Condo owners sue developer, 7 other parties over alleged defects

They allege that their basement car park has 280 points of water leakage, that their swimming pool has sharp surfaces that cut swimmers and ruin their swimwear, and that a third of their condominium’s 51 units are leaking rainwater.

These are some of the alleged defects that disgruntled unit owners of freehold development Emery Point, an 18-storey single residential tower at Ipoh Lane in Katong, are citing in a lawsuit against its developer, main contractor, sub-contractors and architect – eight parties in all.

As the case began in the High Court yesterday, City Developments Limited (CDL) said in defence that “some defects to the common property” arose from the contractor’s poor workmanship, even as CDL’s lawyer Ling Tien Wah argued that “there’s no such thing as a perfect building”.

CDL intends to show during the 10-day hearing that it is contractually liable to only two owners who bought their units before the completion date in September 2003.

“Caveat emptor applied to owners who bought units from CDL after the Certificate of Statutory Completion date and, as such, even if there are building defects, these owners have no remedy against CDL,” said Mr Ling.

But Mr Leo Cheng Suan, lawyer for the condominium’s current management corporation, said that as CDL’s managers were council members of the management corporation until 2007 and “fully aware” of the issues, the company had “shirked” its duty.

The management corporation’s role will also be highlighted by main contractor Hytech Builders and two sub-contractors, Heng Boon Seng Construction and Industrial Contracts Marketing, who claim that it failed to maintain the property and that any problems were caused by wear and tear.

But, Mr Leo feels, this “misses the point” as the alleged defects had surfaced early. “These defendants are only prepared to do cosmetic patch repairs at the very least possible cost: Grouting time and time again, applying silicone to try to stop the leaks for a few months until the silicone dries up and the occupiers scream at them again,” he said.

Tender prices submitted by three general contractors indicate that rectification work may cost between $512,380 and $626,350.

Source : Today – 8 Feb 2011

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