34 Union Street - a really nice place to call home but--

Our building was constructed by a person who appeared to be competing for the "Worst builder of the year" award for 2011. He won by a mile, didn't turn up to accept the prize but left owners to clean up the mess. Management and the Owners Committee have threaded a way through litigation, consultant services, contractor hiring and more, eventually receiving a $1.24 million award from VCAT litigation.

In the AGM minutes for 2013 is the note: "The members present also spoke to the importance of ensuring that the building is well maintained and presented and that future budgets need to ensure that this is the case."

Our building is neither well maintained nor well presented. With so many problems and no on-site supervisor it is easy to accumulate a host of shortcomings. Many are minor but intrusive to the eye and easily fixed. Others are more difficult and will remain with us for some time. They must be fixed before we can take that sigh of relief.

This list is not complete but will give some guidance to the things to be fixed before we can be confident about the Maintenance Plan that new Owners Corporation Act amendments require.

Items shown in bold in column 3 are in a must be fixed category.

Standing on the footpath and looking at our entrance
The meter box and fire hydrant doors are of different styles and colour SCS incompetence No immediate action except see note on the meter box door below
The fire emergency red light above the meter box is concealed by the protrusion of 101 balcony and can’t be seen by fire brigade when approaching from Sydney Road SCS incompetence No complaint from Fire Brigade
Joining of Unit 101 metal cladding with red panel above and to the left of 34 number. Originally very poor finish. Reported to SCS and the second attempt still poor. This second attempt would have required new flashing, so my guess is that they hoped we wouldn’t notice. SCS incompetence. Low priority
Look up and you will see where timber was first seen to have fallen from the soffits (The under side of the eaves).
Because of the public safety issue it became an urgent matter to investigate and fix the problem. It was quickly found that the timber had been very poorly attached and also breached other cladding regulations (Not fire). The SCS subcontractor did a good job of removing the main safety hazard, the soffits, and replacing the timber with fibre cement. It was decided to make this the permanent solution for the soffits. The remaining timber was re-attached where weakness was detected and the decision of a full solution deferred because of greater problems.In early 2020 it was decided to engage a suitable company to advise on the best solution. The result of this decision is unknown.
Stand close to the entrance.
Left hand door of the meter box has sagged about 7mm Poor construction by SCS Fix ASAP because of visual appearance
Large crack between the outside ramp and the internal floor. This was earlier the cause of an expensive ladies heel damage and is unsightly. It was intended to be replaced by a narrow grid across the full entrance. Poor original construction ASAP Clean out and fill with a hard jointing compound.
The paving at the LH corner between the LH glass panel and the LH wall fills with water to form a shallow triangular puddle that grows to leak past the left edge of the LH moving door to form another puddle under the mailboxes. Insetting the front door exposed the depressed area. A 1.5cm wide and 1.5cm deep cut in the paving from the glass and across the front of the meter box will be unobtrusive and stop the puddle from forming.
Internally one can see the small triangular spots where the zig-zag wall was removed. SCS failed to remove the white sealer that remained until I removed some of it. SCS carelessness. Remove all signs of this sealer, lightly sand and spray with polyurethane and there will be little sign of the old wall.
Stand at the garage entrance
First sight is a very dirty garage door with a relatively recent oil streak on the LH side. Negligence My recent careful inspection showed that there is dirt in the small holes as well as on the surfaces. Strong detergent, light scrubbing and cleaning from both sides met with some success on a couple of small areas. I am confident that pressure cleaning, with detergent and scrubbing of both sides will do the necessary job. (Do the back side first) Persist until the door is clean!
On the right and at the street line is a small metal access box. It has sunk or was originally placed about 2 cms below the paving surface. The opening lid is not properly shut. It collects dirt and has been yellow striped as a hazard. Original builder incompetence. Investigate the possibility of correctly re-positioning the box at the proper level. AHB can fix it.
On your left side the paving outside the door to Shop 1 has a large crack. This is inside our property line and is unsightly.Probably a result of the general incompetence of the original builder.Keep on a schedule of jobs when there is other work in the area.
When the garage door is opened a couple of tripping hazards are revealed. Firstly there is a pit with cast iron and concrete lids and one of these has not been closed properly. It protrudes about 1.3cm and is the reason for marking it as a tripping hazard. Laziness or incompetence of whoever last opened the lid. Lift the lid and clean away any obstruction to proper closing.
There are 2 hazards caused by plastic pipes with lids protruding slightly above floor level. Original builder incompetence. Investigate whether these can be lowered. (AHB can certainly fix the one near the wall. The brass lidded one needs investigation)
Now move to the lobby
An issue from the past was the accumulation of insects in the fluorescent light tubes. They have been changed to more modern lighting but the insects still get through.Fix
When standing at the doors to the path to the town houses, look down and to your left and you will see the concrete foundation placed by SCS to accommodate the 1 metre extension of the west wall needed to satisfy fire regulations. It’s neither parallel to the wall nor the footpath. If you look further from outside the door you will find the sill of the west side glass panel not fully supported.The lack of parallelism is more fine work from SCS. The lack of support provided by the original builder.A temporary fix with plants while waiting for a decision on the future of the main pathway.
The concrete pathway leading to the townhouses has had problems with significant cracking resulting in fairly expensive repair.Once again original builder incompetance.The current problem of a tripping hazard near the bike racks in this area should only be satisfied with a temporary solution pending a permanent solution to the ugly cracking in the full length of this area.
While at this level move to the rear lift where there are several issues. A. Badly lift cracked floor B. Padding from SCS time still there C. Rough concrete immediately outside the lift door. Fix all

