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Moonilal: $100m For 100 Defective Townhouses; Wants Probe

OROPOUCHE MP Dr Roodal Moonilal has called for an independent investigation into how more than 100 townhouses in the Government’s $100 million Trestrail, D’Abadie, housing development were deemed structurally unsound and recommended for demolition.

Moonilal yesterday claimed the public housing sector was “in shambles” and warned people against accepting homes in the Trestrail project.

He called for answers as to how some 100 townhouses were poorly constructed and cracked, on foundations that could not bear the intended loads.

He was contributing the budget debate in the House of Representatives.

The former housing minister said HDC had been told to either demolish the structures or “grout” the underlying soil.

He questioned how the houses could have been built on foundations that couldn’t support them.

“I call for an independent enquiry into the collapse of 100 townhouses at Trestrail, at the cost of $100 million. This calls for an investigation,” he said.

Moonilal produced a document he said was an engineering report from a consultant firm, CEP Ltd which was engaged in 2022 to assess the site and propose solutions to correct any “observed defects”.

The development comprises townhouses in clusters of six, four and two units.

Moonilal quoted from what he said was the report which stated: “As a result of the original undulating terrain across the site, many of these units are founded on multiple/split levels, where transitions (across party walls) appear to relate to cut and/or fill sections across the building plan. In some cases, the buildings are founded on earth-fill terraces retained by walls.”

He said the report stated that “given that the buildings are currently unoccupied, the cracks developed appear to be related to building dead load conditions”.

He said the document noted that “given also the structural and architectural symmetry across units, it appears likely that the observed cracks are as a result of differential settlement”.

He said the report stated: “Based on the analyses of the bearing capacity (ability of the soil to withstand imposed loads) and settlement, done by the geotechnical engineer, the foundation for some of the townhouse blocks may not be able to support the applied loads and therefore the existing soil conditions will need to be improved to achieve an increased bearing capacity and to reduce expected settlement of the structure.”

“I want the people who take these homes to know that I hope they don’t like chutney music and thing, because if they make two dance, yuh pumping in the sand,” Moonilal said.

Moonilal said the former People’s Partnership government had purchased the land and turned the sod by the time it left office, with some work ongoing by four to five contractors.

HDC responds

The HDC responded last night to say it had noted Moonilal’s “allegations” in the House of Representatives on the Trestrail Housing Project.

The HDC said to “set the record straight”, a contract was awarded to a contractor in 2019 for the construction of 110 townhouse units under a Design Build Finance FIDIC Contract (PPP).

“In 2021, the board and management of the HDC had certain concerns with structural issues on the project and as a result, the board commissioned CEP to conduct a study on the structural issues affecting the project,” the HDC said in a statement. “The study identified a number defects and in accordance with the contract, the board and management called on the contractor to rectify the defects in accordance with the methodology outlined in the CEP report.”

The HDC emphasised that it “will not take possession of these townhouses or pay the contractor until these defects are remedied”.

It said the Minister of Housing will further ventilate the facts today.…/article_6764a36a-6904…

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