The recent ordeal that residents of the Opal Tower in Sydney were put through is a stark reminder that property developers and builders have a huge responsibility to their customers in the long term.
When cracks begun to appear in sections of the 392-apartment building residents were forced onto the street, left with no guarantee as to the safety of the tower or when they could return.
It sparked a pledge by the NSW Government to crack down on the construction industry, with Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean saying he will “throw the book” at building certifiers who have done the wrong thing.
But retrospective punishment won’t do anything for residents left in the lurch, often purchasers don’t know to ask who the builder and developer are for a project or why that is important.
“For as long as I could remember property developers would come in, name a development something completely unrelated to their business, and then move on as if they were never there.” says Managing Director of Pace Development Group, Shane Wilkinson.
This, in part, is why Pace chose to shift the naming convention of all project to be ‘Pace of’ in 2016.
“If we weren’t proud of the buildings we deliver and confident in the quality of the product then we wouldn’t leave our name marked on the front door, it’s as simple as that. It’s about time we see this industry get some more rigorous legislation” says Mr Wilkinson.
Pace build their residential and commercial product themselves, ensuring that every i is dotted and t is crossed through the construction process.
“9/10 developers are not builders. Purchasers are oblivious to the fact that the developer is not responsible for delivering what has been purchased and promised. The consumer (buyer) always gets caught in the middle and invariably loses.”
“When you are considering a new apartment or townhouse save yourself years of heart ache and buy from companies that do the lot. The ones that own the site, sell your new home, build your new home and are totally responsible for delivering it.” says Mr Wilkinson.
He goes on to say that there are a few key questions buyers need to be asking when looking at purchasing off the plan.
“With the total lack of consumer protection in this space, buyers have to wake up and start taking a forensic approach to who they are buying from. They need to ask basic questions like. Who is the builder? Do they have a long and credible reputation? Who is the developer? Do they have a long and credible reputation? Am I really going to end up with what I’m being sold, or am I sold the dream and get a nightmare?” Mr Wilkinson said
The sentiment is echoed by Steven Baird, General Manager at Pace.
“The quality of our construction is something that we are extremely proud of, we’re meticulous in getting the specifications right from the outset so that we don’t build something that’s not achievable or sustainable.” Mr Baird said.
Moreover, Pace invest in their legacy by personally maintaining the built form 10 years post completion by a dedicated team expects aptly named Pace Customer Care.
It offers a call out service on all our buildings under warranty and regular maintenance checks to proactively ensure their longevity.
“Being involved in both sides of the development process, both in our office and on site, I get to see the genuine care that each individual put into the work they do.”
“I think this is because we are conscious that people will call these properties home for a very long time, it’s the same reason why so many Pace employees purchase in our developments, because they see the care taken as well.” says Mr Baird
The type of care being offered by Pace won’t sweep across the industry overnight, but legislation to ensure developers stand by their product will help move this along.
Hopefully with this we won't see another Opal Tower in the future.