The owners are still furious with the poor state of construction and finishing on their apartments. In fact, one owner has just taken them to court in Oman for breach of contract, and the judge agreed to hear the case. At the second hearing on October 30th, he gave Zubair 6 months to prepare their defence and to get a report from a court appointed expert. It will be very interesting to see how this turns out.
Comments made by various owners:
"...the foolishness and arrogance of one misguided Omani family..."
"...we all expected that the good reputation of the Zubairs was worth something. How wrong we were."
"The growing list of serious construction problems besetting our small settlement is both astonishing and terrifying: terrifying for the level of seriousness and danger; astonishing for the amount of money we have all put forward for something that is completely devoid of construction quality. Lack of water, electrical problems, water pouring from rooftops through townhouses in a not very serious storm, sinkholes, cracking concrete are all serious problems and some are life-threatening."
"...It is obvious that the Zubairs have taken our property investment, spent around 10% of it on our properties, and pocketed the remaining 90%."
Photo: Chairman of Zubair Corp, Rashad M. Al Zubair, the man responsible for the mess at Barr Al Jissah Residences.
So what's the problem?
Well, these town house apartments were very expensive, selling for US$1.2-$1.5 million, and represented by Zubair as top of the range luxury buldings. In fact, to quote Barr Al Jissah residences OTT website blurb:
"Oman presents Barr Al Jissah Residences, the most exclusive and luxurious freehold property's in the Gulf.
Exceptionally designed villas and townhouses, built to the highest standards and specifications to give the most discerning and concientious purchaser, the best lifestyle imaginable."
"Developer: The Zubair Corporation.
The Barr Al Jissah Residences is being undertaken by Barr Al Jissah Resort Company SAOC which is owned by The Zubair Corporation and the Government of the Sultanate of Oman, represented by the Ministry of Finance."
In reality, the buildings were constructed like any other such buildings in Oman - by cheap Indian labour via infamous Zubair contractors
Here's a recent incident by an unfortunate buyer shared by email to other owners (emphasis is mine):
...Two days ago the socket in the garage where the dryer is connected caught fire. The socket and the dryer plug burned and melted. Puzzlingly the corresponding trip switch on the electric switch board did not trip – which would have prevented the fire.
Today we replaced the dryer plug and used another socket in the garage. About 10 minutes later the same happened: the plug caught fire and both the plug and the socket melted.
This is a very serious issue because it is very obvious that there is a design and/or construction flaw as in a case like this the corresponding switch on the switchboard should trip preventing any fire to take place. Upon asking some of the neighbors they have told me that in several villas these sockets and parts of the electric wiring, switches were replaced due to being below specifications and quality requirement. I am baffled by the fact that if this problem is known, why are all the villas not being notified and why are the necessary repairs not being done in order to prevent a potentially more serious incident???
In another incident about two months ago the second floor main switch tripped without any of the individual switches tripping. At that time I told [xxxx] my non-professional, non-qualified opinion, that there must be a design problem (maybe the total electricity load capacity of the first floor switchboard in not in line with the actual amount of electricity going through that switchboard). Again, about two weeks after I called [xxxx], two Indians came and said that everything is okay…
So, bottom line is that an Omani Government sponsored development is promising 5 star and delivering 1 star. And despite the Zubair Corporation taking everyone's money (both for purchase and very expensive maintenance fees), they are failing to fix serious problems and ignoring the valid complaints of owners that what was promised has in no shape or form been delivered.
The owners are hoping that a direct appeal to HM will help.
Again, why is it that nothing gets done in this country by those actually tasked with doing their jobs? IE The Government officials responsible for standards, the giant companies who are being allowed to take people's money and rip them off? HM has better things to do!
The answer is that too many people in Oman are focused on short-term quick bucks for no effort, rather than thinking about the long term reputational issues or even simply respecting international standards and contracts. Too many Government officials are typically both professionally incompetent and inexperienced, and in fear of annoying some big shot with wasta (like the Zubair family).
And in this case, the Government are also directly involved, providing a veneer of official endorsement for these developers, and also provided the land for Zubair in the first place.
Note, the unanswered complaints, leaks, electrical faults, legal action and damage to Oman's tourism and investment reputation doesn't stop Zubair claiming the following on their corporate website:
The Zubair Corporation is a well-established leader in this sector, having initiated the first travel agency over thirty decades ago, recently establishing hotels throughout the region and building the first major resort in Oman. The Corporation is considered a flagship for private investment in tourism, and its commitment and success have set a precedent for further development, proving that investing in this sector is economically viable.
What a joke.
The new Chairman of Zubair Corp, Rashad M. Al Zubair, as "the next generation of the Zubair family to assume the mantle of leadership", should get off his father's laurels, get a grip on his company, and start placing a higher priority on the impact he is having on this country's international reputation. In his statement on the website he raves on and on about "fulfilling His Majesty’s vision".
His father HE Mohammad Al Zubair didn't build a great company through such underhanded and unprofessional business practices.