29. 2002 – The dead rat

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

In 2002 Council gave its approval for the removal of the third tree whose roots were damaging the property at 39 Glebe Point Road. That job was done about six months later.

The tenant Amir Bodenstein advised the owner Voukelatos that, because of structural problems in the back and side walls of 39 Glebe Point Road, he was replacing about 70% of the ceilings to the required fireproof standard and the electrical circuits were also being rewired in those areas.

He asked the owner to consider an extension of a further five years to the lease in lieu of compensation for all the work and money he had invested in the renovation works.

In May 2002 the owner agreed to this but then a few days later he changed his mind. By way of explanation he stated that he had already granted Bodenstein an unusually long lease (5x5x5) and a low rental level in order to compensate for the poor condition of the property. He added that he might reconsider his decision at some later date.

Bodenstein purchased red gyprock for use in the fire compliance work.

In the first eight months of 2002 renovation works continued apace. More and more structural problems began to appear. First, a small crack was found in the back wall above the back door on the ground floor. Then, loose bricks and a five-centimeter crack were spotted in the common wall from the floor of the first floor to the ceiling. Finally, large cracks were found above door openings in the back wall and also in the cross wall of the ground floor.

Renovations seemed to be a never-ending process of “one step forward and two steps backward”. In many places newly applied Morden Paint finishes had to be removed when the tradesmen discovered underlying structural defects.

The renovations undertaken at 39 Glebe Point Road were as follows:

  • Replacing part of the electrical/lighting system.
  • Rebuilding the first floor bathroom and toilet.
  • Installing smoke alarms.
  • Painting of the interior (mainly with Morden Paint special finishes).
  • Removing of carpet from the first floor and sanding and painting the wooden floor.
  • Replacing ceilings with gyprock red to the requirements of fire resistance regulations.
  • Building fire proof gyprock partition between 39 and 41 Glebe Point Road from the ceiling of the ground floor to the roof in line of the common wall.
  • Fixing doors.
  • Renovating the back yard toilet.
  • Reinforcing the stairs.

Contents
1. Olive tree to be removed
2. Do major work
3. Fire compliance
4. The grease trap

1. Olive tree to be removed

Leichhardt Council gave approval for the removal of the tree and about six months later they removed it. From February to August 2002 I had a few meetings with the officer and the manager of Leichhardt Council Parks Department concerning the tree and the adjacent park.

25.05.02 Leichhardt Council to AB – FD 1, 229

“Re: Tree Removal.

I refer to your request to have the tree at Minogue Reserve removed. After inspecting the site on the 17/5/02 I have recommended the tree to be removed because of the damage, caused to the adjoining property of 39 Glebe Point Road.”

2. Do major work

I told Mr Voukelatos about the structural problems with the back wall and the cross wall. I also told him that we are replacing 70 per cent of the ceilings to the required fireproof standard and that we are rewiring the electrical circuits in those areas.

I requested Mr Voukelatos consider a five-year extension to the lease in lieu of the extra work and expenses that were required. This request followed a meeting that Evos and I held with Mr Casimatis at his office. During that meeting I explained the problems posed by the cross walls and asked him to talk with Mr Voukelatos about it. I said words to the effect of: “We have good intentions and we are doing our best in regard to the premises”.

On or around 26 May 2002, Evos had a telephone conversation in which Mr Voukelatos agreed to our request to extend the lease but a few days later he changed his mind.

01.06.02 Mr Voukelatos to AB – BBA 1, 92

“Sorry I didn’t respond yesterday as promised but after my return from Athens some other matters came up. I’ve considered your request for a further 5 years & essentially we cannot do this at this stage as follows”.

We’ve already given you a long Lease 5x5x5. Normally 5×5 is good enough; however, because you said you would do a major work on the building we gave you an extra 5 years. As discussed before the extra 5 years we gave & the low rental take into account the conditions of the property as taken by you. It may turn out that in the future we can look at this but I believe now is too early”.

3. Fire compliance

I was supplied with red gyprock through Mr Pasqalle’s account and he also assisted me with a discount on some other building materials.

05.06.02 Plastamasta CA 3, 109

“3600 x 1200…16mm….Fire-Shield  216.00m2”

4. The grease trap

In mid January 2002, Evos and the Morden Paint employee Sassa started the renovations on the first floor and the back yard. In the following weeks we became familiar with the site and the main scope of the renovations were accelerating from March to July 2002.

The process of revealing the structural problems had dragged from January 2002 to August 2002 and went side by side with the progress of the renovations of the premises’ interior. The first structural problem was evident to me when Mr Voukelatos was in Sydney and it was a small crack in the back wall above the back door on the ground floor.

Soon after I entered the lease I noticed the raised ground around the tree adjacent to sidewall and after we started the renovations on the first floor we discovered loose bricks and a five-centimeter crack in the common wall from the floor of the first floor to the ceiling. Later on we discovered large cracks above door openings in the back wall and also in the cross wall of the ground floor.

As the renovations of the interior continued we discovered more and more cracks and other structural defects. It became a pattern that we were progressing in the renovation one step forward and two steps backward. Many places that we completed with Morden Paint finishes were later removed because we found some kind of a structural defect.

The renovations:

1. Replacing part of the electrical/lighting system.
2. Rebuilding the first floor bathroom and toilet.
3. Installing smoke alarms.
4. Painting of the interior (mainly with Morden Paint special finishes).
5. Removing of carpet from the first floor and sanding and painting the wooden floor.
6. Replacing ceilings with gyprock red to the requirements of fire resistance regulations.
7. Building fire proof gyprock partition between 39 and 41 Glebe Point Road from the ceiling of the ground floor to the roof in line of the common wall.
8. Fixing doors.
9. Renovating the back yard toilet.
10. Reinforcing the stairs.