Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

First Hand Look at the Reality of Chinese Construction

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 29, 2012


Great find from the King of Brews, Brewskie.
He has forwarded the story of the dismal state of housing construction in China….

From the BrewMan
“Oh dude, dude, dude, dude… this is some good shit here!

It’s a gem. This is a rare moment of perfection where everyone’s on the A-game; it’s as if you’re working with the Founding Fathers, or Neils Bohr, Albert Einstein and Max Planck under one roof, or you have a diamond of a presidential administration (think FDR or Eisenhower). In a day of high-price oil, it’s as if you struck a Ghawar oil field with your shovel; or you saw a parade float batter belt one out of Wrigley Field, straight into Lake Michigan, and he trances around the bases with a giant middle finger comprised of his smoldering bat at the slack-jawed pitcher

A good fellow named Sascha writes a blog about his experience in Chengdu. Here he writes about construction quality in town, and surprise surprise, it sucks. Vouching for Sascha are the commentators; all but one, a likely dipshit commie or elitist trust fund kid, agreed and spelled out their observations, too.

However, as good as Sascha’s essay is, I instead will be citing what a reader wrote first (I’ll cite Sascha’s work later or tomorrow or whenever; or you can do the dirty work if you like) – which actually BEATS Sascha’s post!!! (He looked through 50 apartments in 3 months…) Yes, this is wordy and long as hell, but worth the time.

Story here

“So began my soon to be arduously comical search for a decent place to live in the city. I was particularly diligent in my search, wanting to get a good feel for real estate in Chengdu, not least as I’m here working for a property developer myself. I used a number of websites to build a list of properties/apartments, and also began vetting agents who seemed at least half way efficient. Little did I know!

At first I was looking at the most recently completed complexes in various points across the city, though initially just in the South. ‘Master’ building was one such property, and I recall being shocked the moment I got within the perimeter of the building at just how unbelievably bad the workmanship was on all of the exterior finishing. Misplaced/misaligned glass panels, non uniform sealant, poorly finished concrete, uneven/sloppy paintwork, and a slew of construction debris still remaining. It wasn’t about to get any better once I stepped inside!

I was met by an agent who had set up some 5 or 6 ‘viewings’, which I then found out often meant standing around waiting for the landlord to get him/herself in gear and show up. Another phenomenon here in Chengdu/China is the developers practice of selling units without finishing of any kind, leaving purchasers to carry out all such works themselves. I should point out it is my job to essentially oversee all facets of new construction from the ground up, right through to purchase. One major component of my job is to critique finishing, and then subsequently create deficiency lists for all sub contractors, who then typically return and make good. It was pretty clear from the get go that no such lists are being made here. I couldn’t believe just how bad everything had been put together, let alone the often hideous colour/textile coordination on display. From purple couches on green carpet, to cracks running the entire length of walls, I was in new territory, and it was scary as hell.

I was met by an agent who had set up some 5 or 6 ‘viewings’, which I then found out often meant standing around waiting for the landlord to get him/herself in gear and show up. Another phenomenon here in Chengdu/China is the developers practice of selling units without finishing of any kind, leaving purchasers to carry out all such works themselves. I should point out it is my job to essentially oversee all facets of new construction from the ground up, right through to purchase. One major component of my job is to critique finishing, and then subsequently create deficiency lists for all sub contractors, who then typically return and make good. It was pretty clear from the get go that no such lists are being made here. I couldn’t believe just how bad everything had been put together, let alone the often hideous colour/textile coordination on display. From purple couches on green carpet, to cracks running the entire length of walls, I was in new territory, and it was scary as hell.

This continued on for almost 3 months, in which time I viewed a total of 50+ apartments. I’d had to put up with agents showing me properties that didn’t match in any way what I’d specified, along with all the cat and mousing, to finally accepting that I needed to just take something to save me from my search nightmare. And so I settled for a 2 bedroom furnished apartment on the 35th floor of one of the Times Residence buildings. Newly completed beside Lang Kwai Fong, and since having become the most expensive real estate in downtown Chengdu, I was at least happy to have found something new, with an awesome South view from the living room and bedrooms. The games began pretty much immediately. Over the next 6 months I fell into a continuous battle with the landlord’s property ‘managers’, who had been assigned to take care of the 5 properties comprising the 35th floor he had bought as an investment. I did some homework and found out that he had originally let his ‘girlfriend’ take care of the finishing, at which point it became fairly obvious that she had taken the money and spent as little as possible on construction costs and furnishings. In my 6 months tenancy I had to endure 3 kitchen floods, failing back flow preventers (creating a permanent stink throughout the apartment), a faulty shower drain, a front door that wouldn’t lock, intermittent power cuts, and a whole host of defects due to poor finishing. I’ve probably forgotten a few items, but I’m not going to think too hard on it trying to remember, the experience itself was draining enough. It took almost 3 months to get a response to anything, whilst my agent had absolved himself of any responsibility in that time, and finally in the fourth month I was sat down trying to negotiate with the managers. It became immediately clear they did not have a clue how to go about fixing anything, and even though I’d helped them create a thorough step by step list of things ‘to do’, they fell short by continuing to bring workers into the apartment who may as well have been blind. Sure enough a comedy of errors ensued, with works needing to be redone almost as soon as they were complete. In the end I gave up and went about finding a new place.”

continue here
http://www.chengduliving.com/on-the-frontlines-of-chinas-real-estate-bubble/

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