Monday, April 5, 2010

More problems at Bar Al Jissa Developments? Tales of dispute and... subsidence

Mega-conglomerate Zubair Corporation's Bar Al Jissa Development, built up on the cliffs next to the 3 Shangri La Hotels on the beach, was fortunately all sold out before the real estate melt down (off plan) at top top prices. Thus the properties have been pretty much built, albeit late.

The Dawn apartment, at Bar Al Jissa Developments. On the level?

But I'm told a few problems are still on-going. There may be a problem with villas in the upper and lower 'Dawn' Section. The upper Dawn problem potentially effects units 1 to 10, the row closest to the road. The others in lower Dawn are the first 3 in from the road. It's minor subsidence, aka 'settlement' in construction speak.

If this is the case, the problem is due to a combination of the way this area was filled & retained, and the structural slab design and/or the workmanship. In effect, it couldn't withstand the recent rain and all that irrigation water being pored on to make some landscaping grow. This water is washing away some support to the buildings' foundation.

'Settlement' is occurring that is resulting in ugly cracks, gaps, etc that can’t be glossed over with a dose of filler and paint. Last week long meetings were held between the parties concerned.

Now, these sort of problems are, apparently, not unusual. The developer, Zubair, should have held a 10% retention on the contractor and had warranties & liabilities defined with the architect, engineers, Project Management Company, etc.

Theoretically the developer should just fix it – in engineering after all, money fixes everything. They should simply get the problem fixed, get the approvals and proceed to get the owners moved in and close on the final payment.

Another problem is that builder Bodgeit and Legit L&T (the engineers building the place) are a Zubair local sponsored company. Ooops. In fact their performance has been so lacklustre Zubair themselves actually dropped the company from the shortlist to tender to build the apartments around the marina development.

So now expect the usual round of the Omani Business Game called "pin the problem on the foreigners". But most of those involved should have reasonable risk mitigation clauses in their contracts to cover themselves, liability wise, for the 'settlement'.

I'm told HSBC, the mortgage lender to at least 25 BAJ props, wisely won’t release the final payment until the Developer warrants the security (with independent eng. back-up) of their collateral. And the poor purchasers are still waiting for their houses, already more than a year late.

One solution is apparently to drill and inject concrete into the sub-soil to each dwelling footings to rectify movement. Ouch. Someone's going to have to pay. But who?

Let the games begin!

To anyone involved in this battle who's reading this: you may increase your chances of playing Russell Crow's character than one of the others by getting advice.

Parties to the dispute may wish to note the services available from Muscat Confidential's well qualified Corporate Sponsor, Paul J. Waters, manager of the Construction Law Advisory Services Division of respected local law firm Dr. Abdullah Alsaidi & Co Law Office.


  1. Hi
    Its good to read about whats going around there in barr al jissah!!

    Mate but you forgot that its not the entire fault of the construction company L& T as you noted, (remind you they are not ENGINEERS they are "poor" contractors)!!!

    Do u dare to reveal the real DESIGN ENGINEERS & THE PROJECT MANAGERS and the contracting company who has done the FILLING / LEVELLING works in those affected areas??? The main reason for the sloppy work is becoz of these there concerns.. not the one whom you have quoted..

    just a clue for you.. they are all from the GREAT UK & USA!!!

  2. I would have thought Turners / WS Atkins should have spotted the probability of subsidence in the crumbling rock - they had a major slippage at Al Husn a couple of years ago - and built in extra foundation support into the pre-build

  3. Oh sorry guys, you are joking surely?
    'Settlement' that renders buildings unlivable is so not standard. And residential buildings in Oman are not built to high quality standards. Not by western standards anyway. Windows that don't seal the dust or rain out; mulitple cracks floor to ceiling, walls that leak water from poor plumbing work and lights that blow every 2 weeks? My husband works in the construction industry and beats his head against the wall every day with these problems. Underqualified trades people, cheap end greedy owners trying to inflate profits and construction company staff that simply will not, do not or cannot read plans or instructions. Bar Al Jissa is typical of the problems in construction in the middle east. Until owners pull their heads out of the sand and contractors bring in REAL tradespeople, it will never change.

  4. I'm glad we bought at the Wave. Our townhouse had very minor snags--excellent workmanship and quality.

  5. Well have you seen the other countries in the region the quality? hmmm look at UAE and talk about quality there, Bahrain forget about it, Kuwait oh god help them should i go on? western standards ? hu is all i have to say.. its not like UK has great standards not at all.

  6. Rajesh.

    Refer wat Jamilla Camel said on the quality of The Wave.The Wave was built by the contractor who did the earlier filling of Barr Al jissah, I believe.

    L&T is 'Larsen & Toubro' in India
    Aparently, here in Oman, is it 'Lagao & Thodo' (Hindi-means-Make and Break)??
    no harm intented :-)


  7. Has anyone checked their new souk,the one that was supposed to be the splendour of Muscat? 3 shops are opened and that has been the case for over a year now...What is going on there? I had read Juthoor was managing the situation?
    Surprised visitor

  8. What i feel is that being a contractor L&T might not done this whole job on their own.. there must be inspecting engineer/ design people above them. Each and every level there must be checkings/ document signs on every stage of constrcution..
    May be the whole problem occured due to massive filling before villa construction..
    guys.. without knowing let us not blame any one..
    any how, there must be some remidial solution to solve all problems..
    let the tenant enjoy living there after solving all these..


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