Edge Security Professionals Ltd.

Around a year ago now I completed the building at Papakura.

I had around 50 different businesses on this site, it was around $1m in construction. By far and away, the worst trade on the job was a security company who ironically call themselves Edge Security Professionals Ltd.

Their service was deficient from start to finish and they held the job up a lot.  So anyone reading this, be warned, don’t use these guys.

The worst part of this was towards the end of the job.  These guys installed a door security system for me.  This is so that the entry doors to the property have swipe tag access.  And it must have been the first time they had done it because they had absolutely no idea how to install and configure it.

And then, before it was even operational, they came to me and said “The motherboard is broken, you have to pay for a new one.” And I’m like “What!? No way!”  They went on to explain that “… a power surge or the electricians turning the power on and off lots of times has caused this, so you have to pay!” and they spent some time trying to get me and the project manager to sign a piece of paper stating that we would pay for the new motherboard.

We refused of course, who pays for something to be repaired before they even get to use it?

And so finding this highly unusual and feeling it was a really crappy way to deal with your customer, I decided I had better ask for an extended warranty on this system.  It was obviously pretty flaky and could fall over again at any time.  And going by what these guys had just tried to do, they would say “oh it was a power surge, it’s not our fault you have to pay for us to fix it”.  So I withheld some many until they agreed to a longer warranty.

And that was a year ago.  I haven’t heard a peep out of the owner for a year, and today, 2 days before Christmas, I get a notice to attend a hearing at the disputes tribunal.  Oh well, shame it couldn’t be sorted out between us, but I’m quite happy to see this guy at the tribunal and put my case forth.  It’s set down for the 1st March 2012.  I’ll post here about the outcome.

 

But in the meantime, in my opinion, everyone should stay away from Edge Security Professionals Ltd.

Financial Settlement with the Council

I’ll provide details on this once I have the cheque in my hand but I have reached an agreement with Auckland Council over reimbursement of costs I’ve incurred in fighting the latest battle with them over the balcony/airspace issue.

The guy I’ve been dealing with at the council over this has been very professional and as helpful as one could be.  So credit where credit is due.

What Will Nick Smith Do?

Nick Smith, the minister for local government is to take a look at housing affordability, land availability etc:

Government to look at house affordability

TRACY WATKINS

Last updated 10:14 20/12/2011

Politics

Local Government Minister Nick Smith will look at issues around housing affordability in his new role, Prime Minister John Key says.

A productivity commission report last week said constraints on land supply and other issues were making housing unaffordable.

Key acknowledged that government “potentially” had a role in pushing local authorities to open up more land for housing and Smith, in his new role as local government minister, would have discussions about that.

“It’s most acute in Auckland. That’s one of the issues around their spatial plan, ensuring that they just get that balance right. “

But Key said it was his view that interest rates remained “the most important issue around housing affordability”.

“That’s what determines whether people ultimately can afford their mortgage but of course we have to be sure house prices aren’t choking off the capacity of people to pay.”

Link

 

Nic Smith is quite a strong character.  But he’ll have a hard time with the council zealots.  It’ll be interesting to see how this goes…

 

Building Products Expensive in NZ

I read somewhere the other day that a sheet of gib board is twice as dear in NZ as it is in Australia.  I believed it at the time but it’s been on my mind since.  I mean really? Twice as dear? Why? And why isn’t someone importing it from Aussie and making a packet?

So I decided to check prices online today.  From Bunnings in Aussie, the price for a 10mm 2400×1200 sheet of what they call plasterboard (seems to have the name GypRock on the side) is A$10.90.  I’m assuming this includes and local sales tax like GST.  At today’s exchange rate, that is NZ$14.25.

Now to compare with NZ prices.  Well this was trickier becaus none of the main hardware places such as Bunnings NZ, Placemakers, ITM etc. have their prices online.  Maybe they think users would have a heart attack if they saw the prices!  I guess it’s more about not wanting to help out the competition by showing all your prices online.

Anyway, you have to go in store to find the price.  But I bought a sheet of gib board a couple of months back.  It was the same dimensions as above and was $22.45 incl GST.

So it’s not quite twice as dear, it was only 158% dearer :).

Now this is all pretty unscientific and of course if you’re buying a houselot (or several houselots) you can get a discount.  Also, these are retail figures, not trade figures.

But still, 158% dearer.  It’s quite a lot really.  Especially when you consider that Aussie incomes are higher than NZers too.

