Building drives neighbours up the wall

Ms Wolff wants to know who is going to clean the cement splatters from her house.

A couple living next to a Blouberg building site have accused the contractors of making their lives a misery for a year.

In mid-January, the contractors, Pew Construction, sank deep foundations for the flats in Beach Boulevard, but, by March, erosion around the hole had swallowed Emma and Heinz Wolff’s boundary wall (“‘A living hell’ in Blouberg,” Tabletalk, March 29).

At the time, Ms Wolff said the excavation had been done too close to their house without accounting for the effects of erosion.

The sand under the concrete of the Wolffs’ driveway also fell away, making Ms Wolff feel unsafe each time she had to pull her car in or out.

At the time, chief building engineer Athol Mitchell said the Wolffs’ boundary wall would be repaired after their driveway had been fixed. That would happen within the next two months, he had promised.

But last week, nine months later, Ms Wolff told Tabletalk she was still waiting for the boundary wall to materialise.

“The promised wall will most probably only be built some time next year, as they are closing for the annual builders’ three-week holiday this week,” said Ms Wolff.

When Tabletalk asked Mr Mitchell for a progress report on that boundary wall, he said he was no longer involved in the project management and referred our queries to Inocencia Oberholzer, the developer.

“Every day I have to pick up nails, plastic, wood and plastic packets and whatever else is blown over from the site. Before we drive our vehicles out, we first have to check for nails and pieces of wire that are strewn all over our driveway from them working overhead.

“On one occasion, pieces of concrete fell onto our property.”

Ms Wolff said she and her husband had asked for the building to be screened with netting to limit dust and debris from the site.

“We were informed that this was not budgeted for and that was that.”

Meanwhile, “large tracts” of the driveway had “sunken away”, and the Wolffs fear more of it will break away any day.

Ms Wolff said she had complained to Ms Oberholzer but had been told there was nothing she could do about the dust and dirt.

“The building contractor does sweep the driveway every now and again, but if we do not ask and show them the dirt, they do not worry about our side of the building fence.

“The hessian fencing also looks dreadful. We have been cleaning their mess on our property since the beginning of the year and this situation does not seem to be coming to an end soon,” said Ms Wolff.

Willie van der Linden took over as project manager from Mr Mitchell in May.

He said he could not build a boundary wall until all the underground services had been completed. Building the wall would be one of his first priorities in the new year, he said.

He added that he had sent workers to clean up debris on the Wolffs’ property, but Ms Wolff had often denied them entry saying she did not want them to “remove evidence” of their mess.

“She is obviously at war with the owner. It is very difficult trying to keep a client happy as well as the neighbours,” said Mr Van der Linden.

He said after the wall had been completed they would fix Ms Wolff’s driveway.

“We are taking away a metre of their driveway until where the furtherest crack extends and replacing it with brand new concrete slabs. We will arrange this with the Wolffs because it will be a three-to four-day disruption, depending on the weather,” he said.

Regarding the netting barrier, he said it would go up when plastering began. “The first place we’ll plaster is her side, so we’ll be out of her hair,” he said.

Tabletalk called Ms Oberholzer on Monday December 11 and she asked us to email her our questions, which we did on the same day. However, she did not respond by deadline. A follow-up email and SMS went unanswered and subsequent phone calls went directly to her voicemail.