The recent flooding in Prague was big on drama, but surprisingly light on damage. People in this part of the world seem to be allergic to admitting that the state has gotten something right, but to a large degree, the flood control measures implemented and built after the horrendous 2002 deluge seem to have done the trick.
That being said, the post-event analysis will no doubt turn out lots of problems and shortcomings. One of the issues will be that new flood barriers definitely did the business as far as fighting a 2002-style event, but it turns out that each flood is different (shocking, isn’t it?). This time, with the rain advancing quickly from the north, the local creeks accounted for much of the local flood damage that occurred.
By now, most people will have seen the rather depressing aerial pictures of Crestyl’s DOCK project, a view that made things at the ongoing project look grim indeed. These fears seem to have been overblown. Crestyl’s director Omar Koleilat is quite relaxed about sending pictures from the site, and is even inviting us for a visit. Which we’ll of course take him up on. He explains that while there was obviously water in the underground portions of the scheme, the rest of the damage was thankfully quite minimal. We’ll go see for ourselves and report back. For now, you can check out the pictures.
These two shots are from last week, the day after the flood.
And these shots are from yesterday:
These kind of pictures should be used in the foundation design classes taken by civil engineers. Anyone with a construction background seen anything interesting in any of the pictures you’ve seen of the 3nity accident? Like this one above (click to enlarge).
Slovak on-line chatter is wondering about that slab of concrete you can see just hanging there, suspended in mid-air it seems by a steel webbing. They would have expected to see steel rods sticking out of the remaining wall, if it was reinforced steel. And if it wasn’t, investigators will probably be asking if it should have been. Any thoughts from construction people?
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The developer Vara Group is going through a real-life nightmare in Bratislava after a roof collapsed over what’s believed to have been the wellness center and garages of its residential complex Trinity. First of all, the most important thing is that no one seems to have been injured. We wouldn’t want to speculate on the impact this will have on the project itself. But you have to feel badly for the customers who’d already moved into the first of the three towers, since they were forced to leave their new homes.
The first phase was completed at the end of last year and work was underway on the second, including the portion of the roof that collapsed. This being the age of the Internet, there’s no shortage of amateur/enthusiast pictures out there documenting not only what the situation looks like now, but from before, when construction was underway. Chat room discussions suggest that the portion where the collapse took place was the last part of the roof to have been installed, and that small trees had been planted on top of it.
The usual passing of the hot potato is surely in action now. There are already suspicions being voiced that the investor was trying to save money, accusations of poor foundation design will no doubt be made, and calls for greater supervision of construction work can’t be far off. It’s impossible to know precisely who is to blame for the accident. The fact is that despite the best work of civil engineers, the power of the Danube stretches beyond its banks, but if builders in Bucharest have to worry about earthquakes, surely solutions for a high underground water table can be found as well. Again, this is all speculation, fed by the vacuum of official information. But persuasive answers will have to be given and solutions implemented, as this kind of event will impact on even the safest of projects under perfect management.
Here’s a Slovak news link. And another. And pictures.
You actually begin to hear some commentators saying that the US economy in 2013 could start looking a bit more positive. It’s usually random statistics that start falling into line that eventually come together to make a sunnier-looking jigsaw puzzle. So here’s hoping that news of the rent to price ratio of homes in the United States returning to pre-bubble era values is one of those pieces falling into place. (This basically means that the cash a home could produce through rent is now roughly in line with its market price). Only trouble is that the economist Richard Koo (Nomura) who produced the research thinks that poor policy decisions could send prices still lower. Still, you take your optimism where you can get it these days. The crisis began, arguably, with the US resi sector. It’s as good a place as any to look for the end of the tunnel. (more at FT Alphaville here) (Q&A with Koo in the Economist here)
Finep has started sales of 67 flats in the third phase of its Prague 13 project British Quarter before even completing construction work on the second phase of the project. Prices begin at CZK 2.3m for units that begin at 45 sqm, ranging to as large as 118 sqm. “Since the start of the first phase in 2008 we have offered our clients 443 units, 80 percent of which have been sold and 67 percent completed,” says Michal Kocián, chairman of the board in Finep Holding.
Chalk one up for the activist groups. A court in Prague has stripped ECM’s scheme City Epoque of its urban planning permit thanks to a suit brought by local residents. The ruling is unlikely to please creditors of the company, whose huge debts forced it into bankruptcy. The V-shaped building was supposed to house 126 apartments, along with some penthouses that would have their own swimming pools. Like every single other project that’s ever been built in Pankrac, it’s been dogged by persistent local activists.
Hochtief scores permit for Villa Poema
Villa Poema estate is ready to kick off now that Hochtief Polska has received the construction permit it needs. This latest project is for 42 flats ranging from 38 sqm to 92 sqm along with 325 sqm of commercial space. Work is expected to start in the course of July, with the deadline set for the third quarter for 2012.
Covec on the offensive
Although the Covec-led consortium was kicked off the A2 construction site few weeks ago, it hasn’t given up on the contract yet. At any rate, it seems to insist on having the last word and is appealing to the Public Procurement Office against the decision of Poland road Agency (GDDKiA) to select a replacement, rather than holding a tender.