Dubai Shattered Dreams – Jumeriah Islands Nakheel
Posted by 7starsdubai on January 10, 2008
Should a 2 million dirham villa look like this?
Residents of Nakheel Jumeirah Islands development allege poor quality finishing and the use of cheap materials at the multi-million dirham luxury villa development. Matthew Brown reports.
“When my wife first walked into the kitchen of our Jumeirah Islands home she burst into tears. ‘It’s terrible,’ she said. It broke my heart, because I had promised her a dream home.”
Mr A is a resident at Jumeirah Islands, the “upscale and exclusive” development from Nakheel, the government-owned company behind The Palms and The World, that stretches over 300 hectares of land between junctions five and six of Sheikh Zayed Road.
And he thinks his villa is anything but a dream home. He is one of 70 or so people to have taken possession of a JI villa, which will eventually house more than 700 families, each of whom paid between dhs1.9 million and dhs2.4 million for their properties in the primary market, or up to double that in the secondary market.
But some of those families are refusing to move in until Nakheel attends to major quality control problems that have affected the development.
Many of those who have already moved in are in dispute with Nakheel over major snagging issues, and have formed a residents committee to take its complaints to Nakheel, which has thus far failed to address the majority of issues, according to documents obtained by 7DAYS and the testimonies of several residents.
Mr A’s list of complaints are typical of Jumeirah Islands’ residents: “My house has been flooded three times. I had no phone, fax or TV for three weeks after I moved in.
Today the telephones only work a fraction of the time, and the Internet provided by Tecom at twice the price of Etisalat regularly fails. To pay the bill I have to go to Internet City with cash.
“Workmen come onto our property uninvited all the time. The whole Jumeirah Islands site stinks, because workers were not provided with toilets for three years. There are rodents everywhere.
“The plans I signed off on do not match the final villa I received. French windows and terraces have been cancelled and a bath has been replaced with a shower in one bathroom.
“In the letters we were sent explaining why there were such considerable delays, we were told it was because the quality would be improved. In fact, the finishes are worse than was originally specified.”
7DAYS visited Mr A’s villa and witnessed poor finishing, and the use of cheap materials. The front door of the villa was a poor fit to the frame; the plaster in many of the walls was blown, and cracks were on most of the walls, causing plaster to fall out in some cases.
There were holes in the marble floor, scratched and stained marble in the downstairs bathroom, and the false ceilings in the bathroom jumped when the door was opened.
7DAYS saw more problems than we have space to fit into this article, and similar issues in three other villas. “If you bought a car and the leather was ripped and the bodywork was scratched, you wouldn’t accept it,” said Mr A.
Mr S moved into his place in August of this year, and is also very unhappy: “We were promised a prestigious development, but so far the development has been below the standards of normal residential complexes carried out in Dubai.
“It seems that Nakheel has done some value engineering to the finishes and the quality of the materials has been downgraded from what I was originally promised,” he continued.
“The finishes need a lot of repairs to be done. Nakheel can and should do better.
We want them to pay more attention to the snags in the finishes, such as the paint on the aluminium in the bathroom, tiles badly fitted and unpolished in the bathroom, poor internal plasterwork and paint finish throughout, as it was done by unskilled labour.”
Jumeirah Islands is being delivered 18 months late, and a number of letters were sent out to future residents, explaining why. “We are delighted to advise that the wondrous Jumeirah Islands project has so appealed to buyers…that it is completely sold out,” said one letter dated June 2004.
“Seeking excellence in all that we do, Nakheel sought ways and means of further enhancing the quality of layout of, and the finishes and materials used in, your home in Jumeirah Islands. You will soon receive details of all the improvements that have been agreed – all at no cost to you.”
On page two of the letter it read: “all of the above improvements and services have resulted in a delay in the completion of the project, which is now scheduled for May 2005. We assure you that this delivery date will be met.”
The first villas were not delivered until August 2005. One of the key complaints by residents has been the poor communication from Nakheel.
“Trying to get answers out of Nakheel, SERCO (hand-over managers), Clifton Coony (project managers), or Semcomb (contractor) has been very difficult,” says Mr S. “We don’t know who to talk to about snags occurring in different parts of the house.”
The complaints about dealing with Nakheel is reiterated by a major insititutional buyer of property in the UAE. “Nakheel sales people’s calibre is not high,” he told 7DAYS.
“They are not able to sensibly talk about numbers at any competent level. Trying to assess what you were buying is difficult to say the least, regardless of who you’re talking to.
“Nakheel constantly makes commitments that aren’t kept. Nakheel does not communicate any problems. Their standard response when you go to their office is that they’re working on it.”
In an attempt to make meaningful contact with Nakheel a committee has been elected by JI residents to act as an intermediary. When approached by 7DAYS, the committee said that they were not ready to talk to the press.
The residents that 7DAYS did talk to, however, found it difficult to contain their disappointment. “If it was completed as per the original concept plan, JI will be one of the best developments in the UAE,” said Mr S.
Nakheel declined to comment despite repeated requests from 7DAYS to respond to residents’ claims.
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