Residents continue to be concerned they are being “snowed” by DPTI when it comes to protecting their interests after a meeting with residents last night.
This was the latest of regular meetings convened to liaise between DPTI and their contractors and the residents affected by the rail works. This meeting focused on damage to houses resulting from the constructions works. The efforts to address concerns about damage to houses was not received well.
Experts in vibration who have been commissioned by DPTI or the contractors to monitor the construction activities spoke at last night’s meeting to help residents understand what is being done to avoid damage to their homes. The presentation was a technical appraisal of vibrations of equipment and how it might impact on surrounding ground and the methodology of recording it.
Unfortunately the information provided appeared to be above the understanding of most people present at the meeting. As I saw it graph after graph after graph only confused most present. As the presentation unfolded, the message being received by residents from what I could see was that cracking in their homes was not the result of vibrations by the various equipment being used by DPTI’s contractors on the series of rail projects, but other unidentified factors.
This inspired one resident to speak up before the presentation was completed indicating she was a simple person with a simple understanding. She identified that she did not have cracks in her house before work on the Goodwood Junction commenced and now she has. Her take is that this must be as a result of the DPTI construction work.
This announcement bought the presentation by the experts to a halt.
Unfortunately the lack of trust of residents towards DPTI has widened.
The presentation focused on what vibrations are needed to impact on buildings. The standards being applied are, in the absence of an Australian Standard, based on German standards.
These standards assume houses built 30 years ago, 50 years ago, indeed 100 years ago without any engineering input will not react differently to houses built today with the engineering input applied today. The German standard indicates apparently that heritage houses, which are more susceptible to damage from vibrations, are hundreds of years old whereas houses only 100 years old are equal in their ability to withstand vibrations as are today’s engineered houses.
This is an argument not accepted by the majority of those present.
I am sure, having said that, that DPTI will respond appropriately to claims for rectification of damage to homes that occurs during the construction of the rail upgrade. But given the message received by residents last night do they (the residents) think this will happen?
I doubt it.
For an opinion on the impact of the construction works of the rail projects on homes adjacent the line check my next post.