So if this price difference was applied to a whole house, then a $200k Aussie build would cost $316k here…

There are alternatives to GIB board in NZ.  You can buy Elephant Plaster Board and Baier Board if you want to.  They both seem to be tested and certified for NZ use.  Who knows how much these products cost? Their websites don’t list prices.  The Baier site also lists some stockists but their all in the South Island.

Also, I came across this article when searching for plasterboard.  It’s about Winstone’s applying to the MED to have the imports of plasterboard from Thailand made subject to anti-dumping duties.  The anti-dumping duties have been in place for some time and Winstones successfully applied to have them continued citing damage to their business should the duties be removed.

So there you go, you can’t just import plasterboard at any price you like.  If the MED thinks it’s too cheap, they’ll whack a duty on you to protect the local manufacturers. Quite astonishing really.

The Cause of Global Warming

Yep, I can now tell everyone what causes global warming.  Read this from Scoop:

Prime Minister’s $1 million science prizes presented

The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes, which combine recognition and prize money of $1 million, have been presented in Auckland today.

The top prize, worth $500,000, has been awarded to a team of scientists from NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) and the University of Otago for research that is helping to guide international decisions on mitigating climate change.

Other prize winners are:
The Prime Minister’s 2011 MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize goes to Victoria University of Wellington scientist, Dr Rob McKay, a world-leading glacial sedimentologist based at Victoria’s Antarctic Research Centre. Dr McKay uses marine sedimentary records and glacial deposits to reconstruct episodes of melting and cooling in Antarctica over the past 13 million years and show how they influenced global sea levels and climate. His work is contributing to understanding what past environmental change in the Antarctic means for the current phase of global warning. Dr McKay receives $200,000, with $150,000 to be used for further research.

Rest of Article

Yep, when you’re getting 60% of the science prizes going into funding more global warming research is it any surprise they all decide global warming is a serious man made threat? Of course not.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about global warming (now renamed climate change) over the last few years.  Basically I think this:

  • I think there is certainly more CO2 and other gases in the air now than there used to be.
  • Most of this is man made.
  • But there is only a very weak causal link between the 2 i.e. the amount of CO2 in the air may well not be the reason the earth is warming.
  • The earth does seem to be warming.
  • No one really knows how by how much or how quickly the earth is warming.  But I’m sure it’s being overstated.
  • There are many environmental problems which will get us long before global warming becomes a real problem; e.g. population growth, over fishing, forest destruction, species loss, pollution of the air and seas, soil erosion and so on.
  • The whole climate change debate takes the focus off of all of these things. Which is a big problem.
  • Recent measurements show solar activity has a huge impact on the warming (or cooling) of the earth. It could all be just this…
  • People want something to believe in these days.  They don’t just want to perform a life of meaningless work and then die.  They want to have made a difference.  And lo and behold a catastrophe that COULD END THE EARTH just happens to be happening. And so it gives meaning to many people’s lives.  In other words, I’m saying it’s a contrived problem which people have convinced themselves is true in order to have something to fight against  – to give their lives meaning.
  • Anyone who dares to say this sort of stuff is the modern equivalent of a dark ages heretic.
  • The science is not settled.
  • Taxing ourselves to death while emitting more and more CO2 is pointless.
  • New Zealand contributes 0.2% of the global CO2 emissions.  So even if we cut all emissions, it would make bugger all difference.
  • And with agriculture being omitted from the ETS, well it’s obvioulsy just a show piece.
  • Until China, the USA and others come on board, there’s little point in our ETS.

So I think in time this story will be put to bed.

But I also think many people will be sick and tired of environmentalists crying wolf, and they may not listen to the next problem that comes along.  This is the real problem.

Buckley Systems

Bill Buckley seems like the kind of guy we need more of in this country.  he gives a rare interview here.

I had to laugh when I read these bits:

He finds the council a cumbersome, irritating beast, perpetually thwarting his motorsport ambitions by limiting his event days (to a maximum of 26 a year). “I don’t know what’s going to happen after 2014.

“There is so much red tape and bullshit You can’t pin anyone down there. I would’ve had 10 or 15 people I had to report into at the council since I’ve been there. They all think they know what’s going on down there, but they’ve never been to speedway. They haven’t a clue what it’s about.”

Well Bill, count yourself lucky that you don’t have to deal with these idiots every day of your life!  Like property people do.  I can tell you it is like wading through treacle.

Imagine if every time someone like Bill Buckley came up with a new idea for a product he had to have it approved by his local council?  Imagine how much cost and delay would be added, not to mention soul destroying, energy sapping red tape, forms, fees and so on.