Move to the Level 4 decking and look to the east.

You're looking at the timber framed, originally fibre-sheet clad wall that allowed water to leak into most apartments on that level. The architect had designed the wall to be concrete like all the walls below it but the developer and builder team decided to save costs. The contract of sale for at least one L4 apartment confirms this.

Work on the wall such as painting, repairs to windows etc. must be done by workers abseiling (suspended by ropes).The top edge of the wall is "not load bearing" and the original builder had not installed secure anchor points on the roof.

Stage 1 of our major works was the replacement of leaking cladding and rotten timber with Lysaght metal cladding. Although SCS was given a warning about flashing difficulties they paid insufficient heed and there are several examples of shoddy workmanship.

There has also been a persistent excessive dripping noise affecting 2 apartments.

SCS and a Ballarat roofing subcontractor failed to heed advice.A solution is yet to be discovered to the noise matter and correcting the poor flashing may be too costly to contemplate.
At an early meeting with SCS the issue of abseiling was discussed and plans for a Roof Access System to accommodate abseilers working on the west wall presented. I (AHB) pointed out that there were aircondition uits installed where they proposed to install the track for the access gantries. That information was ignored and we have an expensive and useless RAS.SCS ignored advice and the subcontractor delivered a system that would obviously not work.Abseilers drape their ropes over the non-load bearing top of the wall. This would seem to be a breach of good safety practice.
Look back at the L4 front lift entrance

We had a problem from day one caused by the incorrect fitting of the steel deck structure. The lift company had met the "spec" and refused to shift, the result was a step of 30mm at levels 2, 3 and 4.

In the early years the lift company estimated their cost to move the lift at $50,000. Three years back when there was a change of manager at Forte the estimate came down to "about $11,000". This was manageable and Lecsen?? was hired to make minor alterations to the metal cladding around the lift doorways and install new sills.

The company selected for the metal cladding job left all three levels in an unacceptble state. On thier second attempt Levels 2 and 3 were completed but L4 was incomplete. A third visit by the contractor has failed to finish L4.
Move to Level 1 and stand at the front lift doorway.
You are looking at an expanse of exceedingly badly laid tiles that were part of Stage 2 of the remediation. At your feet you will see very rough and amateurish grouting and a narrow grating. This was installed because after the initial effort water flowed into the lift well.

If you look further you will see many signs of poor quality tiling.

Poor selection of a tiling subcontractor by SCSThe rough grouting at the lift door must repaired along with several other rough locations.

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