New Western Sydney Suburb Suffers Subsidence


Lendlease is working to rectify subsidence issues
impacting $600 million worth of residential property at its Jordan Springs East masterplanned estate in Western Sydney.

The decade-old suburb, built over an old creek bed near Penrith City, is allegedly insufficiently compacted and is subsiding, directly damaging homes and residential property built on the land.

In September, Penrith council placed notices on 841 homes, calling for further investigations to confirm the exact cause of the sinking in the coming months.

“Council placed a notation on the planning certificates before investigations requested by Council’s experts have concluded,” Lendlease senior development manager Kevin Montier said.

“Based on the extensive geotechnical investigations that we’ve undertaken during the past two years, Lendlease doesn’t agree with the position of the council.”

Lendlease has since called on the council to remove notices on houses that have not been affected, stating that 90 homes were needing attention.

It also said it would front the cost for any repairs at Jordan Spring East due to ground settlement, over the next 15 years.

▲ A number of properties have experienced sunken driveways, cracked brickwork, walls, and concrete slabs, a sinkhole that had to be filled in, and damaged roads.
▲ A number of properties have experienced sunken driveways, cracked brickwork, walls, and concrete slabs, a sinkhole that had to be filled in, and damaged roads.

Penrith council said it had a moral and legal obligation to give current and future owners information on matters that may impact their property.

“We appreciate Lendlease’s co-operation in this matter and will continue to work with them to get to the bottom of these issues,” Penrith mayor Karen McKeown said.

“We have outstanding developments across the region and believe our communities have the right to expect exceptional standards.

“Council is willing to stand with residents to maintain these standards by monitoring, observing and requesting appropriate certification information from developers to ensure compliance.”

Lendlease said since becoming aware of the ground settlement issue in 2018, the company had been working with residents to rectify the issue—establishing a compensation scheme with the Commissioner for Fair Trading to support impacted residents.

“We’ve removed two houses at Jordan Springs East [and] offered to repurchase a further 42 houses where damage relating to settlement has occurred at a level considered to be inconsistent with Australian Standards despite the homes remaining structurally sound and safe to occupy,” Montier said.

“So far, approximately 20 owners have accepted our offer.”

A further four homes have been knocked down due to extreme cracking, one of which is being rebuilt, while another has been left abandoned.

State building commissioner David Chandler said fill is occurring across a lot of current Sydney development sites and called on engineers to do their jobs.

“Engineers who are doing foundation designs for housing on fill should pay extra attention to the fill and make sure that their designs are appropriate for the fill that is being used,” Chandler said.

“They should make sure that where there’s fill they should make sure that they inspect foundations before a house is built on it.”

Nearby, Lendlease is awaiting rezoning approval on a 38-hectare parcel of land in St Marys, from employment to urban, where it plans for its second major residential development in the outer western suburbs.

The development would include 265 new residential lots and 14 industrial lots among open spaces and new roads.

As part of its development application, Lendlease said it planned to add more than 300,000 cubic metres of material to help level the site.

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