This makes me want to get into the technology sector actually, where you can just do what you want when you want, within reason.  With no obstructive government agency to stop you.

Hear Hear!

Throw out Auckland housing plan – commission

Chris Hutching | Friday December 16, 2011 | 4 comments

More land must be opened up for housing, according to a long-awaited Productivity Commission report.

“Bold changes” are required to allow young people the ability to by affordable houses, the report said.

It recommends that the Auckland Council throw out its spatial plan that aims to house 75% of new homes within existing urban boundaries.

The plan “will be difficult to reconcile with affordable housing”.

Rest of Article.

 And then there’s this article:

Council land rules slammed by new Commission

By Anne Gibson

12:00 PM Friday Dec 16, 2011
Photo / Paul Estcourt

Expand

Photo / Paul Estcourt

A hard-hitting investigation into housing affordability has just been issued by the Productivity Commission which has criticised the system for locking out so many home buyers.

Murray Sherwin, chair of the Government’s first commission inquiry, said affordable quality housing was fundamental to successful communities yet the numbers of people forced to rent was rising.

Rest of Article

 

 

Well whaddya know?  The Productivity Commision is saying the Auckland planner’s plans are BS.  Of course it is, but it’s nice to hear some influential people say it.

After all planners would rather die than listen to builders, developers, investors or even, the public – eeeewwwww.

But will they throw out their precious spatial plan? (Which is not actually a spatial plan at all but a street by street stipulation of what can’t be done)  Of course they won’t.  They’ll fight and argue that they are right and everyone else is wrong.  And then they’ll change it ever so slightly (and change it back in other places) and say “There we go, we listened and changed the plan.  The plan the people of Auckland said they want.”

And they’ll do it with straight faces.  They’re used to holding a poker face while they lie to the public of Auckland, they’re very well practised.

You can read the Productivity Commission’s report here.

 

Housing Shortages in the Westernised Countries

This article got me thinking about how prevalent this message is getting now.

Most westernised countries are struggling with high house prices in realtion to household incomes.  And this has been exacerbated by the recent GFC.  When people are making lots of money, there is full employment etc. no one worries about this sort of thing too much.  But when the music stops and everyone is hurting, then rents and house prices become so much more noticeable.

And around the world you get idiots calling for rent controls.  This was the case in Melbourne recently and now in London.  And it has been mentioned in most countries recently.

In England they’ve decided not to dick around anymore and just build a whole bunch of houses.  For years the planners in England have been able to stop just about anything being built.  But now the chickens are coming home to roost and they’re throwing out the thousands of pages of planning documents and replacing them with just 50 pages.  And the presumption all the way through the planning process is that you can build.

Over here in NZ, we’re still very much in the “planners know best” camp.  We’re still allowing these ill informed, conceited, arrogant sneering arseholes to tell us what we can and can’t do (and mostly it’s can’t) with our own properties.

Until this changes, we will continue to see increasing house prices in NZ a la this article:

House prices expected to continue upward trend next year

By Anne Gibson

5:30 AM Wednesday Dec 14, 2011
New Zealand housing prices are slowly coming out of the fog, say some experts. Photo / Brett Phibbs

New Zealand housing prices are slowly coming out of the fog, say some experts. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Leading economists have picked further house price rises throughout next year after the Real Estate Institute released monthly data showing a recovery in the sector.

Tony Alexander of the BNZ, Christina Leung of ASB and Philip Borkin of Goldman Sachs issued statements saying further rises would be recorded during 2012, albeit at a more gradual pace.

 

 

 

 

 

Unit Titling Update

Well now that I’ve got the balcony issue sorted (only waiting on the compensation from the council), I’ve decided to move on and get the final few steps in the unit titling process done.

This is the issuing of the 223, 224c and 32g certificates.  And who issues these? The council of course, so no doubt the fun and games will begin again!

It should of course, all be very simple and straightforward, but of course, there’ll be problems.  So I have advised the council that if they create problems, I will charge for all my time (and those I have to employ to help me) spent sorting out their nonsense.

The certificates are basically signoff from the council i.e. they accept the unit title plan, they accept that the property has been built in accordance with the fire regulations etc.

I’m doing this now, so that it is all done and the council can’t come back later and say “oh that’s not the right kind of Gib board or whatever).

I will update everyone here with what happens…  Most likely in the new year.

Bayleys Auction Results

Bayleys had their big Total Property auction yesterday.  I went with a friend, it was quite interesting.

Here are the results:

 

 

So quite firm yields and lots of sales would seem to be the outcome.  So still very strong demand from buyers for commercial/industrial property at the moment.