants.
Just below the towers sits Mascot Train Station, which was opened in the year 2000, and is the last stop before the train from the city arrives at the airport. A WestConnex site sits north east of the building.
Night work scheduled at the WestConnex site was suspended on June 17 due to poor weather, according to documents. The work will recommence on June 28.
In the days since the evacuation, residents have reported being “exhausted” and “angry”, and called the experience “like a nightmare”.
The residents were denied emergency funds for temporary accommodation by their insurer, and after nine days in financial peril the NSW Government stepped in and announced they would grant the residents of the 132 properties with interest free loans to pay for accommodation over the next three months.
Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson called it the “right thing to do” by the owners and tenants of the towers.
On Monday night an engineering update was sent to residents, telling them, “it appears the building is moving in a downward motion”.
“We would recommend all possessions are removed by Owners and Tenants,” residents were told.
An addendum was issued to media the next day by media liaison for the strata, Patrick McGuire, in response to media reports that the building was “sinking”.
“There has been some differential settlement resulting in the currently observed building movements, at least in part,” he said in a statement.
“But any interpretation of the building sinking at present is considered to be alarmist. The building engineers are continuing their investigation and monitoring.”
The progress by engineers monitoring the building has been slow and remains mostly inconclusive, as they continue to struggle to find a cause for the problems at the towers.
The strata company said it could not provide comment, and that it was working with the NSW Government to provide documentation on issues affecting the building.
Original documents required by engineers have still not been handed to engineers, according to reporting by Ten News.
“We do have documents that are in storage on the Central Coast,” Bayside Mayor
Bill Saravinovski told reporters yesterday.
“We are endeavouring to ask for the files. If I have to, I’ll send a staff member to go get a staff member to go and retrieve the files.”
Mr Anderson announced massive reform of the construction industry when he addressed media on Sunday, but rejected the suggestion there were other buildings of concern across NSW.
“I can’t believe that in this state, engineers don’t have to be registered,” Mr Anderson said. “We will be fixing that very quickly, and a raft of reforms will be put in place so that people can get confidence back into the construction industry in this great city.”
He insisted Mascot Towers was a one off citation, but urged any concerned residents from other buildings to contact the building managers.
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