Quality is the ‘new currency’ for Sydney
Good design and a proven history is now gold in real estate as Sydneysiders become more critical of poor-quality projects, and grow skeptical of new apartment buildings.
With the mounting noise around uninhabitable buildings and problematic developments, other projects are standing out, leading by example with innovative ideas and a quality product.
“Reputation and demonstrated performance is becoming ‘the new currency’,” says Ed Horton, founding director of award-winning property developers, The Stable Group.
On Friday, Stable won another in a series of accolades for The Burcham, a residential conversion of the 1918 Wrigley’s Gum factory in Rosebery. In front of a panel at the Urban Development Institute of Australia Awards for Excellence, The Burcham took out best medium density development above 75 dwellings in NSW.
The UDIA judges praised the apartments for their photovoltaic solar system which generates clean electricity for the building to lower strata levies, while allowing residents to buy electricity at a discount of up to 20 per cent on market price. Other details of note were its hydronic heating, electric vehicle charging bays and edible gardens.
Stable now holds multiple awards for The Burcham, as well as Melbourne buildings Triptych and Lifestyle Working Collins Street, Australia’s first 5-star Green-Star commercial strata building.
Such industry gongs and peer recognition often become a temptation for luxury buyers and architectural devotees, but Mr Horton says the current climate makes them more important to all home hunters, who now see reputation as a key factor in making their investment decisions.
“If you look at the conditions in the market at the moment, there’s an underlying sentiment that buying off the plan, or buying into new buildings is a bad idea because of the recent exposure of a number of badly built apartment buildings in Sydney, and the negative press that has been generated,” Mr Horton says.
“These buildings that are uninhabitable, or have significant structural problems, create a hype in the market that this is endemic across the industry – it’s not. It does however put the spotlight on what are clearly some failings in the construction industry, where there needs to be far greater levels of supervision, particularly from certifiers, and the market needs to be able to better assess where those risks have been managed well and the right level of control and supervision was applied to a particular project. Reputation and demonstrated performance is a good start – to be able to look at a developer and or builder and draw upon their past performances and reputation.”
At The Burcham, Stable has continued to build a reputation as hands-on developers and detail-oriented people who immerse themselves in all elements of the design, specifications, selections and performance management of the builder and sub-contractors.
“We care about what we design and construct and go to extensive lengths to ensure our projects are built well, and as designed,” Mr Horton says.
The Burcham builders, Hamilton Marino, were 11% higher in price than their competitors, and won the contract on their reputation and their preparedness to allow Stable to work with them throughout the construction phase. This was to ensure levels of design and performance integrity were achieved, in order to deliver the building that has set such high standards, as recognised by both the market and the property development and construction industries.
“If buyers are concerned they should be looking for developers with successful buildings, the recognition of peers, industry awards, and a history of other completed projects that have been around for more than 10 years, where those buildings are well regarded.
“People want context. And nothing gives context like that.”