Pressure of time and tenants moving in to early. There is several reasons for the problems at Pålsjöäng, but no one is taking the full responsibility for the mismanagement.
The biggest reason for the problems at the Pålsjöäng was a tight time schedule. The building of the housing took longer than expected and mean while tenants were knocking on the doors.
”The time aspect was really the top priority. To build fast and as cheap as possible”, says Sara van Lunteren, LU Accomodation’s (Luacc’s) Service Manager.
”If there had been someone on the team with more knowledge about building these types of houses, they would have said, if they really are to be properly made, it’s too short a time, it’s not possible”, she says.
Moved in step by step
Marcus Andersson, CEO of Modular Living – the company that built the housing – claims the project had always been designed to be a work in progress.
“The choice from Luacc was made to move tenants in as each house was finished, rather than waiting for all the houses to be completed. I would rather have move everyone in at the same time.”
For Luacc, that was never a choice.
“We had already started placing students for the spring semester 2013, so we were really getting nervous when we were in July and they were barely even there on the place. They were starting to tell us they can’t be ready on time and we said you have to because people are coming”, says Sara van Lunteren.
No one takes responsibility
Construction delays, however, are one thing. But why were there so many problems when the students did move into the apartments? And why did it take so long for these problems to be dealt with? It is here the contract company Prime Living, who owns the housing and is renting it out for Luacc, enter the picture.
“Since Pålsjöäng was still a big building site in August 2013, it wasn’t possible for our caretakers to do their job, so it was decided that Prime Living would handle the fault reports and maintenance through an external company”, says Sara van Lunteren.
When Lundagård made attempts to get information about the external company, things begant to get difficult. Neither Luacc nor Prime Liming either wanted to or were able to give any information. The question went back and forth between them with neither wanting to take the responsibility for the absent maintenance between August and November last year.
Once Luacc realised that the plan for maintenance they thought was in place wasn’t working at all, they asked Prime Living to find a better solution. This better solution turned out to be short-lived; after the incident with Flavia Speiski ‘the solution’ was removed.
A half-year’s worth of failure reports
As a result, Modular Living were brought back in in December 2013. They had been contracted by Prime Living to build the housing and were now put to work handling fault reports that had been filed, but gone largely unanswered during the previous nine months.
“It’s Modular Living who managed the houses. It’s their responsibility”, says Jan Severa, CEO for Prime Living.
Marcus Andersson, CEO for Modular Living, on the other hand, says:
“My team left the site in August 2013 and I heard nothing until suddenly someone called me in December saying we needed to replace things.”
“The only thing I can say is that we are doing everything we can right now to fix all the problems as soon as they appear, and take control of the situation.”, says Marcus Andersson.
But what about the students that have been living through this situation for the best part of a year? Will there be any further compensation and who will pay?
Sara van Lunteren confirms that “one group of students is already identified to be entitled to a financial compensation and they will be informed in the next couple of weeks. There is no decision at the moment regarding general compensations.”
As for when things will be finished, both Luacc and Modular Living are confident that things will be very different come next semester.
“The plan is to get all the houses fully inspected in the summer, where each and every single room is gone through to make sure everything is OK,” says Sara van Lunteren.
“We’re not there yet, but it’s getting better.”, says Marcus Andersson.
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